We recently advertised for a Marketing Assistant position, and received a mind-blowing number of applications. And then, weirdly enough, the whole recruitment process took place at the same time I volunteered to talk about my job at Career Day for the high school I went to.
So, unsurprisingly, how to get a job in tech has been on my mind quite a lot.
Here are tips on how to stand out when applying for a tech job (and what to do when you’re thinking about going into tech).
You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know how things work
There are plenty of jobs in the tech industry that don’t involve programming — whether you’re going into project management, developer advocacy, UI/UX design, marketing, data analysis, customer care, or the million other positions out there. They don’t require you to be an expert in any language, you won’t need to do whiteboard tests or show examples of your work or anything like that. But having some knowledge of how things work is a must.
Know how programs work. Know about programming languages. Know how web hosting works. You don’t need to build a server from scratch, but if you can understand the basics, you can get pretty far.
Keep an eye on current trends
As part of knowing how things work, it also helps to keep an eye on current trends. You don’t need to be buried into the latest CSS-related drama or pick a side in the “Which framework is best?” war, but know what’s out there, what’s popular, and what’s causing problems. This is a great way to show you’re not only keeping track of the industry but that you can also research effectively (which is a major selling point for a lot of companies).
Learn how to write
This isn’t just for anyone who is thinking of getting into Marketing or another text-heavy position. This is for everyone. Knowing how to pick the right tone, the right phrasing, and how to string sentences together is incredibly important, no matter what position you’re applying for. Support staff have to write to customers. Programmers need to tell people how their code works. Project Managers need to write emails that get things done. And you never know when you’ll be asked to write a blog post or two…
If you’re still in education, look for writing courses — especially if you can find courses in technical writing. If you’re already working, have a look at online courses or tutorials. Grammarly can do a lot, but it doesn’t work miracles.
Have a personal project or two
When I say personal project, I don’t mean a side business — if you spend all your time talking about how you have your own business, it could make it seem like you’re not actually going to do any work for the company, just for yourself. But having a blog, a website, a Codepen account, something where you’re just playing around with the technology and seeing what’s possible, that’s a wonderful thing to see.
And social media accounts can count here as well. You made a Twitter account for your goldfish and it’s become viral? Include that! It’s evidence that you found a niche market, provided interesting content, and helped make the Internet more fun!
Just, please, remember to include the link in your application. It is so frustrating to see someone brag about how many followers they have on their Instagram account and then never getting a link.
Get involved in the wider community
I’ve seen so many people think that if they just have the skills, they’ll get the job. And it’s never like that. You need to show that you can work well with people as well. And there’s no better to show that than getting involved in the wider tech community. Like WordPress? Find your local WordPress group and go to WordCamps. Like a programming language? There are probably meetups for that near you. Just look at the number of meetups around Nottingham! Like open-source? Hacktoberfest happens every year.
There are so many opportunities for you to get involved with the community and not only is it a great way to show that you care about what you’re doing, but it’s also a fantastic way to find the positions that are out there — especially those that aren’t advertised on giant job-search sites.