Your questions about job applications in tech answered! My interview with Georgene, the CEO of Fairy
I love the conversations we have on Instagram! Remember when I asked you what would you ask a recruiter if you could about job applications in tech? Well, look no further, your questions are about to be answered!
I’ve digitally interviewed Georgene, the wonderful CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss. Fairygodboss is a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, career advice and the inside scoop on companies meet employers who believe in gender equality. Previously she ran the enterprise business at Dow Jones and was a Managing Director at Bloomberg Ventures. She is a graduate of Cornell and Stanford Universities. Best of all, she is obsessed with improving the workplace for women.
I’m super excited about this! So without further ado, here are Georgene’s answers to your questions:
Skills and experience you need
Masha: Does one need a Computer Science degree to apply for a technical role? Or can skills and experience get you through the door?
Georgene: I don’t think a computer science degree is necessary for a technical role. There are so many ways to learn technical skills today outside of a collegiate setting. I think a computer science degree can be helpful if you want to become a developer. But academic computer science is very different than practical day-to-day development work. Moreover, coding bootcamps and workshops can help an individual develop skills and experiences for technical roles. I tend to believe that demonstrating the ability to code and build things is just as important as educational achievements, if not more.
Masha: What’s the perception of coding bootcamps/courses in the recruiting world?
Georgene: I believe the perception is positive, especially for career changers. Again, it’s about your track record and the application of your coding skills. I.e., showing you know what you’re doing.
How to have the best CV’s/ Resumes
Masha: Is it important to list all of the Github projects, hackathons, competitions etc. on the CV/resume for a job application? Do recruiters pay attention to those?
Georgene: I like seeing those things on a CV, personally. I think recruiters do pay attention to those things because hiring managers look. I also think it really depends on your seniority and other experience. For example, if you’re a career transitioner, you may want to highlight all of your projects, hackathons and competitions whereas if you have a long track record, your employment record may be more important.
Masha: What are your top 5 CV/resume tips?
Check your spelling and then check it again. Typos are such an easy way to be automatically disqualified!
Demonstrate a track record of success. Highlight your achievements and brag!
Tailor your resume to the job you are apply for. Be sure to include keywords. Highlight your skills and experiences that fit the role you are applying for.
List your community experiences. Show what you do outside of work. This could be volunteering or professional/social club memberships to the extent you are proud of them.
Include links if applicable to projects, your LinkedIn page and/or your website
Georgene: You have to achieve a balance of both. If you’re not applying to be a designer, then I don’t think anyone expects your resume to be a creative masterpiece. Even if you are, I’ve worked with creatives who prefer simplistic resumes. It’s important for a resume to look polished and professional. But the substance must articulate your experience or the design will be irrelevant.
Make your job application stand out
Masha: What makes a job application or a candidate really stand out?
Georgene: The thing that really makes a job candidate stand out to me is a passion for the role and knowledge of the company for which they’re applying. The ability to articulate why you want to work somewhere is so important. Many people don’t do a great job in this area so if you can do it, you’ll stand out. Be sure you do your homework about what the company does. Devour anything you can find online about employees, the culture and the business plans and strategy of the company.
Make your cover letters genuine but professional
Masha: What about a quirky and unusual cover letter? Does it make a candidate stand out or hinder their opportunities?
Georgene: As long as it’s done in a professional manner that is applicable to the role you’re applying for, it can certainly make you stand out in a good way.
Use a career change to your advantage
Masha: Let’s talk about career changing. How is it perceived? What are your recommendations for someone is requalifying for a software engineering positions?
Georgene: Making a career change can require more work than your average job search. For example, if you’re changing careers, you may have to work on building a new network, earning new certificates or taking classes to learn new skills. That being said, career changing is not that uncommon these days. Engineering positions are in high demand. So I would simply prepare to answer questions about the career change. Be sure to have plenty of answers as to why you’re qualified and interested in software development now.
Masha: What would you recommend for someone who doesn’t have a Bachelor degree, but who wants to work in a technical field?
Georgene: Coding bootcamps and classes are a great place to start. They can be a relatively quick way to gain some credentials, refresh or learn new technical skills. Some of these bootcamps focus on providing career development resources and opportunities to their graduates. If you’ve created great products, websites and applications, be sure to show those off too.
Georgene, you’re awesome ✨Thank you so much for sharing your tips and insights on job applications! I know that my readers will find this information super valuable. If you want more info on switching to career in tech without much experience, check out this post!
Let me know what you guys think! Did this clear some things up?