Monday, August 22, 2016

How to get noticed

While I'm talking about resumes, I wanted to share this brief article at FastCompany: I Hire Engineers At Google—Here's What I Look For (And Why) by Keawe Block. It's an interesting read, especially if you are a student looking for your first job. Block shares these four lessons in job searches:

1. Don't disqualify yourself.
From the article: "Recent experience has taught us that we can find great tech talent in a much wider range of places than previously thought. For one thing, there are far more qualified college applicants than there are spaces for them at top universities. And for another, computer scientists aren't always aware of their talent for coding by the time they’re 18 and have to declare a major." Even if you don't think you're a 100% perfect fit for the position, it's worth applying for anyway. Your different background and unique perspective might land you the job.
2. Show what you can do, even if you didn't learn it in school.
Brock explains, "Yes, engineers need to be able to code. But we're interested in hiring actual people, not machines. So on your resume, instead of listing your GPA (which we no longer use to determine candidacy), give us details about your experience at hackathons, coding competitions, or programming assignments at work. Just because it isn't an academic credential doesn't make it any less relevant. Not only does this create a more textured portrait of your abilities, it’s a great way to prove your engineering chops if you majored in sociology, for instance."
3. Get ready for coding exercises.
If you are applying for a technical job such as a software developer, you should still expect to do the typical coding exercises. These might be on a whiteboard, and usually involve some simple task. It's amazing how much you can learn about a person simply by asking them to write a sample program that sorts a list of numbers, or to write a program that counts 1 to 31 and prints "foo" for every number divisible by three, "bar" for every number divisible by five, "set" for every number divisible by fifteen, and otherwise print the number. These are trivial 1000-level computer science quiz questions, but if you can't answer that in an interview, you won't get a job there.
4. Remember what got you noticed in the first place.
Avoid impostor syndrome. Many of us get this when we first change jobs, which can be crippling during an interview. "Do I really belong here? Am I really qualified?" Yes, you are qualified. You do belong here. From the article: "Some newly hired Googlers experience it when they first step on campus, and sometimes it crops up periodically during their tenures. While this is a completely normal response, it's a counterproductive mind-set while you're gunning for a tech position. I've seen it get the better of candidates and completely derail an interview."
image: FastCompany

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