This guest post was created in collaboration with Venturi Group, one of the UK’s top IT recruitment agencies. We asked them for their top tips on getting your first job in tech.
As an IT recruitment agency, we work with recent graduates everyday. For many students, getting that first foot on the career ladder after finishing university is a daunting prospect. While some nerves are unavoidable, fortunately there are things you can do to give yourself a headstart in today’s competitive job market.
Below we have outlined some advice on what to do before beginning your search for your first role in the tech industry.
Get involved in projects outside of university
You’ve probably heard this one a few times before. Employers look favourably upon students who are engaged in technical projects outside of university. After all, it’s a clear indication of a genuine passion for technology. In a market saturated by graduates, having that extra something on your CV will inevitably make you stand out from the crowd. For example, being able to list coding projects you have worked on, hack-a-thons you have entered, or internships you have undertaken are all major advantages when it comes to applying for jobs.
Depending on what jobs you are applying for, you may be asked to take a psychometric or aptitude test at some point in your job hunting.
We want to offer you a chance to get an instant testing practice to get you ahead of the game and help with you future job applications.
Tests are often only one of several selection tools used by an employer in assessing your suitability.
They are designed to test how your abilities in different areas such as verbal, numerical and logical reasoning.
Research shows that practice can help improve your performance in tests and we can help you with that.
The Careers website allows you free access to a range of psychometric tests: numerical, verbal, logical reasoning, as well as a personality questionnaire, a situational judgement test and Assessment Centre Exercises.
If you are curious about the 21 Days career learning programme, why not watch this short video introduction to help get you in the picture about it. It’s my walk-through of the programme and is about ten minutes long. It details the structure and some example posts and activities are introduced.
Effectively, we have created a career learning programme that you can work through at your leisure. It is primarily designed for graduates but of relevance to many others.
We don’t all have the same definition of success and it can be liberating to think about this when talking about careers. It’s easy to get tied up in knots about earning more or having a certain status but success can be much more subtle than that. We’ve called our 21 Days to Career Success programme deliberately to get you as graduates to think about what success really means to you.
What does ‘career success’ mean to you? Get yourself in the mood to think about this by viewing these YouTube clips (source Kerr Inkson – Understanding Careers) which show different ideas about success. Getting rich, developing as a person, overcoming adversity, winning and being the best, recognition of creativity and making the world a better place come out of these songs. Which one do you identify with the most, or do they all leave you cold?
Dominika Piasecka graduated with a Journalism degree in 2016. She rapidly realised that the skills she needed to build relationships and contacts to get stories for her course were also valuable in finding jobs.
“My name is Dominika, I’m a journalism graduate from the University of Salford and am currently working as Media and PR Officer at The Vegan Society. When I moved to the UK almost 7 years ago, I didn’t know anyone and had to start forming relationships with people from scratch. I first understood the importance of networking at the beginning of my university course when I had to find interviewees for my assignments. The people I knew were more than friends or acquaintances; they were contacts. They helped me to find and connect with people I had to talk to. Online networking makes it all so much easier these days, especially LinkedIn which is a great platform to connect to people professionally. I would add everyone I met during my course and ask relevant people for references and endorsements to build my profile.”
Now that the ’21 days to Career Success’ has come to an end you should be much better equipped to sort out your work-life. Hopefully you have learnt lots of new things about the world of work and maybe about yourself too? Whether you have followed the posts methodically or just dipped in to top up your existing knowledge we hope you have found it useful.
So here is a short recap of what you need to do:-
Take a look at yourself. What have you got to offer? What do you want? What is important to you? What do you feel has been stopping you from success so far?
Get to know the world of work. Be curious and proactive. Don’t just rely on the internet… get out and talk to real people too.
Make sure that your practical job-finding skills are doing your justice (CV writing, interviews, online presence) and if not, get help!
Some of the graduates I have talked to recently have said ‘I didn’t realise it would be this hard to get a job!’ They feel frustrated and find it hard to keep on trying.
If you feel like that, even just sometimes, then today’s post will help you.
When the tough times hit hard some people crumble and yet others seem to grow stronger. But what makes the different between being a ‘hero’ or a ‘victim of circumstance’? And how come some people will be amazingly tough-minded in one area of their life and yet easily beaten in another?
This fundamental question has always interested me. How can we get over the hurdles we encounter throughout life? A key to this question is something called ‘RESILIENCE’. Let’s consider what resilience is and how you can get more of it. Improving your resilience means you can more quickly and easily ‘bounce back’ from disappointments which is good news for your happiness and your health.
Or do you believe that your future success and happiness is completely down to fate, luck, chance, god, serendipity or other people’s actions? Some people do.
In reality, whichever of those is right (and we could have a long philosophical debate about this) a pragmatic approach might be to suppose that the truth lies somewhere in between. There are probably things about your situation you can’t control and there are certainly things you can. Feeling that you have control, autonomy and agency over your own life can help to boost your self-esteem when things are going well BUT the flipside of the coin is that, when things go badly you may overly blame yourself. Similarly, if you believe nothing is within your control then when things don’t go your way you can easily blame someone or something else BUT this belief can stop you from taking action to make things happen!
SO… you complete an online application and then you get an invitation to do some assessments online or attend an assessment centre. What can you expect and how can you give it your best shot?
What is an Assessment Centre?
An assessment centre is not an actual physical PLACE but a format which is used in recruitment (though obviously it happens in an actual place). It is designed to get lots of information about job applicants so that the company can make well informed decisions and hopefully select ‘the right’ people for the job.
Why do employers use them?
They are much better at predicting future job performance than interviews alone. From your point of view a great thing about an assessment centre is that you can be sure you have had lots of chances to show your stuff!
Job interviews evoke mixed emotions – anticipation but also dread. If you are invited to an interview, very well done, this means your written application is good and you are on the next step towards getting the job you want. But most of us worry about job interviews while also being delighted to have one. This is natural, so the secret is to manage your nerves by preparing effectively and viewing the interview as your opportunity to impress and even enjoy talking about yourself!
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail
It is critical to prepare by researching the employer and the role you are going for fully. Nothing can rule you out quicker than showing you aren’t really sure about what the job is. Also, get the small stuff right – make sure you know where you are going and allow yourself time to arrive in good time. Plan carefully what you are going to wear – follow the dress code that’s normal for the industry you are going for, e.g., for industries such as Law and Accountancy, dress codes are smart and conservative, whereas if you are going for a job in Advertising or Media, you can probably risk adding a bit more colour to your outfit.