Amazon’s growth is on steroids. At any given moment, it may have more than 4,000 jobs, including 1,600 software development positions, waiting to be filled. On the Dice site alone, it has 97 IT jobs it’s activity seeking to fill. But how to move from spotting an Amazon job opening to landing an interview and ultimately the job can sometimes be as frustrating as slogging your way through a jungle. Dice News recently spoke to Susan Harker, Amazon’s Director of Global Talent Acquisition, to serve as a guide. “We’re looking for a broad range of skills in software development including machine learning, user interface and user experience design, digital media, network engineering,” she says. “We need talent in pretty much every software development up and down the stack. We look for people with really strong technical passion and skills who want to build products that directly impact the customer experience.” Of course, software development is just one of many job categories for which Amazon is hiring. The company is so vast and operates so many kinds of infrastructures—from warehouses to data centers to leasable cloud-based platforms—that its needs touch every aspect of the technology universe. Amazon is actively seeking experts in digital media, design, product management and technical program management, Harker says.
The Art of Reading an Amazon Job Posting
Amazon applicants will notice that most job listings include both “basic” and “preferred” qualifications. What’s the difference? “Candidates who meet the basic requirements are eligible for consideration, but what distinguishes candidates are the preferred qualifications,” Harker says. “The ones that tend to fit the best are the people who have gone beyond basics and built something, can show they think differently and have taken bold bets.” A successful job candidate at Amazon must share the company’s common values, Harker says, values that are outlined in the company’s leadership principles. Another way to attract Amazon’s attention is to meet up with Amazon at a job fair or conference, where Amazon reps present challenging coding questions to be solved on the spot. Solve the problem, and you become a “Code Ninja” and may find yourself on a fast track to an interview for a development position. Amazon is always seeking innovative, inspiring technology leaders who have a track record of customer obsession and ownership. That sense of ownership is critical, she says. “A great way for candidates to make their resumes stand out is to present specifics about past projects or internships that demonstrate innovation and a sense of ownership,” says Harker.
College Grad Advice
Even newly minted college grads have a good shot at Amazon’s IT jobs. The company has several college hiring programs and says it hires a significant number of computer science graduates, as well as MBA students and undergraduates for business roles. “We’re always on the lookout for students who have strong analytical thinking and problem solving skills and are innovative and passionate to build things customers care about,” Harker says. As for college grads’ lack of real-world experience, Harker offers a hint. “They can highlight their impact, or achievements, in school or a hobby,” she says. “An example could be leading a very successful guild in World of Warcraft for two years or contributing to clubs or teams.”
Advice to Seasoned Pros
More experienced tech pros need to demonstrate a track record of “driving results, building teams, products and businesses, and succeeding in getting people and organizations to think differently,” Harker says. Here’s some Amazon stats to mull over as you develop ways to drive results. Amazon has 173 million active customers, two million seller accounts and more than 65,000 employees.