(Technical.ly file photo)
Since we launched our NET/WORK tech jobs fair four years ago, we’ve lost track of how many hires companies have made at the events.
Readers know that despite conventional wisdom, you don’t need to book a trip to Silicon Valley to find an array of exciting job opportunities in tech. That’s why Technical.ly launched NET/WORK in four cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Delaware and D.C. The demand for talent is clear.
This year, we compiled some of our favorite jobseeker stories that were shared with us from past NET/WORK attendees in order to showcase the kinds of people who are finding jobs at the growing event series. Meet five of them below.
And a reminder: NET/WORK Baltimore takes place March 14 at the University of Baltimore’s Thumel Business Center.
Sean Astrakhan, software developer, Mind Over Machines
Astrakhan dreamed of new opportunity. The former middle school Spanish teacher was searching for a job or project that would make a bigger impact — he just wasn’t sure how, exactly.
Each day after school, Astrakhan took time to familiarize himself with basic web design, and in just four months he’d taught himself HTML and CSS. From there, he knew it was time to meet with like-minded career changers. He reserved a ticket for NET/WORK Baltimore, and from there, his dream became a reality when he accepted a position with Mind over Machines, a software and data solutions consultancy.
A year later, he was back at the event, this time on the other side of the table: He was helping his company hire other smart people.
“I appreciated the event Technical.ly put together because it attracted a variety of talent beyond those with technical ability,” Astrakhan said. “At Mind Over Machines, we look for human-minded as much as tech-minded thinkers.” Read more about Astrakhan’s story here.
Danielle Lashley, product strategy manager, CardConnect
“When you are searching for jobs, it feels like there are less opportunities to work in innovation in Philadelphia, compared to California or New York,” Lashley told us after she found her new job at our NET/WORK Philly event last winter.
Within a few days of attending, she was interviewing with CardConnect, a growing payment processing firm in the Philadelphia region. She soon accepted an offer as a product strategy manager.
“NET/WORK gave me a window into the exciting opportunities there are in Philly,” she said. “Most other career fairs I have been to had not resulted in anything actionable, [but] I had several follow up conversations after the Technical.ly fair.”
Terry Li, account development executive, Guru
As a student at La Salle University, Li had come to adopt Philly as his new home. As he was wrapping up his undergraduate degree in integrated science business and technology, he was looking for the next step in her career path.
“As my love for Philly grew, I knew I wanted to be here, and Technical.ly was, in my opinion, the best source of news on the tech and entrepreneur scene,” Li said. “Philly is a small scene, but what made me excited about the scene was reading Technical.ly.”
Last February, he attended NET/WORK Philly and had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Guru, a company he’d been following since her sophomore year of college.
“I handed my resume in [at NET/WORK] and two, three days afterward, one of the sales managers contacted me via email,” he said. “I had a phone interview, an onsite interview, and was given a job offer the following Friday.”
His role has since evolved: He’s now working on enterprise sales at the company.
Ben Garrison, mobile solutions architect, ISEC7
Garrison had moved to the Baltimore area without knowing what to expect of the city’s tech scene. He decided to swing by NET/WORK Baltimore to familiarize himself with local companies. Two weeks later, Garrison shared a thank you note with the Technical.ly team:
“I wanted to reach out and let you know that I found a couple of great work opportunities during your recent NET/WORK event in February in Baltimore — thanks for putting on a great job fair! I just finished my first week full time at one of these opportunities [ISEC7, formerly PaRaBal], after accepting an offer within two weeks of the event. I’m a recent transplant to Baltimore, so your event was a great way for me to get acquainted with local companies and meet them in person.”
Garrison didn’t expect an official offer within a few weeks after simply stopping by a jobs fair. But, his takeaway (now, two years into his role) is that, sometimes, all it takes is putting yourself out there.
Sabina Leybold, social and marcom coordinator, Hero Digital
Leybold was new to Philadelphia. She took a leap of faith moving to the city after only spending three days here. She hustled for Hubspot certifications, added Google Adwords to her resume and was relentlessly determined to make Philly her new home.
“Applying for jobs on paper is really hard — knowing people is really important and I didn’t know anybody,” she said. “I had to move to Philly to make it happen.”
So that’s exactly what she did.
After attending NET/WORK, Leybold decided to follow up with a few companies she spoke with. She shared her updated resume and her story. One company she had in mind was creative agency Hero Digital, where she eventually accepted a position.
“I dug up [Hero Digital]’s business card from NET/WORK and emailed them,” she said. “I said I hadn’t heard anything but I wanted [them] to have my new resume on file with the certifications.”
Her advice to job seekers who are toughing it out? Follow up.
“It says a lot about following up — giving them a nudge to show [you’re] interested and doing things to make [yourself] a better candidate,” she said.-30-
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