Feel like job hunting isn’t getting you anywhere?
For the second part of our Job Application Process Survival Guide, Bloc reached out to 50 of its alumni to ask, “What was your secret to finding a job?”
We’ve looked for patterns in our alumni feedback and distilled them down to these five core ideas.
1. It’s going to be tough – don’t give up and keep improving.
Of our 50 alumni surveyed, almost all of them expressed persistence as the main contributor to their success. From tailoring resumes, getting used to being passed on, and continuing to work on projects, setting expectations for failure will help you maintain focus and keep improving.
“I know it’s hard if you don’t have a job. But just focus on getting better and knowing the ins and outs of development and keep plugging away. Also, there are many ways to get into tech. You have QA Automation Specialists, Support Engineers/Prod Support, DevOps, Sysadmins, and much more! Coming out of a program like Bloc you will have a tremendous upside if you continue to put in the work and if you are sincere about working in tech.”
“Don’t give up. I was passed on by lots of big guys, and the Apple position [I got] was just meant to be. I had an offer within 2 weeks. I had tailored my resume to show off some of my creative abilities and that is what Apple noticed.”
2. Always be networking.
The most common theme throughout alumni feedback was the value of networking. Many students told stories of unexpected job opportunities that came as a result of networking, while others championed ways for introverts to overcome their fears and get out there. No matter the circumstance, our alumni agree that networking is a vital component to an effective job search.
“Work your contacts and be patient. Cultivate genuine networking relationships through Meetup.com or coffee dates with other developers and designers. I became a member of Women Who Code very early on and the group has been enormously supportive and helped me through many moments of doubt.”
“Networking, networking, networking. It can be a hassle if you’re a quieter person or you live a bit away from where you’re looking to work, but it’s always what led me to get a foot in the door. Talk to your mentors about companies in your or their area they like and see if they’re hiring. If you have friends in the field, see if their place is hiring. Go to meetups, or start your own. LinkedIn really only goes as far as sending someone a notification to click and read so try more ways to introduce yourself without being too invasive.”
3. Keep building.
Completing your mentorship program is not just the end of a process, but the beginning of a new challenge. As our alumni can attest, once you learn to code or design, your journey is just getting started. The key to success is to keep learning by building more.
“Do as many projects as you can, look up everything you run across that you wonder about, network as much as you can, and apply to every job that remotely looks interesting. Practice, Practice, Practice. And then practice more.”
“Build a huge number of projects—large projects, small projects and everywhere in between. Take advantage of your mentor. It’s an asset most other people don’t have and is certainly one of your biggest advantages against other software developers (everyone has access to Google and Stack Overflow). Also, build a project in conjunction with a partner or team. Building tools that need to communicate with something your partner built (and vice-versa) is a highly valuable skill.”
4. Trust the process.
Entering a new field can be incredibly challenging. Before starting our programs prospective students often express a fear of the unknown. Not knowing if they could go from being an absolute beginner to an employable developer or designer, what an actual job in the field would be like or if they’d be able to continue without mentorship upon graduation, are among some of their biggest concerns. Our alumni’s advice? Trust the process. Bloc and its mentors are here to be your advocates and will make sure you are successful.
“Trust the Bloc system, be patient, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and listen to other programmers. I’ve picked up a lot of great knowledge by just listening to other programmers talk about issues that they have encountered and how they worked through those issues.”
“Be organized. Bloc provides an excellent job applications spreadsheet. Scrupulously keep it updated.”
5. Confidence is key.
Through it all, believe in yourself. Starting out, even top executives suffer from a bit of “impostor syndrome”. The trick is to maintain confidence in your abilities and know the value of your skill set. It is said that we are our own worst enemies, but when we have faith in ourselves, we can also be our greatest strength.
“Be confident and learn how to sell yourself. You don’t always need to have the exact skills required by the job for which you’re applying – you need to demonstrate your fundamentals and problem-solving abilities. Being a good listener and showing that you can work well on a team are two of the biggest factors as well.”
Thank you for your feedback
Bloc would like to say thank you to the entire alumni community for their thoughtful feedback. For this article, we’d like to extend an extra thank you for the feedback featured from Jeredine Williams, Souma Mondal, Ross Waguespack, Dan Loman, Casey Bennington, Tyler Schmidt, Kyle Kwon, Ryan Walker and Michael Roberts.