Wondering what is the best way to get a job in the tech industry? Or how to stand out in an industry where there is so much competition?
Well, thanks to General Assembly Boston and their excellent panel of recruiters during Career Camp Week I was able to hear straight from recruiters in Boston's tech scene about what gets their attention and makes them want to hire a candidate. Here's what I learned. You need to:
- Leverage your network to get a referral
- Build a personal brand that tells employers what makes you special
- Show up prepared and exercise good judgment
Leverage Your Network To Get A Referral
By far the most effective way to get a job in the tech industry is through a referral. In fact, all the recruiters on the panel said if they lost their job today, the first thing they would do is reach out to their network. One recruiter told her story of how she had over 20 coffee meetings in 3 months with colleagues, friends, and other industry professionals during her last job search. These meetings eventually led to an introduction to her future boss who offered her a job because she liked her proactive approach.
Why Do Referrals Work So Well
- They save the recruiter time and effort: Consider the hiring process from the recruiter's perspective. The average job posting gets about 250 resume submissions and a recruiter spends less than 7 seconds scanning each resume for the relevant information. And assuming everyone's resume looks the same, it's very difficult for you to stand out from the crowd in that way. Now imagine that your referral walks into the recruiter's office and says, "Hey, I have this great candidate I want you to meet. Here is her resume. She would be great for the marketing position in my department. Give her a call." By recommending you, the recruiter can now skip over the tedious search process and get to the business of filling the role with someone who comes highly recommended
- Jobseekers avoid the resume black hole: Every job seeker complains about never hearing back from an employer after they apply for a job. All that time spent updating your resume, searching for a job, and hitting send seems wasted when you don't even know if anyone is reading your resume. But when you use your network to get a referral to a job your resume gets the VIP treatment. It goes from your hands into the hands of a recruiter completely avoiding their applicant tracking system.
- Referrals provide powerful social proof: Think about the last time you went out to eat, watched a movie, or bought something online. Did you read any reviews before making a decision? Or did you look at every option available in close detail to come to your own conclusion? My guess is that you were influenced by the recommendation of others and you felt good about your choice without having to look at every single option. When a recruiter hears that you would be great for a job from someone they respect they are more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and bring you in for an interview.
Build A Compelling Personal Brand
Think of your favorite brands. What makes you love them so much? What makes them special in your mind? How do they make you feel? Having a powerful brand is the reason why Starbucks can charge $6 for a cup of coffee or Nike can charge $400 for a pair of sneakers. You can walk down the street and buy a cup of coffee or a pair of sneakers for a much cheaper price but there is a reason why people pay more for these products and it is all because of the messaging behind the brand.
As a professional, if you really want to stand out in today's job market you not only have to have stellar credentials and experience but you also need to have a brand that employers are going to flock to. Assuming everyone applying for the same job has roughly the same level of experience and pedigree, how are you going to stand out?
When it comes to creating a powerful personal brand that tells employers why they should hire you over the other guy or gal, answer these four questions:
- What do you do?
- Why do you do it?
- Who do you do it for?
- What results have you created?
The answers to these questions go beyond what can be found on your resume. This gives the employer a look into your personality, what drives you, what you care about, your communication style, and your work ethic.
So whether it is your own website, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Medium, Github, Behance, or other social media platform you should be using these tools to build a compelling personal brand.
Be Prepared And Exercise Good Judgement
You would think this goes without saying but even qualified candidates that looked good on paper failed to master the basics of being prepared for the interview and exercising good judgment.
File this under "What Not To Do In An Interview". The recruiters shared examples of people who looked good on paper but failed miserably at making a good impression in the interview. From showing up late to showing up hungover in last night's outfit to being dismissive and defensive when asked to explain how they would solve a problem, all of the examples could be boiled down to each candidate's lack of preparation and self-awareness.
Their advice here was if you are going to be late, do your best to communicate that to the recruiter, research the company to learn what they do and what makes them special, and practice answering interview questions with a friend so that you know what you sound like.
At the end of the day getting a job in the tech industry is like getting a job in most other industries, it's all about who you know, what you can do, and how you present yourself.
If you want help leveraging your network, building a compelling personal brand, or preparing for your next interview we should talk.
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About The Author
Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC is a former entertainment attorney turned career coach and the founder of MGC Coaching. He helps ambitious professionals who are feeling stuck gain the clarity and confidence they need to create more fulfilling careers.
#coaching #careeradvice #jobearch #networking