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Top Five Videos For Candidates Who Want to GetΒ Ahead

Cross-post from Tech Inclusion

They don't tell you this in school or when you're learning on the job, but being an awesome candidate is a skill. No one is born knowing how to write job applications that get noticed, or answer interview questions that make a shining impression.

On the bright side, we can all get better at specific skills if we receive specific guidance about what works. The best source of information is the person sitting on the other side of the table: the recruiters and interviewers and hiring managers who end up making these life-changing decisions.

Below are my top picks of videos aimed at helping technical candidates get jobs. These videos aren't the ones with mass appeal at the top of a YouTube searchβ€Š-β€Šyou don't need to read a blog post to find thoseβ€Š-β€Šno, these are even better: these are the videos that don't mess around or play it safe and easy. These videos get straight to the point of what you need to say and do to be successful.

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did.

1. Write Resumes and Cover Letters That GetΒ Noticed

In this video, RubΓ©n explains what recruiters look for in resumes, and what hiring managers look for in cover letters.

RubΓ©n's advice comes from his personal experience building an amazing career without relying on fancy degrees and ho-hum applications.

Your chances of getting an interview are higher if you go beyond a conventional cover letter or formal application. If you treat your email and LinkedIn outreach like a cover letter that showcases your skills and accomplishments, then you'll have a human championing your next steps.

Check out RubΓ©n's video for four game changing tips that will make your resumes shine.

2. Showcase Your Work With a 12-Star Portfolio

Continuing on the importance of showcasing what you can do, Eleftheria explains how to make your personal website more professional and eye-catching.

A professional designer, Eleftheria breaks down what information to include about yourself and each of your projects, and how to show off your skills while you have the limited attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

You can even submit your own portfolios to get personalized feedback in her next video.

For the engineers out there, your code is not only the means to a great portfolio, but also the final product. If you have a Github profile (and you should!), everyone is going to look at it.

In this video, Real Tough Candy gives four must-haves for your GitHub profile, including how to connect with the reader, showcase your best repositories, and what the deal is with those little green squares. She also Reviews 32 Developer Portfolios here.

Your projects look great, your Github profile looks great, but I've saved the most important item for last: writing a compelling README for each and every one of your GitHub projects.

In this video, Mikael gives a step-by-step example of what makes the difference between confusing and wow-ing hiring managers.

3. Impressive Interview Communication

One of the most stressful parts of being a candidate is going through interviews. Fortunately, you can greatly improve your interview skills by practicing the seven communication tips that Stephen shares in this video.

These days, you might have to get extra creative with your words and hands (and taped-up, on-camera, paper whiteboard?), however this video is still a goldmine of useful communication tips.

Almost every "Candidate Review" meeting I've ever been to has included interviewers commenting on how well the candidate communicated. When you replace long rambles with well-organized thoughts, interviewers are much more likely to positively assess what you're saying, as well as positively assess your communication and thus collaboration skills in general.

Stephen's tips can help you answer questions about yourself, tell a compelling story about past work, and explain a complicated algorithm or architecture.

4. Getting Unstuck in a Technical Interview

If you've ever had a brain-freeze or gotten stuck during a skill assessment, you're not alone. Just because someone is great on the job, it doesn't mean they can ace a funky skill assessment while the clock counts down and a stranger looks over their shoulder. Great engineers choke in programming interviews all the time.

However, skill assessments are a reality of hiring processes. In fact, often interviewers want to see how you handle a challenge. Anthony's checklist of high-quality tips can make the difference between getting stuck in a rut, and crossing that finish line like a champ.

5. Coding Interview Prep

Being comfortable using a Hash Tableβ€Š-β€Šalso known as a HashMap in Java, dict in Python, hash in Ruby, Object in JavaScriptβ€Š-β€Šis one of the best ways to improve your performance in coding interviews.

In the #4. Getting Unstuck video, Anthony mentions the space-time trade-off, a common "trick" for optimizing a brute force solution. In practical terms this often means reducing runtime by increasing space: instead of nested iterations through an array, iterate through the array once to copy its contents into a HashTable. Then you can look up elements in the HashTable in constant time, turning a polynomial-time O(nΒ²) solution into a linear-time O(n) solution.

In an interview, you'll want to be comfortable creating and iterating through Hash Tables (or whatever they're called in your language of choice). Of course, us engineers don't simply "use" things: we like to take them apart and understand what makes them tick.

Vaidehi's series on computer science basics is an excellent deep dive into what Hash Tables are, how they work, and why they are the secret sauce for optimizing so many algorithms.

Bonus: Negotiating a JobΒ Offer

22 Phrases to Successfully Negotiate Salary After Receiving a Job Offer by Lusen Mendel ← that's me, the author of this post \o/

Candidates, if you've made it this far in the post, then you're all set to get noticed and impress the socks off your interviewers. This last video is for the third and final candidate stage: negotiating one or more job offers.

Negotiation may not be critical to getting a job, but that doesn't mean it's not critical to your emotional well-being. I've seen the heart-breaking inequality that results from candidates not asking; and I've seen the delight and pride of accepting a kick-ass job on terms everyone feels good about.

There are many reasons we avoid negotiating, whether because negotiation is considered taboo and we're socialized against it, or because we're afraid of offers being rescinded and managers thinking we're difficult. Often it's simply because we don't know what to say.

This video explains exactly how to negotiate a job offer, including numerous phrases you can use to ask for more, minimize risks and avoid leaving money on the table. You can't control the company agreeing to everything you ask for, but you can politely and confidently explore all aspects of an agreement before making a decision.

Adam Dangoor and Lusen Mendel co-founded DangoorMendel to work directly with candidates on their interviewing and negotiation skills.

We created CandidatePlanet to make our insights more accessible and empower more candidates. We answer questions from anyone!

Leave a comment or email with questions you want us to answer.

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Top comments (4)

lautarolobo profile image
Lautaro Lobo

Cool videos, thanks!

candidateplanet profile image
lusen / they / them πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸ₯‘


No problem. I'm just passing on the hard work by

vaidehijoshi image
emmanuelnk profile image
Emmanuel N Kyeyune

You and Candidate Planet are the most underrated resource I've ever stumbled across! Subbed to you on everything. Great content

candidateplanet profile image
lusen / they / them πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸ₯‘

Thanks Emmanuel! 😊