how to get into tech

How To Get Into Tech – The Secret Recipe, Part One

The following is an updated guide on how to get noticed and land a job in tech from SecretRecipe, an OE advisor and community member.

Isaac’s note: your resume has a daunting task: 1) get past the automated tracking system resume checker, 2) scannable and past the eye-test for recruiters, and 3) seems interesting enough to land a screener call with the hiring manager. Now let’s get to work.

Get Noticed, Work Backwards

Most applicants write their resumes backward. Think about it – if you create a product without understanding what your customers want, then you’re not going to create a great product. It just doesn’t work or sell well. So let’s work backward.

If you’re sending out paper resumes, they’re probably getting thrown away. Nowadays, companies and recruiters have software that does keywords-to-job-opening matching in a database of resumes to see who’s worth looking at further. Only then do human eyes even glance at your resume.

Even if you’re an AMAZING candidate, if your resume doesn’t have a high percentage match to keywords in a job post, chances are you won’t get noticed. Isaac’s note: and if you don’t get notified, you don’t get a chance to sell yourself to the hiring manager.

10 Steps To Get Your Resume To Hiring Managers

Step 1. Figure out what sort of job you want. Isaac’s note: Not sure? Check out this post.

Step 2. Go to Dice.com, Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn and search for related jobs.

Step 3. Find all the job postings that you like and copy and paste their contents into a word document. I recommend at least 30 posts. More is better.

Step 4. Take your massive word document full of job postings and copy and paste it into a keyword analyzer.

Step 5. Run it. The output report will have a ton of entries returned.

Below is an example of the output from a keyword analyzer.

Keyword analyzer results.

Step 6. Walkthrough the results and find the keywords and tricky phrases that seem to be commonly used.

Step 7. Copy out the keywords and tricky phrases that seem to pop up more than once or twice and put them in a separate list.

Step 8. Find a good resume template that works well for you and build your entire resume around the results in step 7.

Regardless of the resume template, you should have a section like the below picture that you can use to list all of your relevant skills. I usually suggest putting this right before your “Employment History” section.

Use this section for your keywords dump.

Step 9. Write a novel. The old “your resume should only be 1-2 pages long” advice doesn’t apply to the modern digital world, not one bit. Anyone who tells you otherwise is out of touch with how the HR world has changed over the past decade. Humans don’t read stacks of resumes anymore, cloud-based software does the job now of finding job candidates who are a match. The more words you have, the higher chance of hitting the keyword match for a given job opening.

My resume is 16 pages long due to the type of work I’ve done – I recognize this is a bit of an outlier. That’s why I have a 5-page “executive summary” version that I’ll send to clients already interested in hiring me or my firm. The average person’s resume should probably be 4-5 pages and their executive summary should be 1-2.

Step 10. Post the resume to all the job boards. I posted the resume I wrote for this post and within a couple of days the inbox was flooded with companies and recruiters reaching out with their various openings asking if I was interested. Your results may vary depending on how common or rare your preferred job may be. However, I’m confident that following these steps can help anyone get noticed by employers.

Your resume shouldn’t be primarily a catalog of what you’ve done. It should tell the story of what you’re capable of doing.

SecretRecipe#4109

Tips and Tricks

  1. Using vague terms like “exposure to” or “experience with” gives you the ability to appear qualified even though you may have just only taken one class on the topic or done some independent research online. If you can speak comfortably on a skill in an interview, then feel free to list it in this manner.
  2. Here’s a good example of a vague and essentially un-provable boast. Pepper your resume with these. I don’t advocate outright lying. However, you need to have a measure of “used car salesmen” in you when you write your resume. Isaac’s note: think of your resume as a long sideway sales letter or marketing materials.
  3. The specific person I built this around has three years of relevant college work and two years work experience. He sent specs to an offshore team in India and managed their development work and he was in charge of a team of interns on his last project. Doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive as what I wrote in the resume. However, it’s still factually true and defensible in an interview.
  4. You don’t have do the actual tasks in the work place for them to count as skills you’re capable of performing. If you’ve written something up or worked on something on your own time, it’s still something you’ve done and therefor a skill you’ve developed or are developing. Again don’t outright lie. But don’t sell yourself short either.
  5. Missing a skill? Go to Kahn Academy, Udemy.com, Youtube, local library and take a class or read a book. Every single item listed on the above are marketable skills you can learn in a couple hours online or over a weekend of fiddling around.

Did the secret recipe work for you? Drop us a comment and let us know. Now onto part two to landing a job in tech.

3 comments

  1. I’ve actually held as many as 5 jobs at the same time. Yes, it was hard. For my primary job, I had it setup so perfectly that other than an occasional meeting, or request, I didn’t have too much going on. Jobs 2-5 were different. I had laptops setup in different room, and even VM duplicate on many of my machines to switch between the jobs. I held onto 5 positions for 6 months. At that point it started becoming tougher and tougher so I dropped it down to 3.

  2. I am very surprised how I spent several years doing things that I thought was working well about my resume. Poor thing. Thank you as always

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