There are many resources out there for gaining the needed technical skills to qualify you for a job in technology. All those skills are for naught if you can't land a job.
As the founders of a successful software developer boot camp, we've helped hundreds of people land their first job in the industry. Over 90% of our graduates land tech jobs. We wanted to share some of the hard-won knowledge we've gained along the way. While this article was written regarding obtaining tech jobs, most of the data herein applies to landing a job in any industry.
This article is written assuming the reader has adequate technical training and skill because if not, that is the first point to handle. If you are not a trained developer, we recommend one of the following resources: 1. Complete a developer boot camp (such as The Tech Academy’s Software Developer Boot Camp), or 2. Obtain a Computer Science degree.
The main topics to consider when looking at landing a tech job are:
A small book could be written on each of these topics but we will try to cover the basics here.
Keep in mind that many recruiters and hiring managers include requirements in their postings that are ridiculous – i.e., it would be nearly impossible for find someone with all of the listed skills. Time and time again, we've seen developers land tech jobs where the job posting stated "Computer Science degree required" or "must have 4 years of experience" who didn't have a degree or lacked the required number of years experience. The moral here is: apply even if you don't meet all the requirements in the listing.
Many people "bugged" on their job search are simply not communicating enough. Specifically, they’re not: attending meetups, going to networking events and actually going to companies to apply.
Yes, find positions on job sites and apply. But also, look up meetups in your area and get out there to meet people. Find networking events and attend them. When you’re at these meetups and events, tell people the kind of job you’re looking for and give out cards with your contact information – many recruiters and hiring managers go to such events so it’s very likely you’ll run into one or more.
Also, realize that a lot of tech jobs aren't advertised. You find those opportunities through meeting people.
Okay, so you emailed a company your résumé – have you gone there? People appreciate an in-person touch.
Here's another tip: Do a Google search for software companies or tech companies in your area and spend time visiting each one. When you get there, approach the Receptionist and tell them you'd like to apply for a position. The worst thing that can happen is they say they're not hiring! Sometimes you’ll get in front of the hiring manager right then and there.
Nowadays a cover letter usually just refers to the email that your résumé is attached to. Some people just send their résumé out with no content in their email – showing a lack of manners and frankly, no respect for the recipient or the potential job.
When writing a cover letter, you should customize it to the company it is going to – make it personal.
Also, keep the cover letter concise with regard to the fact that the hiring manager probably has a lot of applicants on their plate. Too long a cover letter, or an impersonal one, can make it so the hiring manager doesn't even read your resume.
Résumés should contain your contact info, work experience, educational background and references. They should relate to the company you're applying with.
There's a lot of valid information out there on how to write résumés. You can literally Google Image Search and compare yours to others. There are even résumé professionals you can hire to assist you in authoring a résumé.
But other points to add are:
The résumé should "sell" the hiring manager on you. You don't have to have had the most amazing background ever; it's more important that you write it well. Use wording that conveys you're a good fit for what they're looking for.
A note here: use a professional email address. For example: firstname.lastname@example.org wouldn't be a good choice. Realize that an unprofessional email address can instantly turn a hiring manager off. email@example.com, or even just your first and last name are examples of acceptable email addresses.
An unprofessional picture associated with your email can also cause an immediate rejection. Keep in mind that hiring managers also check social media occasionally, so it’s recommended that one has a professional profile picture as well.
Soft skills can be as important as coding skills. Some basic points to keep in mind when interviewing are:
People want to hire people they'd enjoy working with. Be a person they would like working around.
Additionally, you will most likely be asked some technical questions and possibly be given a coding challenge. Just know that it is impossible to ready yourself for every possible question and challenge. Prepare yourself to say "I don't know" and be comfortable doing so. On the other hand, if you have an interview set up for a front-end web developer position, for example, you should of course research common interview questions for front-end web developers so you're prepared. The point here is that it would take years to fully learn every aspect of certain coding languages – and by the time you did, the language would've updated.
So, how does one not look like an idiot when asked to do something they can't do? Well, acknowledge that you can't do that, but then stress what you can do and move the attention on to your positive skills.
Interviewing can be daunting. Just keep in mind if you interview somewhere and they put you down, insult you, tell you you don’t know enough or try to make you feel stupid, you don't want to work at a place like that anyway!
There's no way around just pushing through and interviewing. Like anything else in life, the more you do it, the better you'll get.
One last tip we have to offer is have a friend practice interviewing you, and let them coach you until you're more confident. You can find plenty of example interview questions, both technical and behavioral, with a simple Google search.
Most people believe the biggest hurdle to landing a job is lack of technical skill and experience – but it’s not.
The biggest barriers to landing tech jobs are:
Some people are turned down or don't hear back and so they just give up on their job search. That’s the wrong response! Keep applying at various companies. Go to meetups and meet new people. Go to networking events. Tell people the type of job you're looking for. Go to companies and drop off your résumé.
Persist and keep pushing. Like anything worth accomplishing, it can take hard work. So, you've sent out fifty résumés and you're not getting responses? Call the companies you sent them to. You could even stop by and check to see if they received your résumé. Re-send your résumé.
We hope this information has been helpful to you!
If you're interested in finding out more, please contact The Tech Academy about our Software Developer Boot Camp. Visit: learncodinganywhere.com
Students learn several in-demand programming languages, partake in a Live Project that adds real-life experience to your résumé and then complete our job placement training followed by assistance from our Job Placement Directors. Learncodinganywhere.com
About the author: With years of executive and managerial experience, Jack C. Stanley has overseen The Tech Academy since its inception. He owns and operates several successful companies.
His background in teaching and curriculum development contributed greatly to the creation of The Tech Academy’s boot camps. As the Co-Founder and chairman of the school’s Board of Directors, he supervises the day-to-day activities and long-term planning for the school.
The Tech Academy is a technology school that trains students in computer programming and web development. They are the proud recipient of SwitchUp.Org’s and CourseReport.Com’s Best Coding Boot Camp award and were named the “World’s Greatest Code School” by How2Media.
The Tech Academy offers a wide range of services including: