Interview: Google Tech Princess Gives Career Advice For Young Professionals
Irina Young is making waves in the Ad Tech industry. She joined Google in 2011 and is now one of their leading media consultants, designing complex and customized solutions for the company's biggest brands. In this interview, she shares her experience at Google and tips on making it in today's job market.
I n t e r v i e w :
Q. Please tell us about your experience working at Google.
I joined Google 4 years ago and it's been a great ride since. The beginning felt surreal: Free gourmet food, massages, nap pods, game rooms, people whizzing by on scooters. The list goes on. These perks still amaze me but they're actually not the highlight of the company.
Instead, it's the super-smart, fascinating, and down to earth people I'm privileged to work with. We can talk about quantum physics and the Kardashians... in the same conversation. These are the people who make coming to work a way better option than working from home and help maintain the culture that enables us to "do cool sh*t that matters."
Speaking of that, one of the other awesome things about Google is the opportunity to work on projects that are outside of your core job description. For example, even though I was hired to provide creative and technical consultation to some of the largest advertisers in the world, I'm also really interested in User Experience. So, I set time aside a couple times a week to design and run creative tests on YouTube. In fact, you can dedicate up to 20% of your time to projects like this. The idea is that it helps build new skills, introduces you to new people, and keeps you innovating (Gmail started as a result of someone's 20% project!) My advice no matter where you work is to step outside of your day-to-day and contribute your skills to a different team.
Q. What inspired you to get started in your profession?
I majored in Finance & Investments with the initial goal of doing Investment Banking and wearing a suit everyday. After a few internships on Wall Street, I wanted something more creative in an open, laid back environment. I landed a few great internships working on digital at a WPP company, ABC Television, and Warner Music Group, which kickstarted my move to tech.
Q. Does networking work for you? How so?
Yes, yes, yes! My first internship, which moved me from finance to digital, was a result of my network. Like most internal referrals, it didn't get me the gig but it informed me about the opportunity and guaranteed that my resume was reviewed. Ditto for my first "real" job out of school. And, Google!
Q. Do you have any advice for graduates or job seekers?
Even though your resume gets only a few seconds of attention when reviewed by recruiters, it really matters. You have a tiny window (and, in most cases, just 1 page) to highlight who you are, what you've done, and why you're a candidate worth calling. By focusing on layout, word choice, and simplicity, I've helped countless people revamp their resume to get them noticed. Most recently, I helped an Accounting student with no formal experience score an internship in her field within a week of overhauling her resume. This is after months of no callbacks. For more information.... you can email me directly: ResumesByIrina@gmail.com
Q. Three goals you’d like to accomplish?
1. Move into Product Marketing at Google (realistic, short term) 2. Start a frozen dessert product that sells in Whole Foods (pretty crazy, medium term) 3. Open a bed and breakfast (very crazy, long term - like when I retire)
Q. If someone wanted to get a job at Google, what would you advise them to do?
Find a relevant position (google.com/jobs), update your resume to focus on impact (versus descriptions of what you do), try to get someone at Google to refer you, and think about what you can share that makes you unique. In my case, I talked about the toy travel company, Stuffed in the City, I started. On top of it being a novel idea, I was able to highlight my entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, marketing know-how, quirkiness, etc. You don't need to send toys on vacation to differentiate yourself though - sharing that you're a Tetris champ works, too!