Illustration: Ashley Siebels
How To

7 secrets to success you can learn from the 7-year-old girl who impressed Google

Google CEO Sundar Pichai received a unique job inquiry recently. Not only was it sent directly to him — hardly the norm for a giant company — but it was also hand-written by a 7-year-old girl.

While Chloe Bridgewater from Hereford, England is not exactly on the job hunt yet, she wanted to throw her name in the ring early at Google, her favored future employer.

Her reasoning? Chloe found the same appeal to the company as many hopeful Google job applicants — it looks like a fun place to work, not unlike her elementary school, with slides and snacks and bright colors. Beyond the alluring Fisher-Price aesthetics of its logos and offices, Google also happens to be rated the best company to work for in America by Business Insider.

Needless to say, this 7-year-old’s career goals are on point.

It’s easy to dub Chloe’s letter “cute” because of her age and inexperience, but there are most assuredly lessons to be learned from her endeavor. Here is what any smart adult job-seeker can learn from the precocious Chloe.

1) She set herself apart as a future applicant

Any career coach or career-building website will tell you how important it is to set yourself apart when applying for a job. Whether it’s with an innovative resume, or not your standard responses to interview questions, showing you offer something unique can get you much closer to landing the job. Needless to say, a handwritten letter to the CEO of Google definitely qualifies as a unique approach.

2) Her letter shows tenacity

It’s unlikely Pichai receives many direct job applications, because most people just assume they’re going to be filtered out. While she may not have realized it, Chloe’s decision to send a letter directly to the head of Google was a bold move, and the fact that he actually took the time to reply shows he found it admirable. That doesn’t mean a handwritten note is always the way to go, but taking initiative in an out-of-the-box way is likely to get you noticed when on the job hunt.

3) She was clear about why she wants that job, and to work for that company

Applicants often describe why they’re right for the job in their cover letters, but neglect to explain why they want to work for the company to which they’re applying. Chloe came right out and said it in her 3rd sentence — “My dad said I can sit on bean bags and go down slides and ride go karts in a job at Google.” Whatever the reason, companies like to hear why you’re interested in them as well as why they’d be interested in you.

4) Her personality is apparent

Again, this is something recruiters and hiring managers often stipulate — one of the best ways for your letter of interest to make it out of the pile is for it look like it was actually written by a human. Chloe’s handwritten note most definitely does that. While you might not want to follow suit exactly, taking your letter out of the typical formula can make all the difference.

5) She spoke engagingly about her outside interests, which rounds her out

Right off the bat, Chloe made it clear that computer work is far from her only interest. She wrote she’s also interested in working in a chocolate factory and/or swimming in the Olympics. Some applicants might think demonstrating an affinity for something beside the career for which they’re gunning isn’t wise, but in fact the opposite is true. According to a two-year study that was conducted by the Kellogg School of Business, recruiters often look at a candidate’s other interests to determine if they’re a culture fit for the company in question. A well-rounded applicant is almost always favored.

6) She cited applicable experience

True, it may only be with basic games on an iPad, but Chloe is upfront about the fact that she likes computers and she’s learning, and has plans to continue to do so. She may not be up to programming yet, but hey, at least she has a forward-looking plan.

7) She wasn’t shy about talking about her strengths and offering references

Hiring managers won’t always be upfront about asking for references, but if you have good ones, it can’t hurt to say so in your letter of interest. Chloe’s teacher can speak to her abilities like “reading” and “sums” — two things that would likely be helpful in a job at Google. And since her letter is more of a general inquiry rather than for a specific job, the broad reference works.

Chloe may only be 7 years old, but she’s already well on her way to building the kind of skills that land a seat at a fantastic company. You can be too.