This includes excerpts from our AMA with Matt, our lead mentor - check it out for other helpful tips. We plan on making more posts around these answers!
Have you started applying for jobs yet? Maybe you don't feel quite ready? It's scary. You know as soon as you hit send, there's no going back - and if you don't get a response, it's easy to feel disheartened.
The truth is, if you knew exactly what an employer wanted to see on a resume - you wouldn't have to feel so bad. That's where these tips come in.
We can only speak for ourselves, but if you look at it logically, employers will only be looking for a few specific things:
- Relevant Skills
- Practical Experience (Whether that's in a job, or through personal projects)
- Examples of Work
These are the basic things you must get correct. List your skills that are relevant to the job, give a short description of some projects you worked on & your responsibility within those projects, and some examples of work.
Those things are might seem obvious to some, so let's dig into some job application tactics that will truly set you apart from others when applying for your next role in tech:
- Send in a "customised resume" for each job application - This might seem time consuming, but it will make you stand out in the market. You can do things like: put the relevant skills at the top of your skill list, or customise the description of your past projects to make them more relevant to the job you're applying for. The more contextual your resume is to the job you're applying for - the better your chances.
- Add screenshots of your projects - This is something that can spruce up any CV and we can tell you 99% of the CVs we receive have no screenshots in sight. When they do, they always catch my eyes and make me curious. Particularly if you're less experienced, this gives your potential interviewer a much better idea of what you can do without having to put much thought into it.
- Put across your personality but highlight the fact that you embrace learning and challenges (if this is true) - Hopefully that's true because coding is a life-long learning process, and if it is, make this clear with a sentence or two on how you love keeping up-to-date with technology and love solving problems. Showing a passion for this type of thing is important and I have interviewed people who are clearly averse to this and it does put me off. Stating up front removes some of the doubt.
- Send a well-researched covering letter - Before you put your resume in, tell your truth about what you like about the company in the email attached to it. If you think they're on a noble mission and you'd love the opportunity to just interview with them if they like your skills - state that.
Hopefully you can go away and implement these immediately - or perhaps you've noticed that perhaps you need to gain more of the relevant skills. These tips only work if your skills and projects can be conveyed in a way that is contextual to the role. So an awesome resume isn't a substitute for learning acquiring the correct abilities.
We know how disheartening it can be. And for some, it goes a lot smoother. We really want to hear what your individual struggles or achievements are, because that sparks a conversation giving us an opportunity to help not just you, but thousands of other people who may have been in the same boat. Let us know in a comment - we'll reply to every single one of you.
There's hundreds of tutorials available online to learn web & app development, and we want to contribute to the conversation of healthy learning. We run online code bootcamps and also provide free courses for beginners to show them ropes in web development.
To check us out and register for any of our free courses, visit the Skill Pathway website.