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Cover image for I am AWS Obsessed but I can't get hired at AWS. Have you ever faced such repeated rejection?

I am AWS Obsessed but I can't get hired at AWS. Have you ever faced such repeated rejection?

andrewbrown profile image Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ ・2 min read

I just want to tell you that rejection happens for all of us.
Whether you're a Bootcamp graduate or a 10x developer.

I think if you know one thing about me its that I'm AWS Obsessed and you may ask why don't I work at AWS? I've been told an endless amount of times by AWS employees to apply.

So have I ever tried? and the answer is Yes, more than you can imagine.

I apply to AWS all the time and no matter:

  • how many free AWS videos I produce
  • how many AWS courses I create
  • how much I evangelize on Dev.to, Startup School and in Toronto
  • how many CloudFormation templates I publish
  • how many AWS Tech talks
  • how many AWS Workshops
  • how many contributions to the open-source docs
  • how many times I rewrite my cover letters or resume
  • how many startups I covert over to AWS

I just face waves of rejections 🌊. At this point, I simply hit apply to every AWS job posted in Toronto ritualistically. I have no reason to believe I will ever be considered.

Alt Text

the list goes on and on...

I talk about being able to hack the job interview. But this one company has alluded me. I am beyond the point of frustration a long time ago and just accept how things are.

So what do you do when you face rejection?

Whenever I am feeling down, I utter the famous words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart. Never Give up, Never Surrender.

How has it been for you?

Have any of you faced such a crazy amount of rejection?
πŸ‘‡ Share in the comments below. πŸ‘‡

Posted on May 29 '19 by:

andrewbrown profile

Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

@andrewbrown

πŸš€ CEO of ExamPro πŸš€ free AWS Certification courses on freeCodeCamp youtube πŸš€ AWS Community Hero πŸš€ DEV Moderator for AWS tag πŸš€ Star Trek Obsessed

Discussion

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I understand where you're coming from and I think it's because your expectations are different from what they are actually looking for. They are a service provider, so their maim focus will be architecting experience, enterprise hands-on, integration experience with big suppliers, low-level networking, storage, compute specialisation, high skills in a specific area (vdi, api gws, kube, etc). You need to look at them through different lens; e.g. just because you're a happy consumer won't mean that you'll be a useful contributor (harsh I know). Try looking at what makes up AWS and find a gap or figure out ways to improve what they have. You can focus on that area and that may just be your ticket in. Also yeah, don't flood their inbox, never a good move. Best of luck!

 

Exactly this. Its one thing to know how to build things with AWS, its another to actually build AWS. Same way being able to customize cars doesn't necessarily mean you have the skills to be an automotive engineer. From what I gather neither Amazon nor AWS really care what technologies you know. They only care that you exemplify their leadership principles, perform well on classical CS problems and raise their bar. Have you solved scalability and/or performance issues without AWS or other prepackaged solutions? Alternatively, look at Solutions Architect roles.

 

Actually, knowing AWS is very important and many AWS services are built on top of other AWS services.

Well, they are actually mandated to not build monoliths, but I get what you're saying - they interact with more fundamental APIs in new services (Lambda with the EC2 API for example).

Where I was going with it is that they don't hire a whole lot of SAs, simply because they have certified 3rd party consultants that do that for them already. I know they have some architects of their own, but they are generally industry geniuses with a background in a key area (financial/automotive architects previously).

So maybe a more direct approach is to work with them with specific skills rather than trying to gather that type of experience (takes years).

But yeah, there's definitely a chance that he's ok for the role and it's just a comms issue.

What do you base this assertion on?

 

Same here... Applied for a few positions, got an offer over LinkedIn from them, but not what I was looking for.

Reject me once, shame on you; reject me 500 times, shame on me. That made me realize, I don't really want to work for them. Not now anyways, don't get me wrong I absolutely love working and building with AWS.

I just realized what I want, I might not get from them either, that belonging to a company with a family like culture where growth is mutual. A place I can be heard, make an impact and be encouraged and pushed to do what I love and that place at this moment is not AWS. There is a time and place for everything, now is just not that time.

 

"Belonging to a company with a family like culture where growth is mutual ... place I can be heard, make an impact and be encouraged ... "

Now there's a truer, heartfelt bit than I've heard in quite awhile!

 

If I worked at AWS, they probably wouldn't let me build a Pinball machine powered by IoT devices on company time.

 

Actually, you can. Provided you can justify it or have completed your share of work.

 

Wow that surely sucks, im rooting for you to get this job. In my city there's a company named Instituto Atlantico wich is a research company, everything i wanted but got rejected about 5 times but still trying keep in my head this might be that im not ready YET.

 

It seems like you're already working for AWS in at least a part-time capacity -- they just aren't paying you for it. And why on earth should or would they, when they're already getting so much effort out of you for free? What more could they even pay you to do? In their position I'd be perfectly happy to let you keep on doing what you're doing, as long as you don't actively embarrass the brand somehow.

On top of that, I can't imagine seeing your name in their inbox for every single new job posting is endearing you to the hiring department any. It is highly inadvisable to do things likely to annoy the hiring department.

 

I second this.

I think you've been blacklisted @andrewbrown .

Why hire you when you're already doing the evangelizing for free (or at least free for them) ?

 

In addition, AWS is 71% of Amazon's income, it doesn't seem like they are struggling in selling their product.

Your "AWS mojo" is strong, why join the mother ship? I understand the need for security and all and I can't be in your own shoes. Would setting up a company that offers AWS based solutions in addition to what you're doing now on training be a possibility?

Everytime I think about "how to solve stuff with AWS" I think of Corey Quinn. I believe he focuses on cost savings on AWS with his company: lastweekinaws.com/services/

 

@Dian Fay I like to think there is one person who keeps having to deal with seeing my name πŸ™ƒ

@ryhmes It could very well be their algorithm no longer likes me. There is a freelance marketplace called AWS IQ but its not available in Canada. I could do consultancy though I have always simply said no. It's actually how I ended up having my own web-dev firm, I was just doing consultancy on the side and then it took over.

 

Do you think that spamming the person or people who decide which applications get more than five seconds of attention at the Toronto office makes you a more attractive candidate and more likely to be hired?

Do you think that it makes any kind of sense for Amazon or any company to pay for what you're happily giving them for free?

 

You'be been rejected and are whinging about pestering them and getting outright black-listed? Hmmm, imagine the recruiters side of the story? I hope this teaches you a business lesson.. I get it, you've done so much and think your in with a great chance. But you aren't the recruiter. This type of behaviour raised serious red flags. Either way they're not going to hire you after this blog so best just move on.

 

Former AWS Solution Architect here, I thought it was the highlight and culminating point of my career to join AWS. I'm obsessed with AWS as well but it was not an enjoyable experience working there. As for pay, they are salary capped, could never make more than a certain amount in my paycheck no matter how long I worked there, how well I performed, or how far I advanced. That's just wrong.

 

I heard about their salary caps, but I also heard that they compensate by increasing the number of stock options. Is that correct?

 

Hey Andrew. I'm a Solutions Architect at Onica, an AWS Premier Partner. In fact all we do is AWS, so you can say that we too are AWS obsessed. I can tell you that nearly all 300+ Onicans could get hired by Amazon but none of us want to. BTW: We have a Toronto office.

 

Hey Adam!

I know Onica and the Toronto team quite well. I have wonderful long conversations with Onica's Solutions Architects frequently. It is certainly not a bad suggestion.

 

I was about the suggest the same...

Ps: I'm a Cloud Native Developer from the Montreal office. πŸ˜‰

 

You know what: too bad for them.

Use your devotion to AWS to build your own tutoring/consulting company!

I know a lot of people who had the same bug with Google: t-shirts, stickers, apps - rejected all the time. Some of them simply created their own companies and moved on.

Again, it is not your issue AWS is ignorant enough to reject people with such a deep devotion.

Good luck anyway!

 

TBH I've only applied to amazon once but have interviewed 5 times. I think it's about the recruiter you get there because he keeps in contact with me and keeps recommending me for different AWS teams.

Keep on keepin' on!

 

Hi, I am an ex Amazonian (TPM), a few things that you may want to try:
1) Don't go and apply directly through the amazon.jobs website without first contacting a recruiter (use LinkedIn to find AWS recruiters).
2) Check if there are any hiring events in your area.
3) If you have a contact inside Amazon, ask for a referral.
4) If you decide to go by yourself and apply directly on amazon.jobs, optimize your resume so ATS robots see you as a good fit for the position that you are applying to.
5) Don't apply to just any job, apply to only the ones that you think you are really passionate about and you will be a good fit.

Considering your long history of rejection I would focus on items 1-3 from the previous list.

Good luck!

 

This may be a dumb question Andrew, but what do you do for work then?

 

Contracts, contracts and contracts.

I am at a point in my career where I can get hired at many places but I really want to work for very specific companies in very specific roles.

So unless I build that company myself (ExamPro) or the right company approaches me, then I just make money with ExamPro and do contract work to supplement.

In honest I would love to be a non-profit just producing endless amounts of video content, though that is hefty undertaking to get sponsorship.

 

I hear you.
Your ExamPro rates are super reasonable, so please don't feel badly about monetizing the content at all!
I wish you the best in finding your perfect role! You're blessed to be in the position to hold out for it πŸ˜„

And for the record, I think AWS is simply terrified of you 😏

I think AWS is simply terrified of you

Let's hope so. 😎

 

You don't necessarily need sponsorship, you could monetize a YouTube channel or have a class on Udemy. I wouldn't worry so much if Amazon gives you a job since you seem to be able to make a living off their product and there are endless opportunities without being tied down to their corporate structure.

 

Try Egghead.io they could use a nice bolster for their aws content and it's paid.

 

It has nothing to do with the fact that they want you to work for free.
The point is the fact that you love AWS, but you might not want to work for AWS. AWS has been known for extended work time, and tight timeline, so does the heavy operation load. It is not happening to all the AWS teams, but it is part of the facts. Loving one thing not necessarily means you enjoy working for that thing.
Second is that be honest about how did you do during the interview. Sadly the open-sourced doc and greate tutorial videos might only take little consideration in the final assessment. The hiring decisions no doubts needs improvements, but it is highly likely what is going on.
The last thing I want to share is that if you like using AWS, keep using it. The product itself has nothing to do with the recruiting process. If you find an alternative is better, like Azure, switch. It is just a tool to support your end goal. That is what matters.
I much admire your hard work, and I hope you would not be bothered by it anymore.

 

I felt the same way in my earlier career in my 20s applying for Citrix, I was living in the same city as the HQ and didn’t get in possibly lacking experience, certification, education or just personality. I also went to a all paid for travel experience attending a 4 hour Situational Amazon interview in NYC in 2017 and they were a tough crowd to interview with. I didn’t get hired and moved on with my life.

Big Data, start ups, competition like OVH, is just so mundane. I get it, I read that your talented. However I also did not read In your story and troubles above that you possess any of the AWS certifications with combined education and experience with other tech companies. It almost sounds like you just want to jump right in with the big boys and play and if that is true then the universe has not aligned with your dream position or career.

β€œIt’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. Get out there and network, linkedin a great source but actually going out hitting the pavement and truly network with people in your profession. If you happen to meet someone who is working at your dream company, ask for a referral and reference to use on your application. Speaking of references you need to have an Arsenal, people that you actually worked with or who you directly reported to like your managers.

Practice interviewing. Apply to places and get interviews, and learn the power of negotiating your salary, hell even sit back and watch companies Fight for top dollar for your talent.

Talent is what they want, not what you can do Already, what you can do for them in the future to improve or impact the company in a positive experience. Let the ball be in your court.

 

Sorry to hear that. I get hit up by Amazon recruiters all the time to join up. You might want to get to know a recruiter and let them know about your skills without applying for anything. Then when something comes open someone will already have you in mind.

Good luck out there.

 

Hey man unlike you I was obsessed with Apple (not retail store) for decades, then finally I gave up and just continued my own way. But one day surprisingly I received a phone call from the Apple recruiter, now probably you can tell what I felt. Never stop on good things, someone will appreciate your efforts soon or later!

 

I think your resume/info got stuck in their automated sorting algorithm preference list. Try changing your resume, kewords etc. Sometimes the post jobs because they have to and they might not be available.

 

Change approach. First I'd get to grips with getting to know some AWS employees on a personal level. linkedin, meetup(Eventbrite) and events are best for this. Next ask them to recommend you for a role (link up your skills to something they see a space in) third is to work extremely hard at Thier personal brand fit. They want a very specific type of person and is usually well versed in Thier principles. This process will take 6 months so don't expect it too quick. Make steady progress everyday is my advice

 

Same here. Obsessed with Google, am unofficially one of their most successful brand ambassadors. Got my family and friends off of MS office and migrated them to Google docs and made everyone addicted to Google keep for note keeping. Still, no success at Google when though I've a bachelor's degree with specialization in cloud based applications :/

 

I had a google invention idea back in 2003, I was 17 year old and a BMX bike was my mode of transportation trying to get around town. Sidewalk were lacking on my 8mile ride to the mall and had to ride with and against traffic dodging oncoming traffic and pulling off the road into ditches and all I wanted was to know the safest route. I contacted google with my idea and never heard back.

7 Years later Google mapped bicycle routes. 10 more years into the future project sidewalk: mapping with interlaced images. 1 year later Google sidewalk labs mapped Toronto.

WTF right. You know how much money I would have had if I had the smarts to develop that idea in 2003. Google would be buying me out for 230million whatever’s. SMH... oh well back to my desk job.

 

It's not about the idea, that's the easy part.

It's executing it

 

Damn man, my condolences. Great idea though πŸ‘πŸ»

 

Seems like you already work for them but they don't have to pay you. Why would they change anything about the current situation? You're a brilliant enthusiastic passionate developer. What you need to do is s start considering multi-cloud vendor neutral solutions. There's options you're ignoring for 'reasons'.. respect yourself first.

 

Why would anybody want to go through AWS recruitment process more than once? Stop hurting yourself and look up. Do away with the obsession. With your know-how, you can tap into the numerous value chains around AWS. That is where the real fun is.

 

Yes, I feel you man. I was obsessed with a certain company as well and might have had better luck than you since I got interviews twice and made it until the last rounds but was rejected. But I agree never give up

 

You know, Aurora is now building out a dev team in Toronto. If those solutions architects don't see you fitting the position well, maybe a straight up AWS dev role is a better idea. You're clearly passionate about the space.

Not my cup of tea, personally, but there's a couple of guys on that team I really respect. One former teammate of mine that I really liked working with.

Also important: how are you doing on your Amazon leadership principle questions in interviews? You know those "tell me about a time" questions they ask you? Every time, there's a specific LP they've been told to get data points on. If you're unintentionally bombing those questions, it doesn't matter how technically skilled you are. Go read up on those LPs and have a good, unique story ready for how you have lived that LP twice over. Source: Amazon interviewer with nearly 100 interviews completed.

And if you (or anyone else) is interested in working on machine learning and data platforms inside the Amazon warehouses, my team is hiring. mabbo at company name. (We do ML to make smarter decisions and reduce the amount of work needed.)

 

I have never made it to even talk about LP. The one phone screening I had was purely technical and I was surprised by no LPs.

 

My advice is to move on. Go elsewhere where they value your capabilities. I think the guy who invented whatsapp was rejected at facebook. Many years later facebook bought whatsapp for an enourmus sum of money.

 

Long text !!!! AWS obsessed hah!!! I salute to your persistence and workmanship. I can't even think of that. I in the other hand, recent graduate from a college with a diploma. Trying hard to even get a entry level job. I'm tired of this thing..I never wanted to work from the beginning though... I just want to get a job for living, PR and base for my start up... unlike you I've applied into approx hundreds of companies and feeling week. But reading your story gave me a revival to obtain my dream again.. trust me, I feel you. Getting rejected countless time breaks you apart. But trying hard to get it gives you chill!!! I wish you will get it soon , Best of luck..

 

Thanks for sharing this Andrew--I really needed to read a perspective like yours today...it's been a rough one. <3

 

Yeah, move on. It's their loss.

If you've got a job you love and you're good at it (which it clearly sounds like you have!) then keep doing that.

I'd hire you...

...but I'm self employed and love having lots of different customers that make my day interesting.

Life is short and hard, but code and coffee help.

All the best,

Paully

 

Have you tried your hand at any of the contractor/staffing agency positions at Amazon? I know that temporary position more of a sprocket in the machine, than having ownership and what not of a feature or product... but could be that foot in the door. Try the temp-to-FTE conversion path.

 

I work for a competitor of AWS in Canada, and have had to interview candidates, so some observations that maybe might help you:

You're applying for different positions that require different skill sets, which could be sending a signal that you're not sure what you want, or that you don't have a good handle on the match between the job requirements and your skills. The Sr Edge Specialist looks like a product dev role that would require a lot of super deep networking product dev experience, whereas the Big Data architect requires 7+ yrs of data warehousing and BI experience and work with things like Hadoop. I've never seen anyone with that level of experience in both areas, and that doesn't come across in your LinkedIn profile either. On the flip side, the technical education role looks like it would've been a good fit, although they were also looking for training certification (i.e. as a trainer in general).

As others have mentioned, and given where AWS is trying to penetrate in Canada, they are probably looking for enterprise consulting experience, especially in the Sr Architect role. Can you talk to, and more importantly, do you have experience with, things like how a bank would address their risk and compliance issues, handle DR, lift-and-shift thousands of VMs at scale in to the cloud, and build corporate governance and policy around the infrastructure? In a lot of cases, you might have been edged out by folks that have that enterprise experience already, and AWS may be prioritizing that over just pure AWS knowledge.

 

Hi Andrew. I've done the onsite twice now and been rejected both times. AWS is sucking up developers for interviews. If you have over 10 years' development experience it's hard to be missed by them; they will probably contact you. It may help of you are prepared to relocate (Dublin?). And ensure that your Linkedin is updated.

 

You don’t want to work for Amazon. You’re much better off building on AWS and innovating, rather than corporate 9-5.

 

Amazon, 9-5? I've heard more like 9-9 or more. Granted some of those extra hours would be from home at night, but still, work life balance is not what Amazon is known for.

 

Are flexible enough to relocate to Seattle?

Either way, keep at it Andrew. Your both an inspiration and leader.

Keep doing what you are now; the impact on the community is measurably positive.

 

I have to reside in Southern Ontario here in Canada.
It would be too much for the family to uproot.

In my younger days, I was willing to sleep on the floor in any city and live out of a suitcase.

 

I'm obsessed with Digital Ocean and I can't get a job there either.
I applied a few times but I always get an automated "rejected" email. Sad...

 

Defect to Azure or Google CloudπŸ˜€

 

Or email jeff@amazon.com
He apparently still reads some of his cluttered INBOX

 

I have messaged Jeff once before just to say hello and he was thoughtful enough to respond.

 

Send them feedback...
your are not satisfed customer..

 

Have you had any of those AWS employees who keep telling you to apply give you a referral?

There are just so many applications, just that little nudge to the top of the pile can go a long way.

 

Im wondering how can you become AWS obsessed? For me AWS is just a place for me to not worry about infrastructure. Nothing more. Using Aws vs building aws is different thing

 

F.Them! Become your own man Andrew Brown Technologies
Charge 200$/h for AWS Consulting and be happy like a bird.

 

@andrewbrown this is Navnit, I am a solution architect with AWS and love to chat about your interest in AWS. let's connect over LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/navnitshukla

 

I work for AWS. Add me on LinkedIn. David Alfred.

 

I am an average guy and last week I have rejected two offers from aws.
I never applied to any aws openings but aws contacted me on linkedin.

 

It's not just aws the industry NOW is built on lies I can allobarate but all you know what I mean

 

Maybe you’re too eager. It can happen.

 

Are You AWS hero? Have you asked for feedback? If yes, what have they said?

 

do you have a plan b? Another passion? You can work on improving/showcasing whatever you need to for aws while concurrently pursuing/embracing another passion.

 

I've been rejected by multiple employers, but only once. That's all the opportunities I give. Or, at least, that's all I've given to date.

 

Go to DO , since you understand their comeptitor so well ;)

 

You are over qualified for the job.
That's the reason.

 

The only thing you need to demonstrate is the 14 leadership principles of Amazon. If you don't it doesn't matter how good you are, you will get rejected every time.

 
 

Ah, the irony!
I got the job for AWS but I had to refuse it because I couldn't relocate...
Anyway, I can feel your pain...