I just graduated from a bootcamp and I'm having trouble finding a job. Can anybody give me some pointers?
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There’s a lot to be said about getting a job and breaking into the design field. We have two main pieces of advice:
1) Do great work, and tell people about it.
The only way to improve as a designer to the point of getting a gig in the field is to practice by working on a series of projects (either self-directed or with real clients). So, do whatever you can to work on as many projects as possible, and be conscious about the skills you’re trying to improve through those projects.
Then, it’s a matter of expressing the work you’ve done in a strong portfolio that captures your thought process, your attention to detail, and the quality of your skills.
2) Be thoughtful about how you build up your own set of skills.
There are a number of areas in design you could specialize in — visual design, interaction design, prototyping, mobile, user research, etc. — the list goes on. No one will realistically expect you to be amazing at ALL of these, so decide what you want to be great at.
We believe a lot in the concept of “T-shaped creatives” — people who have a broad range of skills that they are pretty good at, with one area of speciality that they are REALLY good at. Examples: a UX designer who is especially great at user research, or a UI/UX generalist with very strong visual design/illustration skills.
Instead of trying to be great at everything (which would be amazing, but tough!), decide what you really want to pursue by working on your overall skillset… and then get world-class at one area.
Then, think about how you to brand/present yourself appropriately to employers!
Agreed with other poster that you need to keep doing projects even after you graduate... bootcamps are the beginning of your development... don't lose the momentum of coding every day!
You're new full time job is finding a full time job! Good Luck!
I agree with all of the advice here... especially Charlyne's point—get connected. The US Bureau of Labor Stats says that at least 70% of jobs are found through your network. I work at Startup Institute (www.startupinstitute.com), and we can't stress this point enough with our students. Get out there, meet people, and build MEANINGFUL (not transactional) relationships. Focus on offering value to others (this can come in many forms!), and eventually a company will see how employing you will bring even more value.
Some other job search tips:
1. Give your personal brand a facelift
In the same way that a company’s branding involves everything from their website and ads to their customer service, your personal brand is the sum total of your expertise, value-adds, and interactions as a professional.
Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey shows that 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profiles before making a hiring decision—for some, before inviting them to interview. Be purposeful about selecting branding platforms and use them to tell a comprehensive story about what drives you.
As Charlyne suggested, broadcast your job search on LinkedIn by sharing your goal in your tagline or opening summary. Then, share useful links with your LinkedIn followers at least three times a week. Two reasons:
a. It’s helpful (**value-add).
b. More exposure for that headline.
2. Attend at least a few networking events a month
The solo job search just doesn’t work. This is good news—it means you can get off of your computer and out into the world. Meet people who are doing interesting things. Find what piques your curiosity and dig in. Ask questions. Find out how you can learn more, if you can get an introduction, if there are other events you should attend.
If you’re more of an introvert and this all sounds terrible, not to worry. Good networking—the right kind of networking—isn’t about making small talk at crowded events. It’s about making meaningful connections. Quality far trumps quantity. Seek industry events or hackathons that allow you to work on a project or skill set, rather than collecting business cards. You can also ask current professional connections to make introductions for you if you prefer not to avoid events altogether. We wrote this article on the habits of successful networkers —it's a good read: http://blog.startupinstitute.com/8-habits-for-successful-networking/
3. Cast a smaller net
This may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. I’ve been there—scouring Indeed and Monster and Indeed for roles I’d qualify for, sending out a steady stream of résumés and cover letters into the cyber-abyss. It's exhausting and inefficient.
Pull in the reins on your job search. Pursue only opportunities that inspire you. Why? Because being thoughtful and purposeful about your next steps will help you find your way to the right next steps. Furthermore, getting a job offer for a company that you truly care about doesn’t happen on accident. You need to be able to give that extra umph. Don't burn out on the opportunities that you don't really want.
Save your energy for the right opportunities, and then get ready to fight the good fight.
4. Tailor your messaging
When you do find that right opportunity, you need to pull out all the stops. This means revising your résumé with each new application.
A great recent hire here at Startup Institute was almost passed on because his résumé did not reflect the experience we were looking for. Upon further inquiry, we learned that his experience was highly relevant, and that he’d worked with the key platforms that we use internally. It was lucky for all parties involved that we’d decided to follow up; most people won’t get so lucky.
If a job description was posted, use the language in the post as a guideline for the kinds of keywords and experiences that you should highlight. In the absence of a job description, research similar roles and see what language is used. Adjust the sequencing of your bullet points in order of relevancy to the role you’re applying for.
Your LinkedIn profile, of course, may not be able to be tailored to each individual job application. Instead, tailor it to your dream job.
5. Publish thought-pieces
Write about your experiences learning to code. Write about your process thinking through coding challenges. By developing compelling content that’s relevant to the kind of role you’re targeting, you highlight your expertise and show potential employers that you’re passionate about the topic and driven to stretch your intellectual muscles around it. You don't need to start a blog—publish content on LinkedIn or Medium.
As a bootcamp grad, showing how you think about coding challenges is a big deal, and often a large part of the interview process. If a prospective employer reads an article you published that details your process, they're going to have an idea of how you'd fit on the team before you even show up for the interview. Check out some more tips from our technical director on interviewing here— http://blog.startupinstitute.com/2015-8-10-web-developer-interview/
7. Refine your elevator pitch
Refine your 30-second pitch about what you’re looking for, what you can bring to bear at a new job, and how someone can easily help you. If you can be clear and concise about what you’re looking for, people can mentally map how your search might overlap with opportunities they’ve heard about. Share your elevator pitch with the world—both for practice and to get as many people on your case as possible.
Hope this helps! Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The main tenet behind this is to have work you can SHOW. An actual website, iOS app, Android app, or whatever you work on. You have to be able to SHOW it. Then get out there and meet people and show your work. If it takes longer than 2 months to get a single job interview, you have to address one or more of the following:
- Improve your skills.
- Be friendlier. Far too many people are rude, awkward, or downright unprofessional in tech.
- Stop being weird. Look at people in the eye when you speak. Say please, thank you, and take care of your appearance. Shower.
- Improve your skills.
That's basically it. It's not complicated yet too many people make it more complicated than necessary. If the amount of people asking me for job advice/leads at my workshops is any indication, the strategy I laid out above is not obvious to many in the tech industry. If you fall in that category, follow the advice above. It works.
Read more here: https://www.velocity360.io/post/getting-the-first-job
Velocity 360 is designed for students who want to accelerate their learning through flexible night and weekend schedule. We focus on rapidly growing technologies such as Node JS, React, React Native and iOS. For more information, visit
Getting a job in the tech industry is not always as easy as some make it out to be. You have to have some tough skin, because you will most likely find rejection around a lot of corners.
So far, a lot of advice has been given around the idea of networking. This is super important, because the networks you create will most likely be the people who end up helping to get your resume in front of the right people. You need to find a balance though, you need to keep honing your coding skills and whiteboarding skills. Networking is not enough when you find yourself in the midst of an interview and totally blank on how to parse a string passed into parameter. Make sure to find a balance between studying for interviews and networking to find interviews.
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