There’s no single right way to look for a job. Sometimes you’ve got to try a few different angles. But when you’re switching careers, how do you stand out in a crowd of thousands applying for the same role?
There might be a lot of competition, but you have what it takes to get your dream job. Still not confident? Keep reading to learn four concrete ways to land your first job in tech.
1. Find jobs that mesh with your pre-tech experience
Whether you’ve been providing care for patients in a hospital or stocking shelves in a warehouse, you’ve been slowly acquiring skillsWhy are soft skills important? that are helpful far beyond your current role.
One tip to landing your first job in tech is to use your previous experience as a starting point. Think about what you like, what you don’t like, and how you can transfer those skills you learned to another job.
Take a cue from Tiffany HallA Teacher Switches to Tech to do Even More for Students: Tiffany Hall’s TripleTen Story who worked as a special education teacher for 15 years. When COVID-19 hit, she used tech to support all of her students even when they couldn’t meet in person. But when restrictions were lifted, and the tech integration went away, Tiffany felt there was a better way for her to combine her interest in technology with her passion for education.
That’s how she found her way to her first tech job — at a company that was working on an algorithm to determine what instruction a student needs and for how long. “I wanted this job so bad,” says Tiffany. “As an educator, it’s like working for Google or Disney. It’s just that level.”
Tiffany credits her job offer to the skills she gained at TripleTen combined with her background in and love for education.
2. Nail the interview test project
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And when it comes to tech, that practice can make all the difference between getting the job — and getting passed over.
When you attend a bootcamp like TripleTen, you not only learn the skills needed to get into tech, but you learn how to apply the skills. It’s important you practice, using situational prompts to solve problems, and have external code reviewers give you feedback on your work. Because the skills you learn are put to test during the interview process.
In addition to a behavioral interviewNo Prior Tech Experience? Here’s How to Pass a Behavioral Interview, many jobs include an online or take-home assignment. These assignments help employers to see how you approach problems, as well as how you might handle a common task assigned to you in the role.
For Desiree BradishFrom Graphic Design to Code Design: Desiree Bradish’s TripleTen Story, that practice is how she got her job at Flexion, a company that upgrades online infrastructure for governments. “Primarily, their decision to hire me was based on the skills that were presented in that take-home project,” says Desiree.
I just really nailed it down and made the structure nice. I felt prepared for all of the questions, and it was largely because of TripleTen. Desiree Bradish, TripleTen grad
3. Directly contact the right people
For several years, Jake McCambleyTaking Therapy from the Outdoors to Tech: Jake McCambley’s TripleTen Story worked in wilderness therapy, taking groups on week-long camping trips to the desert. But when his time with that company ended, Jake explored his interest in software engineering. And thanks to the exposure he got in his training, Jake knew exactly what he wanted to do after graduating from TripleTen’s Software Engineering bootcamp. Having a degree in psychology and a passion for coding, he looked to combine his two interests.
“I wanted to work somewhere related to mental health or related to conservation, somewhere that I felt like was going to be doing good in the world,” Jake says. That’s how he found Zencare, which helps people find quality therapists.
But he needed to get his foot in the door. So he researched the company and reached out directly to the company’s CEO to share his story.
“I said I’m passionate about mental health and I’m passionate about building products that help people,” Jake continues, “and the CEO responded, saying, ‘Let’s chat on the phone.’” After the call, Jake was officially entered into the interview process and met with various members of the team.
While you might not have the opportunity to reach out to the CEO directly, messaging the hiring manager or recruiter directly shows your interest and can give you bonus points during the application process. Don’t be afraid to reach out to contacts at the company through LinkedIn or email.
4. Polish your portfolio
“Entry level role — 3-5 years of experience.”
For many career switchers, not having years of experience worries them. But the truth is, companies are shifting away from requiring certain degrees or years of experience, and instead focusing on practical skills and applied experience.
“No matter how beautiful your code is, a recruiter can’t have a look at it,” says Yuliya KhilkoFrom Chemical Engineering to Motherhood to Tech : Yuliya Khilko’s TripleTen Story, a software engineer at lululemon. “Yet, they will look at your portfolio, and if they see a beautiful design that works, and they like it, your resume will land onto the stack that will be moved to the next round.”
Yuliya’s portfolio was key to landing her job at lululemon. “One of their questions was to describe my work experience or the parts of my work I’m proud of,” says Yuliya. When you have a portfolio, you can rely on it and say you’ve built an application. So I told them I developed an app, did the front and back parts myself, and deployed it to the server myself. Yuliya Khilko, TripleTen grad
When you join a bootcamp like TripleTen, the curriculum is structured around helping you build your portfolio so you’re set up for success when you go out on interviews. And you can use career coaches to give feedback and make sure you’re highlighting your best work.
Land your first (and maybe) dream job
If you, too, are interested in a career in tech, TripleTen is the perfect launch pad. We offer courses in software engineering, business intelligence, data science, and quality assurance. And don’t forget to listen to our podcast, TechStart, for even more tips on how to land a career in tech.