How to Land a Job at Amazon Web Services

How to Land a Job at Amazon Web Services

Amazon. What is there to say about them that people don’t already know? Amazon is the biggest Internet-based retailer on the planet by total sales and market capitalization. They started as an online bookstore, but since then, they have expanded into other goods.

Getting a job at Amazon is definitely not easy.

Given AWS's global reach and immense career opportunities that come with working for such a company, it stands to reason why you would want to do everything you can to land a role within AWS.

The bar to entry is high for a reason! AWS only wants the best of the best, and it takes an exceptional level of ability, as well as preparation to land a job inside of AWS.

We know there is a lot of contradictory information out there on what it takes to land a job at AWS, so we have put together this list of key points to consider for each stage of the application process from applying to interviewing.

Without further ado, let's dive in.

Choose your role wisely, take a single role type and go for it!

You have to make sure you are applying for a role that you actually want to do, and which actually adheres to your skillset. If you are not being direct and honest about what level you are performing at you will more than likely fail. The way to improve your chances of receiving your job offer is by giving yourself the best possible chance by solely focusing on the roles you know you have a chance of getting. The 'scatter-gun' approach of applying to every single role under the sun does nothing to help your chances, it only hurts them.

This takes a level of maturity in knowing your strengths and your weaknesses and aligning them in your job search - if you do this you will greatly increase your chances of landing your interview and eventually your job offer.

Tailor your CV, do your research

Once you have decided which role is perfect for you, you now need to do some research on the day-to-day responsibilities of what your role will entail, as no two roles are the same. The CV your will use to apply for a Software Development role vs a Solutions Architect role require different skills, so they should be different.

Don't use the same CV you have been using unsuccessfully so far, take your job specification and directly align it with what you are trying to convey in your CV. This seems like an obvious point, but it is alarming how many people will use a generic copy and paste CV for every job role. These people simply won't land the interview as the CV won't include everything the recruiter wants to see. Get specific to increase your chances of getting to interview.

Get your database of answers ready!

Congratulations! You got to the interview stage! Although there will likely be multiple stages depending on the role you are applying for, you will be able to prepare for each stage in a similar way.

You will be able to get a good idea of what sort of questions the interviewer will ask, depending on which role you have applied for and based on reading websites like Glassdoor and reading other interview prep websites.

Write all these potential answers down, and memorize them. AWS like to hear you use the S.T.A.R method when answering (Situation, Task, Action, Result), as it avoids rambling, and makes your state-specific value you added in any situation.

I have heard of people writing lists of up to a hundred potential questions for their interviews, and if you prepare correctly you will sound confident, prepared and most of all competent for the role you are interviewing for. Preparation is key.

Use real-life examples in your answers

People feel the need to tell fantastical stories about their work lives during interviews that are clearly not true. This won't work for a number of reasons.

Firstly, People can generally tell if your story isn't true and if you are exaggerating. It removes any kind of rapport that you are building with the interviewer, as no one wants to hire a dishonest person. Secondly, once you lie, you have to keep track of your lies - which is nearly impossible to do in a highly stressful interview setting. What's the best way to avoid that? Don't lie at all!

If your answers include work-based scenarios, great - but if your point would be made better by explaining how you tackled a problem outside of work, that's fine too. The interviewer will want to see you show your aptitude and that doesn't always occur in a workplace setting.

If you don't know how to answer, be honest!

Sometimes we don't know the answer - and that's fine!

Not knowing how to answer a question will probably not be enough to automatically discount you from the role - but trying to pretend you know more than you do definitely will! This will be seen immediately, as interviewers know what they are looking for, and conduct interviews as part of their job. They are impossible to fool in this regard, so don't lie.

To be honest, say something like: "I am afraid I am not sure of the answer here, but I would love to learn". This answer shows you are humble but curious, instead of braggadocios and dishonest.

What is your value add?

Don't feel shy when explaining the unique value you can provide vs other candidates. You are unique after all, and if you can confidently explain how your set of skills will benefit the organization, your chances of being hired will increase dramatically.

Make sure you are clear on what your value add is before your interview. Then you can refer to this constantly and effortlessly during the interview itself. This will put you ahead above the rest, and avoid you from using generic statements like 'hard-working' and 'passionate'.

Use Data in your answers

AWS is a data-driven company. If you want to stand out, include data in your answers.

No one is asking you to prepare a slide deck or to bring a handout with you with complicated graphs, but including snippets of data in your answers will help massively. Compare the following two answers:

"In help boost the companies sales a lot last year".

"In Q1 last year I increased to companies sales by 30% compared to the previous quarter.".

Which one sounds better to you?

Not only does the second answer sound better, but if the interviewer sees you are using data in preparation for the interview, that shows you have done your research and know what kind of company AWS is.

Learn the leadership principles

Within Amazon as a whole, there are 16 Leadership principles (or LPs) that guide everything that is done. When you are interviewing they will want to see you make references to these LPs in your answers. This will again show you have prepared, and that you will align with AWS's values once you have the role.

Radiate passion and drive

This might be one of the most important on our list. If you show you are passionate about the role you are applying for through your body language, as well as how you answer questions, you will be that much closer to landing the role of your dreams. If you truly feel that way, make sure the interviewer knows how you feel! It will only end up working in your favor.

Thanks for reading this blog post about how to land a role within AWS. If you want to learn more tips and tricks on how to land your dream role in tech, or how you can learn the skills necessary to increase your salary, follow me on LinkedIn.

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