How to get a Tech Job in 2021
Getting into the Tech Industry
While it has been a difficult couple of years because of the covid situation, most of the crisis has passed over and the economy is now on the verge of successful recovery. What’s more, due to more and more people and organisations adopting online technologies, the tech industry is stronger than ever with a huge prospect of future jobs. If you have ever wondered how to get a tech job with limited experience in 2021, then this article has been written especially for you. For further proof, a study by Deloitte shows that it has become crucial for B2C businesses to have a digital presence and digital commerce capabilities. Not to mention the huge rise in remote working technologies, adoption of cyber security measures by organizations and huge scope for technology adoption by the health care and medical industries. It is safe to say that Technology is on the rise and so are the associated jobs and possible careers available for recent graduates and young working professionals who want to switch to a tech job. However, there are a lot of questions beginners have when trying to break into the tech industry, like this guy here.
The struggles for an outsider to break into the local tech industry is even higher, what with understanding the job role, getting an interview, mastering tech skills, convincing a tech company to take you on, and trying to map your previous career experience to make it fit a tech job profile. It can seem frustrating to mass apply to hundreds of jobs online, sending your CV to dozens of companies, just to get the notification that “Thank you for your application, unfortunately…” or worse, see that the “Employer has viewed your profile” but they never revert. Sometimes, after days, weeks and even months of this, it can seem like you are blindly hitting yourself against a wall, getting bruised and beaten but seeing no results. Therefore, we at Ingenio Learning have taken it as our mission to make sure we solve this problem, by educating people about getting hired in tech. We aim to connect technology companies to hard working people such as yourself, helping you find a tech job that is your best fit and ensuring that you start your technology career on a strong note.
There are a lot of components that go into getting into the technology industry, from optimizing your LinkedIn profile to researching the company, to making sure your CV stands out, to acing the interview. In this article, we shall deep dive into one of the most important components of your job search, which is tailoring the CV for a particular technology job.
Why you should not Mass Apply to companies
The most important mistake which we see our students make is to work on their CV once, and then start sending it to as many places as possible. This is precisely what you should not do. Your objective when trying to break into a tech job is to be as specific as possible and not be just another generic applicant. Recruiters are very smart nowadays and with the increase in the number of websites through which you can fill out a job application nowadays including Indeed, LinkedIn, GlassDoor, etc, sometimes they have to go through hundreds of applications to filter out the right candidate. Recruiters know when you just sent in your CV without tailoring it and that makes sure your CV goes into the reject pile. If you are unsure about how to go about tailoring your CV for a tech job, this article is precisely for you.
How to get into IT: The Tech Ecosystem
Whenever any tech company wants to hire someone for a specific job position, the process involves three main players in the hiring ecosystem.
- Recruiter (Internal or External): A recruiteris usually the first point of contact you will have with a tech company, although it depends on the size and scale of the company. The recruiter can either be an internal person solely assigned with gathering potential candidates for interviews or if the company is big enough, the entire recruiting process can be outsourced to a reputed third-party agency, like Ingenio Global for example. The recruiter’s role is to collect the exact requirements for the job role and post it on job forums, internal networks and/or social media to recruit the best possible candidates for the job.
- Human Resources (HR): After the recruiter has successfully recruited some candidates from a sea of prospective applicants, this set of CVs are sent to the Human Resources department of the company. Sometimes due to public perception, it might seem that the HR department is not as important, and you should only focus on impressing the hiring manager. This is a dangerous misconception because the HR is the gatekeeper of the tech company and determines the company culture and workplace morale. The HR department will look at the candidates submitted by the recruiter and choose several to interview based on culture and workplace fit. They usually will focus more on the personality of the individual as opposed to the specific technical skills and qualifications.
- Hiring Manager: The hiring manager is usually the final decision maker on whether you will end up working at the company or not. They usually are someone who has been with the company for a while and are aware of exactly what technical skills and qualifications are required from their employees. The hiring manager will look through the candidates sent by the HR department and choose candidates based on specific technical criteria. They are usually not very concerned about company culture or personality fit.
Bear in mind that these three roles are not always well defined depending on the size of the company, ranging from a small tech start-up to a big organization like Google. But their hiring usually follows this structure.
The important thing to remember is that you should ideally have three different versions of your CV for each of these different roles in the job interview process. To know more about this, you can hear it from our founder Rob Magee himself on getting your CV to the right person.
Researching the Ideal Tech Company
Okay, now that we have drilled the importance of understanding the entire recruiting process end to end, let us proceed to researching the technology company you want to work for and some key metrics to aid your search. We know the process of researching a company can be overwhelming and can lead to frustrating moments where you keep reading and reading data but don’t know what to do with it. Hundreds of our Ingenio Learning students have faced the same issue over the last year and that is why we decided to come up with a helpful framework to aid your research. We call this the Ingenio Profile Grid. Normally our students get a personalized worksheet to aid them in this process but for now we shall give you an overview. This method, when applied correctly should greatly simplify your research and give you a clear direction on tailoring your CV for the tech job you are applying for.
The Ingenio Profile Grid asks you what you want from your job search. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the endless cycle of the job search we can forget that there are considerations beyond the job. We want to have a career. Let us explore each aspect. Try your best to visualize and map your previous experiences onto each category. Remember all the internships, group projects, solo work, different work environments you have worked in and map it onto each point. If you are a visual learner here’s the YouTube version of this.
Try to figure out what company you want to work in. It can seem on the outside that all companies follow a same structure, they have a CEO, an IT team, a sales and marketing team, an HR division, etc and that the work culture inside each will be the same. But this is not true at all. Working inside the marketing division of a Big 4 Company will look and feel very different than working inside a high-growth Start-up which just got funded. Their needs are different, their expectations are different, and they both have wildly different targets. If you are confused about where to begin, reading company blogs is a good place to start to understand their work culture. There are two types of tech companies, a product-based company or a service-based company.
Now, once you have determined what type of company you would like to work for, it is time to deep dive into what role you should apply. This is a mix of looking at your past performance and areas of work and where you would like to work in the future. This involves figuring out your personality, your feedback style, what type of work gets you excited, what type of work drains you. At Ingenio we have divided up four major work roles which we actively recruit and help SaaS companies staff employees for.
Sales Team: The Sales team is typically headed by the Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales and are generally responsible for anything connected to revenue. Typical roles are Sales executives, account managers, Sales specialist, customer support.
Marketing Team: The Marketing team is headed by a CMO or VP of Marketing and is responsible for driving all marketing activities for the business. Roles are spilt across demand generation, Events, Field Marketing, Content Marketing and Product Marketing.
Executive Team: The executive team is responsible for running the business and executing the business according to their vision and their strategy. Typical roles are Founders, Owners, Investors & VCs.
Engineering Team: The Engineering team is headed by the CTO and is typically responsible for anything to do with the technology that the company develops and sells. Engineering roles are split across development, testing, UI/UX and implementation. Typical roles are Software Development, Infrastructure, IT Sales & Pre-Sales, Big Data & Analytics, Cyber Security, Audit & Risk and Telecommunications.
Product Team: The product team is typically headed by the CTO and is responsible for anything connected to product development through to lifecycle developments. Typical roles here involve, Product Managers; Project Managers; Program Managers; Business Analysts; Practice Leads.
Support Team: The support team is generally headed by the VP of Customer Success and is responsible for technically supporting clients once they begin using the product or platform. It could be a 24/7-hour operation with multilingual capabilities. Support roles are split across engineering, customer success, problem and incident management and analysis.
Human Resources Team: The Human Resources team oversees handling all things related to people and people management. The roles here are spread across HR specializations like talent attraction and recruitment, talent retention, employee relations, compensation, and benefits.
Finances and Legal Team: This team is responsible for all things Finance and Legal. This team is usually headed by the CFO or VP of Finance. Roles are spread across accounting, budgeting, and forecasting, tax, treasury, credit control, payroll and legal.
Another important aspect of judging the ideal career for yourself is to try to figure out what kind of team structure you would like to work in. All teams are not built equal and even if you have chosen the right company, not researching the right team can make or break your career. Ask yourself some important questions like
Would you like to work in a big team where all the processes and due diligence have been made clear from day one and all you have to do is implement and meet your KPIs?
Would like to work for a smaller team, reporting to just one manager with whom you have weekly feedback calls to understand your career progress?
Would you prefer to work remotely and just communicate with your team via emails?
Asking these types of questions will give you clarity on what type of work environment you will thrive in.
Last but not the least, research on the various salaries and salary ranges for your target job so that you have a realistic view of how much to negotiate for. Lots of data companies release annual reports on salary structures based upon country, role, years of work experience and that should aid you in understanding your career from a financial perspective. Also, try to gain insight into the benefits, place of work and pension plans available for those jobs. The more you read, the better.
Now, we at Ingenio Learning are aware that it takes a lot of looking through the web to find correct information about the standard salaries for a certain job posting and/or a career. While lots of data companies release annual reports on salary structures based on country, role, years of work experience, etc we will be releasing a special SaaS Salary guide soon. Subscribe here to receive it for free in your inbox.
By doing this level of ground research you have already differentiated yourself from all the other candidates who are starting their job search into the tech industry. Don’t worry about being very accurate or having a crystal-clear vision of where you want to work. You are in the beginning stages of your career and its completely okay to be confused and unsure. This is a very common phenomenon all our Ingenio Learning Students go through and through our elaborate worksheet we help guide you through every stage of the process. Use your instincts and experience to guide you on this search. Now, once you have narrowed down the organization/organizations you would like to work in, the type of role you want to pursue, the team you would like to work in and your ideal salary it is time to tailor your CV towards the job.
Writing a CV for that Tech Company
There are four main components to making an exceptional CV that makes you stand out from your competition. These four components are something every recruiter and HR employee is intimately familiar with, and it is what they use as an initial guideline to understand who you are. Let us go over each component in detail. We have a video as well!
While on the surface the Profile part of your CV might seem superficial, it is in fact the first thing a recruiter will read to get a quick glimpse into who you are and where you come from. Just as we stress the importance of making a good first impression in an interview, in the same way your profile should convey the same. You should spend a lot of time on this part of your CV because it essentially deconstructs and conveys your personal background, your career experience, your capabilities, and your interests in 3 – 5 lines. It might seem daunting to try to compress the entirety of your CV into a solid 3 – 5 sentence outline but we have an exercise for you to simplify this.
Record Yourself: Take your current CV and glance through it about three times, each time just noting down the main essentials of your education, your work experience, and your interests. Now try to use this information to get a overall picture of what you want to convey to someone who doesn’t know you. Assume that you will be interviewing for a job at your favourite organization, and you will be meeting the CEO. If he had just met you at a networking event and you had to introduce yourself, what you say? Remember it is vital to record yourself when you try out this exercise.
The first few times you try this, you will feel awkward. Maybe the words don’t seem to come out smoothly or you seem to be stumbling over a complicated sentence. Maybe you hesitate when it comes to speaking about your interests. All this happens to the best of us and is perfectly fine. You are the only one who will be seeing this video. Now, once you are comfortable speaking about yourself smoothly and it sounds good, transcribe exactly what you said and write it down on the profile section of your CV.
Why is this important?
By doing this you have essentially separated yourself from 99% of potential applicants because no one does this. You now have a concrete idea of who you are on a professional level and this will be reflected in your profile. By making sure that the style is conversational you have avoided too much technical jargon and ensured that a potential HR recruiter will understand exactly what you intend to convey. By doing this you have made sure you conveyed the best possible way to tell your story. At Ingenio Learning, we call this “The You Story”.
Pro Tip: Make sure that the profile section of your CV and your LinkedIn profile are exactly the same. This is to ensure uniformity across all your professional documents and conveys a sense of professionalism and personal brand consistency.
When we poll our Ingenio Learning students on their biggest barriers to drafting a good CV, the work experience part always comes up as an important place lots of them struggle with. Some common questions are
- What if I don’t have relevant work experience?
- How do I reframe my part work experience to map on to the current job description?
- How do I know what are the most important criteria employers are looking for?
Here are the two most important things to keep in mind when trying to break into the tech industry.
Internships and Projects
Internships are some of the best ways to showcase your critical thinking skills and work ethics. Hence, any internships/group projects you have worked on in college/university is a great way to showcase your enthusiasm and initiative towards the type of job you are applying for. Most companies offer internships and as a young graduate you ideally have time to apply for them to get your foot in the door. Remember, your current goal is to gain experience, not money. If you do the initial experience part correctly, the money will come. While the struggle is hard, always know that no one owes you anything. Take up internships in the area you want to become competent in whether paid/unpaid.
Another thing you could do is create your own projects to showcase your approach and hone your skills. Here are some examples of sample projects you can do.
If you are applying for a sales and marketing position at a startup, you could analyse their website and create a PowerPoint presentation with suggestions on how they could improve their branding/marketing efforts.
If you are interested in a data analytics position at a mid-tier technology firm, make a report on the most popular products which the company has sold in the last decade, derive some insights and publish it on LinkedIn, tagging the company founders.
If you want to become a graphic designer at a web design agency, then make a pdf document outlining your suggestions for a possible brand refresh/ logo redesign/ website copyrighting samples and email the design team.
Outcomes, Impact & Outputs
One of the biggest mistakes which we see our students make all the time is not focusing on the outcomes of their work experience. Most people, when writing their CV always focus on what they have done and what their day-to-day job looked like. But this is the wrong approach. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you were a barista or a high-level project manager, you have to connect your job profile to the impact you brought to the business. Remember, every successful business out there exists to deliver a good product or service and they are judged by their results i.e volume of sales, annual revenue, stock market price. Most of the time it boils down to a very tangible set of criteria and definite deliverables and outcomes. So why wouldn’t you be judged for the same?
It is very important to connect what you do to a business objective or goal when you are writing the work experience part of your CV. It always surprises us when we see someone spend weeks making sure their CV looks great and has all the keywords but completely neglect this part of their work. And don’t worry, this isn’t just a problem with young graduates. It happens even with mid to senior level employees too. Here are some examples of sentences which convey an impact or output you had while on the job.
Stayed under budget for X quarters/years
Directed a team/group/organization (something difficult to manage)
Trained X new employees
Met deadlines consistently
Cut costs by X amount/% within Y amount of time
Finished sales quota X amount of time early
Received X award/designation
Resolved X internal conflicts
First person to achieve X (or led first team to achieve X) internally/externally
Held a perfect attendance record
Did something that was viewed/used by many people
Even one of these sentences, when used correctly can make sure you have a positive impact on the person reading your CV.
Last, but definitely not the least, people love learning about other people. While this article focussed heavily on researching the company, differentiating yourself from the competition, connecting your previous work experience to the job role, and gaining relevant experience, you shouldn’t forget to show your human side. Remember that you will not only be working with your dream company within your dream team, you will also be having lunch with them. Showcasing your interests in your CV is a great way to show that you are a well-rounded individual with interests outside work. There are multiple things you can mention in that section of your CV. Here are a few examples.
If you love reading, you could mention some of your favourite books or authors.
If you love playing sports, you could talk about your favourite sports teams.
If you love movies and filmmaking, you could mention your favourite movies/documentaries
We at Ingenio Learning know how difficult it can be to break into the tech industry. This is why our Founder, Rob Magee, after working with thousands of candidates decided to roll out our flagship product, The Ingenio Learning Course, for people who want to work in the tech industry. Not only do we deep dive into all the material in this article in much more detail, we also ensure that you get personalized feedback on your career journey. This course is meant for job seekers from all stages in the job search process.
- Visa holders who have limited work/Interviewing experience in UK/Ireland.
- Job Seekers of all levels. From Students to Executives.
- People who have not interviewed or written a CV in a while.
- If you are looking to change careers or move into a different industry.
- Candidates that want to scale the corporate ladder.
- Anyone that wants to earn a better salary.
- People that are looking to take their career to the next level.
- Recent Graduates
We have successfully placed students at lots of well-established tech companies, like SalesForce, Bank Of America, Box, Dropbox, WeWork, Zendesk. 90% of our students get placed within 90 days. Listen to what some of our successful students have to say.
Services Director, Eleven
” It really helped me define exactly what I delivered in my roles, which completely transformed my CV.”
Marketing Data Analysis
”I attended the Course and had a 1-2-1 Career coaching session. I can confidently say that as a direct result of Robs help, I landed my dream job two weeks later, thank you so much Rob’’
Project Manager, Agile
” It helped ensure that I could get my skills matched with the right job. “
We wish you best of luck in your job search. For more informative content sign up for our newsletter. Stay tuned for more career advice from Ingenio Learning.
Platform Experience Associate, Accenture
“I want to share this great news, I have been offered a job at Accenture as a Platform Experience Associate for Whatsapp, and Facebook. I truly appreciate the confidence you showed in me because of which I was finally able to crack this interview. The one-to-one interview really helped me. Thank you so much guys for all the support and guidance. “😊
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Written by Aniket Basu