STEP 1: Update Your Resume and LinkedIn profile
Make sure it’s up to date. Get a professional headshot for LinkedIn.
STEP 2: List down your dream companies.
You need a plan. You can’t just apply to any job and expect to be noticed. Pick your top 5 dream companies.
STEP 3: Create something until strangers notice
Not just 1 thing. 100’s of things. Create something new every day. Don’t worry about if people will use it or not, that’s not the point.
Don’t think that’s possible? Ask Jennifer Dewalt who created a new website every day for 180 days straight. Yes, every damn day she created something brand new.
One year ago today I sat down and started a project that has changed my life. That sounds totally corny but it’s true. April 1st of last year was day one of my 180 websites in 180 days project and I was super nervous. I had no idea how to code. My computer broke and I was using a borrowed laptop. And I set up this crazy learning challenge where if I failed everyone would see it. Clearly I was nuts. I remember thinking to myself if the project did fail I could call it an elaborate April Fool’s joke.
It can be a software product or even a blog post.
Create something new. Post it on FaceTwitLinkedGoog+ and you’ll be lucky if you even get a few likes and more than 30 pageviews.
Make it better.
Post it all over the web again. Maybe email a few of your friends too.
Maybe this time you’ll get two retweets and 100 pageviews.
Do this 100 times. Actually do it 180 times.
The first time you create something people will show little interest.
The 10th time, your friends will start asking what you’re doing.
The 40th time, your friends will start requesting for you to build something for them.
The 80th time, strangers will start to show interest in you.
The 120th time, strangers will start asking about your career path.
The 160th time, strangers will start offering you jobs.
The 180th time, you will breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing that you’ll probably never do it again, but was worth every minute.
Watch as you level up in your career without even getting a formal promotion.
Something weird happens after your 80th failed project. Somebody asks you for advice. Yes, they are asking YOU for advice.
You have this realization that your skillset is outgrowing your current job. You start looking at your colleagues differently. Then the craziest thing happens. You’re sitting in your normal weekly status meeting and a thought comes to you… “Am I smarter than my boss?”
You discredit your own thoughts because you know that can’t be true.
But, finally it hits you. You ARE smarter than your boss.
It’s a great feeling, but since you know the often used “If you’re the smartest in the room, you’re in the wrong room” quote.
Here’s what happened:
The more you consistently create something from nothing, the better you understand these main points:
- The world is full of people who post inspirational quotes and don’t really create anything from scratch. Hell, they don’t even bother to create the inspirational quotes themselves.
- Anything can be learned with time & effort and minimal financial investment because of the internet.
- Most importantly is that this is something that YOU learned and something that YOU can show as real results. You can talk about the challenges of building and marketing something from a blank slate. No one can take away this experience from you.
Results can make up for a non ivy league education.
Perhaps there’s a reason Google started looking beyond just tier 1 schools
Here is a quote from Lazlo Block formerly Senior VP of Google People operations
To sum up Bock’s approach to hiring: Talent can come in so many different forms and be built in so many nontraditional ways today, hiring officers have to be alive to every one — besides brand-name colleges. Because “when you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people. [source]
Play close attention to how he states that talent can be built in so many nontraditional ways.
Corporate Training is dead
Sure, you will have to complete the training modules, but let’s be real, it’s highly ineffective. It’s “check the box training so you can’t ever accuse your employer of not training you” training.
For example, here is my favorite tutorial on how to draw an owl.
This is basically what training has become.
You are on your own more than ever.
Want to learn something? Do it yourself. The internet has all the resources you need to start. you just have to find the right one’s.
It has never been easier to get into tech
You know why Mark Zuckerberg hired Eduardo Saverin. He needed the money for servers. This was before the “cloud” and servers and storage are expensive.
Now you can create a server in seconds without any huge upfront costs.
I hear the same excuses all the time “I don’t have experience in X so I can’t get a job in Y.”
I don’t know anyone who works for the companies I want to work at.
I’m going to give you one crazy stat.
There are 5 MILLION open tech jobs in the US (PDF).
Five Million unfulfilled jobs!!
This is a big reason why I co-founded a recruiting platform that allows candidates to get paid to speak to recruiters. The demand for great talent is at a crazy high level.
The difference between good and great is that most of the great talent have something that they created on their own. Whether it was a software product, blog or a meetup group. They did something remarkable without asking for permission.
What you create outside of your full time job is almost as important than what you create for it.
When I interview someone I really just ask them to tell me the story of their career and what are some of the tougher problems that they dealt with, how they dealt with those, and how they made decisions are key transition points.
Did they face really difficult problems and overcome them? And then of course you want to make sure that if there was some significant accomplishment, were they really responsible or was someone else more responsible, and usually if they’re a person who has had to struggle with a problem, they really understand it, and they don’t forget — it’s really difficult. You can ask them very detailed questions about it and they’ll know the answer, whereas the person who was not truly responsible for that accomplishment will not know the details. — Elon Musk [source]
The biggest career challenge that most people face is that they want a job that challenges them more. This is a big problem in many establishments big or small.
When you’re on your own creating something everything you do is going to be a challenge. No funds, no resources, no direct experience and most importantly no one to blame except yourself. But when it works, you can take all the credit and you can use that real experience to advance your career.
Throw away your passions. Nobody really cares.
This is where most people fail. They spend all their time trying to find an employer that matches their skill sets. Worse, they actually spend a lot of time trying to find an employer to “give them a chance”.
I’m going to be the bearer of bad news here. No one is going to give you a chance unless it’s an immediately family member who feels sorry for you.
Stop trying to find a the perfect fit employer for your new career opportunity, and instead let them come to you. Let them say “Hey Julie, I have a great opportunity for you”.
So, how do you do this?
Outwork everyone else until you don’t have to. Then step it up again.
There is a reason I didn’t title this article “how to get a job at any tech company in the world while working normal hours”.
The reality is that in order to create new things it will have to be done outside the hours of your normal job. This means nights and weekends.
Keep leveling up until your dream companies knock on your door. They need people like you. They need candidates who have proven results regardless if it was for a fortune 500 company or not.
Need motivation? Ask Gary Vaynerchuck. He has some interesting things to say about work ethic.
Get the job that you want.
I’m not saying you should send the company a shoe to “get your foot in the door”. You don’t even have to spend money on Google Adwords to get your dream job
Results matter more than anything. If you can SHOW what you’ve done, you will see amazing results. People will notice your work as long as you were consistent.
Next time you talk to prospective employer, you can interview them instead of vice versa. It’s safe to say you have a lot of talking points about the work that you’ve done.
About 180 talking points to be exact.
Step 4: Go to networking events.
Don’t forget your business cards!
Actually, just kidding. business cards are dead.
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