Tag Archives: job interview

  • Résumé-Building Without a College Degree

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    Some of the tech industry’s leading luminaries—including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg—never graduated college, and still went on to found multibillion-dollar companies. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re applying for tech positions without an undergraduate degree in hand.

    Yes, many tech firms require degrees for certain positions, with no exceptions. And yes, it can often prove more difficult for someone without a degree to complete in an applicant pool against candidates who graduated from college. That being said, it’s not impossible to land your desired position off a combination of certifications, skills, and accomplishments.

    The first step in landing such a position is a well-crafted résumé. If you don’t have a degree, here’s what to emphasize on it:

    Certifications

    Certifications show you’re adept at a particular area. Listing them can help convince an otherwise-ambivalent recruiter or HR staffer that you know the technology behind the offered job.

    Classes and Some College

    Even if you don’t have a degree, chances are good that you’ve taken at least a handful of classes, or even worked your way through a couple years of college. Detail that academic background. If you’re attending classes with an eye toward completing your degree, put down your expected date of graduation.

    Work Accomplishments

    Perhaps you have a lot of on-the-job experience. List as much of it as possible, with a focus on accomplishments and results. Many tech firms place a premium on applicants who have a history of completing complex tasks on a tight deadline, whether or not those people have a degree.

    Previous Projects

    If you’re a software developer who actively participates in online forums and repositories such as GitHub, take a day or two before you start applying for jobs to “clean up” your various public projects. Recruiters and HR staffers often take a look at a candidate’s “outside” work in addition to their résumé; if your coding is particularly impressive, chances are good they’ll weigh that factor heavily when debating whether to set up an interview. Use your résumé to refer to your GitHub page and other online profiles.

    The post Résumé-Building Without a College Degree appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • More Tech Pros Voluntarily Quitting Their Jobs

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    New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that more tech pros are voluntarily quitting their jobs.

    In August, some 507,000 people in Professional and Business Services (which encompasses tech and STEM positions) quit their positions, up from 493,000 in July. It’s also a significant increase over August 2014, when 456,000 professionals quit.

    Voluntary quits are generally a sign of a good economy, hinting that people feel confident enough about the market to jump to a new position (likely with better pay and benefits), if not strike out on their own as an independent.

    For tech pros, things are particularly rosy at the moment; according to the BLS, the national unemployment rate among tech pros has hovered at under 3 percent for the past year, although not all segments have equally benefitted from that trend: Programmers, for example, saw their unemployment rate dip precipitously between the first and second quarters of this year, even as joblessness among Web developers, computer support specialists, and network and systems engineers ticked upwards during the same period.

    If there’s one tech segment that hasn’t enjoyed economic buoyancy, it’s manufacturing, which has suffered from layoffs and steady declines in open positions over the past several quarters. With weakening demand for PCs and other electronics devices, many hardware manufacturers are in the doldrums; on the human side of things, innovations in factory automation have eliminated jobs.

    For those involved in many aspects of consulting and software, though, the good times continue. If you’re a tech pro who intends on jumping to a new job, just remember that it does you no good to burn your bridges when leaving your former position; you never know when you might be back.

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  • Six Tips for Acing Your Panel Interview

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    The panel interview, at some companies, is the last stop in a multi-step search process. Other firms see it in a more informal light, as a way for people within a division to learn a bit more about a candidate. Whatever the approach, a panel is often an intimidating experience for job seekers—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    It’s important to remember that the panel is not an interrogation chamber: You wouldn’t be in the seat if you didn’t already meet significant criteria. For employers, it’s a time-efficient way to bring all the parties involved together for a conversation about what you can bring to the table.

    Here are six tried-and-true steps to making the most of your panel experience:

    Research and Practice

    If possible, prepare by researching each of the people with whom you’ll meet; check LinkedIn and other social networks for profiles and comments that can give you necessary background information. This is an incredibly valuable step: The intelligence you gather will make you better able to anticipate the mood of the interview and inform your approach.

    “Your search may uncover some interesting information, e.g., that they have only been at the company for a short while, which can be a red flag; or that you share people, interests and/or experiences in common,” said Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “If you happen to know people at the company, reach out and ask them if they would be willing to offer insight on any of the individuals.”

    Cohen, noting the sometimes-complicated dynamic of a panel, strongly advised practice and focus prior to going in: “You’re juggling the attention of a number of stakeholders… Be prepared to explain the obvious; why you are there and what you have to offer.” Many candidates neglect to think such things through.

    The Introduction

    “Make eye contact with everyone, and if it makes sense and you can easily reach everyone, shake hands,” recommended Miriam Salpeter, social media mentor, consultant and principal at Keppie Careers. “Don’t rank the people in order of importance based on job title or the org chart pecking order. Consider everyone on the panel important enough to impress.”

    If you’re lucky, someone will introduce you to everyone; but if not, ask for introductions before you start.

    Active Listening

    There is a lot going on at once in the room, so it’s critical you be an active listener and take moment before you respond. “When you show that you are a skilled listener,” Cohen said, “you also demonstrate that you have the potential to be an effective team member.”

    Since multiple people are observing you at the same time, even if only one person is speaking, it’s important to remain aware and mindful of your reactions. “Don’t bounce eye contact all around the room,” Salpeter added, “but work to connect with each person on the panel.” While you may be tempted to focus on those interviewers offering positive feedback, “don’t forget the stone-faced manager who may be the one with all the influence.”

    Mindful Speaking

    A measured response can go a long way. While there’s a right time in an interview for debate, discussion and opinion, candidates need to wait for the most appropriate moment. “You may forget the fact that an interview is essentially a conversation… not a debate and definitely not one-sided. Be patient,” Cohen advised. “Never speak over, or interrupt your interviewers, no matter how excited you may be, or if you disagree, or if they interrupt each other.”

    Always be prepared for your interviewers to drill down, he added: “Your interviewers are carefully listening, too, and while one may be interacting easily, another may be ready to pounce on any inconsistency you present.” While pushback may be inevitable, it’s unlikely to be a deal-breaker if you’re ready and responsive.

    Body Language

    Body language heavily influences how people perceive you. “Don’t let your body language indicate you’re tired or bored with the questioning,” Salpeter said. “Also, avoid slumped shoulders, downcast eyes, remaining expressionless or frowning.”

    Follow Up

    Whether it’s three or 13 people in the room, you must follow up with all of them. If possible, ask the point person who arranged your interview to provide email contacts for each of the interviewers. If it’s a large group, it’s permissible to send a group email. If it’s a handful of people, write individual thank-you notes.

    The follow-up should illustrate that you listened to their needs, challenges and concerns. Reiterate your unique qualifications and how you can meet their wants and needs. “If you don’t follow up to demonstrate your interest,” stressed Cohen, “another, and perhaps, less qualified candidate will.  That is how you level the playing field and beat out the competition.”

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