You’ve got the credentials — now how do you land a job in the tech community?

The tech industry is a fast-paced, exciting field that is creating a positive impact through its work on a global scale. Jobs in the tech sector are some of the most coveted jobs in the market, also making it an extremely competitive field. Are you interested in pursuing a career in tech? Here are some answers from tech industry professionals to some of the most commonly asked questions about landing a job in tech.

Who can work in tech?

There is a common misconception the jobs in tech are limited to coding, developing and other product focused jobs. However, the reality is that while the technology itself is a big focus in the industry, there is a need for a variety of other roles to back that up. There are abundant opportunities in other departments such as sales, marketing, finance, customer support, and other operational roles. No matter what industry you may be in, your skills are likely transferrable to the tech world in some capacity.

What do recruiters look for in candidates?

According to Kim Moore, a talent acquisition specialist at Jobber, when it comes to a job in tech, the most important value that she looks for is the willingness to learn. Tech is a fast-paced industry with something new to learn every day. You may not need to know all the necessary skills going into a career in tech, but you must have the drive to learn as much as you can. Tech recruiters love it when you are genuinely curious about the industry, and you ask questions. They also want you to be open to feedback, positive as well as negative. Moore adds, “being able to accept that, adapt to it, and the grow for there” is hugely important.

Another skill highly valued in the tech world is the ability to be a self-starter. According to Drugbank co-founders Craig Knox and Mike Wilson, being driven to seek answers on your own, and find the inspiration to work is a crucial skill to have. “Most startup companies are trying to do something which has a bigger impact on the world, so being inspired to attempt that is very important,” they add.

What to expect from the interview?

Like most industries, an interview in tech will vary widely from company to company. The first step to a successful interview is research. Try to learn as much as you can about the company, its values, and why you belong there. The one thing that you can expect from an interview at any tech startup is to be listened to. Your interviewers genuinely care about your story and what you have to say—so make sure you say something that sticks. Here are some tips from industry professionals :

  • If you’re on time, then you’re late. You don’t have to show up 15 minutes early but arriving at your interview 5 – 10 minutes early shows you’re prepared.
  • Find out what the dress code at the company where you’re interviewing is, and then dress one step above that. You will never be docked points for being overdressed. The attention to detail and care into your wardrobe choice just shows that you care about the opportunity.
  • Always accept a glass of water — especially if you’re nervous about the interview. If you get asked a question during your interview that you need a few moments to ponder, having a glass of water gives you a chance to take a sip and think about your answer before you respond. As a general tip, don’t be afraid to ask for a moment to think about your answers. Recruiters appreciate a well thought out response.
  • Research the company, their work, and their values. Show that you care about the work that you’re doing. You could have all the skills needed for the job, but if you don’t seem passionate about the company’s work and their values, you’re probably not going to leave much of an impression.

The Resume and Cover Letter

The resume and cover letter are a representation of you before a company has had the chance to meet you. They are an important piece of your job application, that should be well thought out. While recruiters love well-designed resumes, it isn’t a requirement to have a fancy resume. The most important thing for a resume is to make sure it lists any experience that could be related to the job that you are applying for, and it should be free of any typos or spelling mistakes.

As for the cover letter, recruiters enjoy reading cover letters that do more than just repeat things already listed on your resume. Use the cover letter as a chance to talk about why you care about tech and why you think you belong at the startup that you’re applying to. What is it about the industry that you’re passionate about. Recruiters appreciate a cover letter that tells a story. However, they understand that not everyone has the creative ability to do so. Find your own unique spin on your cover letter. If you’re a coder, make an interactive cover letter on Github—that is sure to grab your recruiter’s attention.

When it comes to finding a job in tech, the important thing to remember is that just like any other industry, the recruitment process may vary greatly from company to company. In order to make your job searching process as fruitful as possible, make sure to do your research. Attend networking events such as Demo Camp, Hackathons, relevant Meetups, and other events organized by Startup Edmonton. Don’t be afraid to reach out to current employees and recruiters at the companies that you admire. The best way to learn about a company is by talking someone who works there. Take the initiative, and your efforts will be appreciated!