Five Tips for Starting a Career in Tech
Whether you’ve just graduated with an IT degree or are seeking a change to a tech position, it can be daunting trying to land your first job in the field. Between rejected applications and drawn out interview processes, the job search can start to feel like a black hole. How do you get your first role with little to no experience on your side? Here are five tips on how to stand out and break into tech!
1. Take a Contract Position: Many times, permanent positions have long, multi-step interview processes that can span weeks and months. Why? Hiring managers are thinking long-term. They want to make sure the person who fills the spot is the perfect candidate, and they aren’t willing to take any chances. However, with contract and contract-to-perm roles, many hiring managers are willing to shorten the interviewing to either a one- or two-step process. They view it as “try before you buy” and are willing to take a chance on someone less experienced. WinterWyman Contract Staffing’s Technical Division is a great resource for these types of roles.
2. Get an Internship: If you’re still in school, do an internship or co-op, which is a great way to get hands-on experience for your resume (and potentially a few extra dollars in your pocket). A lot of internships are enticing because they offer participants either an hourly wage or school credits. With an internship on your resume, you will have more to talk about in an interview than past classes and future aspirations.
3. Network: If many of your classmates and friends have had success in their job searches, reach out to them! Companies often offer referral bonuses to internal employees to incentivize them to bring on talented new workers. Not only will your friend be doing you a favor, but you can repay the favor by putting money in their pocket if you land the job. Use LinkedIn and Facebook to stay connected and when you see a friend has a new job, reach out!
4. Get Certified: If you’ve just graduated and have no internships or hands-on experience, it can be hard to stand out among the other recent grads who are applying for the same jobs. An effective way to stand out is to get certified! CompTIA is a great place to start. They offer both foundational and professional certifications for students and entry-level workers. This will give you one more bullet point on your resume and shows initiative and interest in a long-term IT career.
5. Find a Great Company: If you have done all of the above and still are struggling to break into tech, apply to a non-IT, entry-level opening at a great company. A lot of companies promote from within, so if you can get your foot in the door and prove yourself as a valuable employee, chances are you’ll be considered for an IT position within the organization once one opens up.