How to get a tech job
Here’s the showoffy intro that is apparently mandatory on quite preachy Medium posts like this one…
I’ve directly employed hundreds of people in tech roles at companies and have interviewed hundreds more at (amongst others) various startups, the world’s largest internet company, the world’s largest broadcaster and now the world’s largest marketing services organisation. Companies I’ve run have received over 40,000 job applications. Yeah! I went and counted.
I’ve long been telling groups of people the following advice for getting a tech job. It’s presented here in bullet point form, without embellishment. Most is obvious, almost all of it isn’t tech-nerd specific, and it usually takes me an hour to present this…
- Build and use your network
- LinkedIn, GitHub, StackOverflow, Twitter, etc etc
- But don’t be pushy. Please!
- Attend talks. Give talks. Help others
- Write code. Publish code. Design. Build
- Solve problems. Explain problems solved
- Talk to people that work at companies that you find interesting
- Understand what you want
- Sweat it
- Don’t apply to roles/companies that don’t fit
- Don’t make spelling mistakes
- Keep your CV plain
- Probably, don’t assume MS Word. HTML is great
- Don’t dilute
- Mention fun/cool/interesting unrelated stuff you’ve done
- You don’t have to hit every requirement
- Show leadership
- Give references
- Customise for each potential employer
- Don’t be afraid to say what you specifically have done
- Know the company, talk to people that work there
- Be on time
- Interviewers aren’t out to get you
- Don’t sugarcoat and certainly don’t lie. They know
- Don’t be shy or cocky
- Ask questions. Be interested
- Get feedback
- Never accept the first offer
- In a startup or early stage company, ask for stock
Advice is a form of nostalgia
dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off
painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth
Here’s the crux of presenting a case to get hired, in steps, with simplistic examples…
1. What have you done?
“I rewrote the CSS for the shopping cart”
2. What was the direct impact of your work?
“I reduced the page size by 200kB”
3. What was the impact of your work on the business that employed you?
“I increased conversions by x%”
4. What was the $/£/€ result of your employment?
“This made the company £x”
5. How will you apply this proven previous success to the company you’re applying for?
I can’t tell you what this is. Figure it out and tell them.
I’m on Twitter at…
Jason Cartwright (@jasoncartwright) | Twitter
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