(Photo by Lauren Kallen for Flatiron School)
This article is sponsored by Flatiron School and was reviewed before publication.
Finding work in the middle of a global pandemic is nothing short of overwhelming.
Founded in NYC’s Flatiron District, Flatiron School was among the first coding bootcamps of the early 2010s to make tech training more accessible through accelerated programs. Today it has campuses in 10 cities, including D.C., and is Course Report’s #1 ranked bootcamp. With its immersive 15-week programs in software engineering, data science and cybersecurity, followed by dedicated one-on-one career coaching, Flatiron School’s D.C. campus has a track record of placing 100% of its students (which was 48 at the time of this 2019 report) in jobs with an average starting salary of $71,582.
“I started working with my career coach in January, right after graduation,” said Mary Beliveau, a 2019 Flatiron School software engineering graduate. “My coach helped me revise my resume and prepare for interviews. By early February, I’d received multiple job offers by attending Flatiron School’s quarterly career fair and started a job by March. Having my coach as a guide and sounding board throughout the process was invaluable.”
In the spirit of giving back during this difficult time, Flatiron School recently launched a free online resource called “How to Land a Tech Job: The Complete Curriculum.” The same career prep curriculum as its IRL program, the guide includes over five hours of helpful information, resources, articles, templates and videos to help you successfully perform your job search.
We sat down with Jolie Brown, senior career coach at Flatiron School, to give readers a taste of what’s included. Here are four of the most important things a job seeker must do to secure a tech gig in today’s climate.
Right now, platforms like GitHub, LinkedIn and Twitter are being flooded by people actively looking for jobs. It’s time to go beyond simply having a social presence, and make your presence known.
- Try a new approach to outreach, like sending an engaging video message to hiring managers instead of a standard letter.
- Lead with an offer. Provide a part of your services for free to get in the door, or propose doing pro bono work for small companies in need of support during these challenging times.
- Tell your story. Paint a strong picture of who you are and what makes you different. Why are you passionate about what you’re doing? Why are you making a career pivot to tech? What skill sets do you bring to the table?
- Refresh your profiles often. Continually post articles, blogs and projects so that your name becomes familiar and your posts land at the top of hiring managers’ newsfeeds.
For anyone that dreads it, remember, networking is just a fancy word for conversation. Try not to think of it as “selling yourself,” but making human-to-human connection. After all, people get hired by people.
- Do your research. Before you reach out, do some digging into who you’re messaging to ensure your note feels relevant and personal. Also, of course, research the company you’re applying to — its mission, values, work — and incorporate that knowledge into your message, as well.
- Listen. At Zoom or IRL events, it’s important to be a good listener. Start small: Walk up to a few people, listen to their stories, and wait to find an opening where you can make a meaningful contribution to the conversation.
- Get those deets. Most importantly, always get people’s contact information before you leave and follow up with an email or LinkedIn message so you can continue the conversation. You never know where a connection will lead.
When all of the usual steps aren’t working, it’s time to step outside the box. Think of ways to use your skills and knowledge to show hiring managers what you’re made of.
One student Brown coached wasn’t gaining momentum in her job search, so she started a podcast and included it in her outreach. Another student rolled up his sleeves and reached out to 10 data scientists a day, sharing his best work, until he finally got an offer.
- Be flexible, open-minded and creative in your job search.
- Consider applying for locations, industries, or freelance roles you might not have before.
- Be proactive. Hiring managers get busy (possibly from covering for the very role they’re trying to fill) and may unintentionally put things on pause. Get back on their radar and remind them of your value to the company.
- Always follow up after an interview. It’s not nagging, it’s taking initiative and reiterating your passion for the job.
Never stop learning. In an ever-changing industry like technology, it’s especially important to continue learning so that you stay current. Even in the midst of looking for a job, keep your skills sharp through volunteer, pro-bono or project-based work.
Craving more? Get Flatiron School’s free resource, “How to Land a Tech Job: The Complete Curriculum” for more tips and tricks to optimize your job search and become a “no-brainer hire.”-30-
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