Knowing where to start in your search for your first tech job can be confusing and nerve-wracking. If you are looking for your first grad role it can also feel hard to differentiate yourself from your fellow graduates, but we have some tips that can help!
So you find a role that looks ideal, and you see yourself as a great candidate for that role – but you’re not the only one.
What can you do to stand out from the crowd? How can you show that you are prepared to go the extra mile? Here are some ideas from us at Klickstarters about how to do just that…
Give your LinkedIn a refresh
Trying to figure out how to set up your LinkedIn profile to get your first job in tech? It can feel like a huge task if you have never used it, or if you use it so infrequently that every time you log in you have a mountain of connection requests and emails.
So once you are set up, you need to understand what is going to make your profile stand out to those who are hiring. First of all, it’s important to make sure you have all the correct and up-to-date information on there, including previous experience, any degrees/certifications and a summary which explains what stage you are at and what you are looking for in your first tech role. Recruiters and hiring managers use keywords to find the relevant candidates on LinkedIn which means that the more relevant keywords you include in your profile to describe your skills and your experience, the better chance you have to be found by companies that are hiring.
LinkedIn is a very helpful tool for getting you visibility, which is key in 2020 when more and more of the hiring process happens remotely. It might seem redundant to have to maintain a portfolio/GitHub, an updated CV, and a LinkedIn profile…but they are all critical components of your professional identity.
The power of networking
With a number of people applying for the same roles, your personal network should be your first port of call, LinkedIn as mentioned above, is a great place to start and allows you to connect with potential employers and recruiters to give you the best possible chance of landing your first tech job.
During this time, with everyone at home, it’s a perfect chance to make new connections and reach out to hiring managers to introduce yourself. They may not have any open roles at the moment but when they do, they already know who you are, which will put you in a more favourable position to find out about new roles quicker.
Be clear about your USP
What actually makes you different?
A good way to demonstrate this is to write yourself a number of questions for each role you are applying for.
Here are some examples:
Make sure you are honest when talking about your USPs to potential employers and keep it RELEVANT - it is pointless to talk about a course that you did, which has no relevance whatsoever to the vacancy you are applying for.
Make a portfolio of a few standout projects - Side projects / Certifications
A portfolio is a great way of showing your skills without having commercial experience and can go a long way toward impressing your potential employer. It does by no means need to be “Perfect” but it’s a great way of proving the skills you say you have in your CV. For example, if you are ideally looking for your first role as a React Developer - make sure you have a project or webpage you can show off that has been built using React, it does not have to be complete but shows your enthusiasm for that particular technology.
GitHub is a great place to show off your skills, if you don’t have an account already we would 100% recommend building one. It can be easily accessed by a future employer and you can include a link on your CV to make it stand out. Include projects that you’re particularly proud of, had a lot of fun building or are super passionate about — this will make it a lot easier to talk about them in an interview setting.
Tailor your application to each role
So, you have found a few jobs you are interested in applying for. The next step is the application process, the first stage will usually be when you send your CV or you created a new CV around a particular role. Remember that this is your first tech job and you NEED to stand out! So, the first step is to make sure you tailor your CV and cover letter for each application, which is time-consuming but more likely to result in a job.
A cover letter is not always necessary when applying for jobs but we would definitely advise this to make your application more meaningful and specific. In your cover letter, you could include; why you want to work for that particular company, what you like about the technology they are using, how you can add value to the team and how the company culture aligns with your own beliefs.
Do your research
So you have landed yourself an interview, great work! But what now?
Again you need to stand out at every stage! Think about what the other candidates have done, most would have read the “About Us” page already so what can you do differently to show your enthusiasm?
Here are a few places you can look for company info that would be great to talk about in an interview:
Confidence is key! Demonstrate your passion for tech -
It’s interview day!! Congrats on getting this far. This brings us to our last point - CONFIDENCE.
Best of luck!