Interview Tips for All Recent Grads Who Want to Work in Tech

June 8, 2016

6:00 pm

As a recent grad, you’ve probably been plagued for the past year or two with talk of the “dismal” job market you’ll face in your upcoming search for full-time employment. Although the tech sphere can be a bit competitive, the truth is that if you’ve chosen a tech-based specialty, talent in your area of expertise is more than likely in high demand. The trick is setting yourself apart from the rest in an employer’s pool of qualified candidates.

If you’ve got the experience, education, and talent employers are looking for, their final decision on whether or not to hire you will boil down to how you perform in your interview. Interviews can be a bit intimating, but they’re an incredible opportunity to show employers what you’re truly capable of. Here are six of my top tips to help you land your first role in the tech industry.

1. Bring Experience-Based Work Samples

Professors tell you that the projects they assign will make a fantastic contribution to your portfolio in the future. The truth is, if your class didn’t actually work with a real client to create something that currently functions and performs for real users, employers won’t care about it. This means you’ll need to find ways to get your hands dirty and start creating on your own.

For example, if you’re looking into a role in digital marketing, create a blog or seek out freelance work to get the experience employers will be looking for. If you find that you’re having trouble getting work on your own, maybe try a few tips from this guide to start promoting yourself.

Real-life experience will always prove more valuable than simple classroom assignments that served no other function than to determine your grade.

2. Provide an Online Portfolio

This one should really be a no-brainer for techies, but it’s worth mentioning. If you don’t have an online representation of your work, it’s time to create one! Sites like Wix and Squarespace make this fairly simple and cost effective. Start by picking a design that represents who you are, but isn’t so distracting that it detracts from the site’s content. Make sure your site includes links to where your best work can be found online, and be sure to purchase your domain name to avoid labeling the URL with the name of your CMS of choice.

3. Dress for the Culture

Although your interviewers will be focusing on your skills and personality to determine whether or not you’ll be a good fit for the role they need to fill, what you wear to your initial meeting will play a big part in determining their first impression of you. The problem is, tech companies can be all over the place when it comes to their spoken or unspoken office dress code.

To get a better idea of a potential employer’s typical office wear, check out their social channels. If you do your research and still find that you’re at a loss, stick to the basics. Avoid stand out patterns and keep statement colors to a minimum. Opt for watches and jewelry that reflect your personality, but don’t steal attention from what you have to say. When in doubt of accessories, just stick to a watch. This can serve as a subtle statement piece. If you have a sec, check out this fun infographic to determine the best watch for your personal style.

4. Get Creative with Your Resume Design

Even if you’re not a designer, employers in the tech sphere will expect you to have a visually appealing resume. Sure, your standard resume builder could work, but you’ll need something a bit more creative if you want to stand out among other tech talent. In addition to your standard resume, consider doing something interesting to illustrate your experience like creating an infographic or even just a custom designed resume that goes beyond experimenting with fonts and personal brand logos. Check out examples of interesting resume designs online for inspiration, then use a program like Canva or Piktochart to create a unique resume of your own.

Hopefully these tips will help you as you go out and interview for your dream job in the tech world. If you’ve got a few tips of your own, please share them with other readers in the comments below!

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Cosette is a freelance writer and digital lifestyle expert with the goal of helping readers simplify life and work using affordable tech tools and apps. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, snowboarding, and traveling.

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