The time between graduating and starting your first job is an exciting — and overwhelming — time. As you enter the ‘real world’, you’re embarking on a new phase and there isn’t one path to take.
If you’ve surveyed your options and are set on finding a role in tech, we can help! We asked two participants of our ElastiGrad program and two seasoned tech-industry Elasticians for their advice on getting your first job in tech.
As you start to browse open roles and consider applying for jobs, you might be surprised at the breadth of roles that are available. Tina Henderson, Manager, Sales Development at Elastic, says it’s common for recent grads to not fully grasp the various roles that exist in the tech industry.
Early grads can often be intimidated by a role and what is required based on the industry they are applying to, says Roxy Wolfe, Global Lead of Early Talent, ElastiGrad.
To better understand what some of these roles entail, do your research and reach out to people in those roles for an informational interview. This not only builds your network, something that you’re essentially starting from scratch as a new grad, but will give your guidance on whether the day-to-day tasks involved with certain roles interests you.
Another solution to that lack of network is to use LinkedIn to its fullest, Demetrius Knight, an Engineering Consultant who joined Elastic via ElastiGrad, says. “Early grads often are not utilizing their Linkedin profiles as virtual business cards. Early talent should tailor Linkedin profiles and resumes to the job opportunities they want to be considered for.”
And Roxy recommends seeking our mentors on LinkedIn personally. “A great place to start is finding alumni from your Alma Mater or student groups at the companies you are interested in,” she says.
Similarly, use LinkedIn and other avenues to find and attend events for the companies and specific industry or niche you’re interested in. This will help you not only network, but have a better understanding of the industry as a whole.
Once you’ve mastered the application process and gotten an interview, it’s time to excel in the interview.
Many new graduates lack a knowledge of the entire interview process and its intricacies, Tina says. An interview is a mutual process, she says. And unfortunately, many new grads don’t see red flags or don’t take the time to find a role that is the right fit for them.
As a recent graduate, experience is at a minimum, but Perri Smith, a Junior Integration Engineer who also joined Elastic through ElastiGrad, says not to discount soft skills you may have picked up in other work or through school like customer service, communication, or problem solving.
But, there are free resources out there to help. Demetrius used ToastMasters to practice before interviews and his school’s Career Services program. Organizations like ToastMasters can help to improve your interview skills and understand where you may have weaknesses.
Once you realize your soft skills and start to practice for your interview, Roxy recommends using the STAR method in your responses. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result and provides a guide for how to structure your responses.
Once you’ve landed the job
After you receive (and accept!) your first job offer, it’s time to celebrate. But as you embark on your career, remember that some of the same advice for finding a job applies.
Network internally and proactively reach out to people, Demetrius says.
Perri recommends finding a mentor or joining a formal mentorship program. “Being a sponge for knowledge and having the courage to ask questions has helped me to grow,” she says.
And don’t forget that learning doesn’t stop once you’ve finished school. Continue to upskill, seek out knowledge, and be curious.
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