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The Keyword

My Path to Google

Finding the intersection of social justice and tech

Xiomara and her mom posing on a rooftop outside.

Welcome to the latest installment of our series, “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Xiomara Contreras (pictured above with her mother), a product marketing manager in our San Francisco office. Xiomara’s passion for social impact is deeply rooted in her work, both in her core role of supporting small businesses and in building community for underrepresented groups both in and out of Google.

How would you describe your role at Google?

I’m a product marketing manager working on Google My Business. Specifically, my team is dedicated to supporting small-business owners. Google My Business is a free tool that allows users to promote their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps, allowing them to respond to reviews, post photos of products or special offers and add or edit their business details so they can connect with customers.

My role focuses on core product marketing, meaning I work with product managers and engineers to determine who our users are, what they need and how to align our product with those needs. As a product marketing manager, I show the value of our product to small business owners. Additionally, I recently contributed to the creation and launch of the Black-owned business attribute to support Black-owned businesses.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

When I initially started thinking about a career, I thought I would be in the nonprofit sector because most of my previous experience was in that space. Also, I studied Communication Studies and Latina/o Studies at Northwestern and I wasn’t aware of the breadth of opportunities available to “non-technical” students in tech. 

Then I learned about Google's BOLD Internship Program through Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), an organization that prepares and connects university students from underrepresented backgrounds to internships and full-time careers. Through the support and encouragement of the organization, I applied to the internship. Once I was an intern at Google I was able to see how my passion for social justice issues, education and youth mentorship intersect with tech, and I knew I wanted to work at Google full time.

Three people sitting around a large “G” sculpture.

Xiomara and fellow Googlers/MLT alums, Janice and Olivia, representing Google at the Management Leadership for Tomorrow 15th Anniversary Celebration in 2019.

Can you expand more on that intersection?

Google has exposed me to different mentorship programs both inside and outside of the company. I volunteered for TutorMate and Spark, and I currently volunteer for iMentor, a three-year commitment to empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college and achieve their ambitions. I only learned about these opportunities through other Googlers. 

I’m also involved in increasing racial equity at Google through our Black and Latinx Marketers (BALM) employee resource group. This group is designed to help make Google a place where people like me can see themselves, be successful and feel fulfilled. Last year I was the Global Community Lead, organizing events like a dialogue series with external speakers to discuss issues impacting our community and fun activities like learning how to make café de olla in a workshop led by a small business owner.

What inspires you to log in every day?

First, just knowing that my core work is very impactful for small-business owners. My grandma is a small-business owner, and I use Google My Business for her business. I see how the product helps her stand out online and connect with new customers. So believing in the mission of Google and the mission of my own team keeps me invested in the company. 

Second, personally, being the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and the first person in my family to go to college motivates me every day to continue to grow here because my family sacrificed a lot for me to get where I am. This way, I am able to support them too.

Three people wearing Google shirts at an indoor event.

Xiomara (middle) with Googlers, Lucy and Huyen, at an event in the Google NYC office in 2019.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interviews?

Keeping up with Think with Google and The Keyword was extremely helpful as it gave me a deeper perspective on Google’s top priorities and new products. In particular, I read the small business section in The Keyword because I was passionate about Google’s initiatives for underrepresented business owners. It also helped to browse through other companies’ blogs and social channels to learn about their programs for small business owners. 

Because I wasn’t a marketing student, I also brushed up on my Google Ads skills as well as marketing 101 basics. 

Any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Your resume is your first impression. To make sure it’s at its best I encourage you to show it to a lot of people, even those outside of the company or marketing (or whatever area you’re interested in) to provide feedback. 

Also, don’t erase the other parts of you. When reviewing current students’ resumes, they often only show the things related to marketing and remove everything else. But things like student organizations, campus jobs, volunteer work and life experience all highlight how you are different and often demonstrate leadership and problem solving experiences well beyond, for example, a marketing internship.

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