14 Sep The Essential Guide to Landing Your First Tech Job after University
Graduating from University is an exciting time full of possibilities. The real world is finally upon you, and it’s time to start figuring out what you’re going to do next with your life. If you are considering a career in the tech industry, here are a few ways to ensure that you land the job of your dreams.
START WORKING BEFORE YOU GRADUATE…
Putting in some work before you finish school is a great way to ensure you will be at the top of the list when recruiters are looking to hire. A co-op position at a tech company or even a part-time role will help you gain valuable real-world experience, will give you the opportunity to see the different type of roles available in the industry, and will open opportunities for mentorship and networking. Co-op and part-time positions will also allow you to experience and understand the pace at which companies work and provide you with great work examples for your resume. Arguably one of the biggest benefits of working before you graduate is that if you’re good at what you do and show your potential to your employer, they may offer you a full-time gig.
What you need to know about Co-op and Part-Time positions with a tech company:
- They aren’t just for technical roles. You can find opportunities in marketing, sales, customer success, operations, etc.
- Spend some time researching and talking to people in the industry to find a role that you would like to try.
- Contact your school’s co-op, internship, and work placement department to see if they can help find you a placement.
- If a co-op/part-time role is not something that you can do, a volunteer position with a non-profit or a smaller organization in a technical or non-technical role is a great way to learn and gain experience.
TAKE SOME INITIATIVE & DO SOME SELF-TAUGHT LEARNING…
Don’t fret if you aren’t able to do a co-op term or can’t find a part-time job in the area that interests you. You can still make yourself a desirable hire by showing some initiative and doing some self-taught learning. Employers love to see that a prospective candidate has proactively gone above and beyond to expand their skills and knowledge in preparation for a job. Depending on the type of role that you are going for, self-learning can include learning how to code online, doing online courses in your desired field, and getting certifications that benefit your career.
Show off what you’ve learned:
- Developers: Once you’ve mastered some code, work on your own side projects or contribute to open source projects. These will be great examples that you can show to potential employers. Stay up to date with new tech and learn the latest languages and frameworks that are being used by your dream company. Ensure you’re on GitHub.
- Designers: Create a portfolio and show how you’ve iterated and improved your designs. This will help recruiters who may not be design-savvy understand your process and see how you work.
- Marketing: Create and maintain a personal website with projects that you’ve worked on in school. This is a great way to brand yourself.
NETWORK & THEN NETWORK SOME MORE…
Last but certainly not least to landing your first tech job is to network. Networking is super essential to landing a job in most industries these days—as the old saying goes “it’s not what you know but who you know” that will determine whether or not you land your dream tech job. Plus, it’s a great skill to develop early. The key to great networking is to build quality relationships. When attending an event make sure to spend time getting to know a few people rather than trying to meet everyone in the room. Another way to stand out from the crowd is to follow-up. A quick email or message letting the person you met know that you enjoyed speaking to them is a great way to stay top of mind when a role opens up at their company.
The networking tips that you need to know.
- There are a ton of Meetup groups available, and there are always events happening around town to help new grads learn more about tech and their areas of interest.
- Recruiters at career fairs are great resources. They can tell you what you need to do to land your dream job in tech. Chatting with recruiters is also a great way of having them recognize you when submit a resume.
- Take the initiative and reach out to people on LinkedIn for informational interviews. People are pretty happy to help those who are looking to learn. Buy them a coffee and don’t focus on asking them for a job, rather try to learn more about what they do, how they got there and what their company is like. They might be able to direct you towards opportunities that could be a fit for you, or you could come to mind whenever a job opens up.
For more tips on landing a job in tech, visit our Aspire to Tech page.