So you’ve finished school and are preparing to enter a new career in the tech job market. How can you stand out against a sea of candidates with similar skills and resumes? Today we’ll give you a brief intro into how hiring managers distill down to who is hirable, talented, and worth taking a risk on within a saturated market.
Due to an influx of bootcamps and online schools entering the market, UX designers currently oversaturate the field. Other fields like web development and Data Science may soon experience the same influx of talent, making the field more competitive. This means there are significantly more candidates than jobs in some areas. Recruiters are often overwhelmed with applications and must be efficient in vetting the experience and skills on your resume.
1. Use honest language in your resume. You may be confused about what to list as school and as work experience since school projects for real clients often blur the lines. Hiring managers will know you are fresh out of school and a resume bogged down in semantics will not have as much return, so keep it simple.
2. Create connections. Your resume and portfolio act as a baseline for your skills, but everyone new to the field will look identical on paper. Applicants should expect that competitors will also submit school and freelance projects, articles, case studies, or even Youtube videos to grab attention. So stand out by creating relationships and network your way into a company. Get on the phone and meet professionals, start organically interacting online, or find a mentor. Recruiters and professionals are more likely to hire or help you find employment when they know who you are. Start today by looking for a meetup group of tech professionals, asking an alumni to coffee, or commenting on content a professional posts on LinkedIn.
During the vetting process, hiring managers will be evaluating your technical skills in addition to your honesty and character. Here are three qualities recruiters look for in your journey through the hiring process:
1. You Don’t Need All the Answers. You many be eager to impress in your interview, but remember that success in the tech industry is more dependent on your problem solving skills than it is on how much you know. Instead of guessing the answers to tough questions, be honest about not knowing and instead walk the interviewer through your thought process and how the answer could change in different case scenarios. Discuss what you need to find out to reach a conclusion. Above all, be curious and show how you will take others viewpoints into consideration as you form a conclusion.
2. Tell a Story. You might have all the technical skills in the world, but if you can’t communicate how you went from Point A to Point B on the project, you won’t earn the trust and confidence of your hiring manager. Make a habit of verbally walking through your projects. The better you become at articulating your thoughts, the easier it will be to identify where problems went wrong. This is crucial for efficient and effective work, will add value, and will increase buy-in from your future company.
3. Master Patience. You are at the beginning of a long career filled with lifelong learning. Learn to accept feedback now as a tool to continue your professional growth rather than pushing back against it as an attack. Your projects and clients will require collaboration and learning, so be prepared to show you are willing to put in the hard work and walk a steady pace toward the titles and promotions that will come.
Be prepared for hiring managers to ask interview questions that may throw you off balance – and these questions may not be what you’d expect. Questions may be rephrased and asked again insinuating the interviewer was not listening, for instance, to determine how you treat others when you feel frustrated or unheard. Other questions may be purposefully complicated and designed to see how you handle yourself. Remember that you can demonstrate your comfort level with these tricky questions through your body language and by taking your time and answering honestly. Hiring managers will find your confidence and candor refreshing, and will be more clearly able to see how you will fit into a team.
I hope the information I’ve shared in this post helps you better prepare for the job search ahead and will give you the confidence to shine.
For more tips on helping your resume stand out to recruiters, check out Dillon Winspear's full Brownbag lecture below:
Dillon Winspear is the Mobile UX Lead at Domo, Inc., and a UX Instructor at Lambda School. He graduated from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Business Marketing but specialized in Graphic and Web Design. Connect with him on LinkedIn.