Early this morning I got an email from a friend about a new job that his company was GOING to post. they hadn’t even posted it yet! If I was prepared (and qualified) I could probably talk to them and get the job without having to fight against a ton of other people. I was really happy that they thought of me, but I was also really sad. For a few reasons.
- I simply don’t know enough for even this entry level job.
- I don’t have my portfolio in a place where even a soft-sell employer could look at me and take a chance.
- I haven’t been tailoring my studies to skills that employers are looking for.
- This is absolutely the dream set up for a person who has done the three points above.
So this is great, and then it sucks, and then it is great again. I am thankful that someone remembered me and reached out. I am sad that I’m not set up to capitalize on this opportunity. I am going to make plans to never be in the same situation again.
I need to have online documentation showing the best code that I am capable of, even if it means I spend one fewer day per week learning new things. Even if I end up updating it often and I’m not always proud of my oldest projects on it, I can always take them down in the future, but never put them up in the past.
I need to start finding out what employers want in an entry-level applicant and learn that. How do you find that out? Look at the job postings! Those bullet points will now help guide my studies.
Lastly, I need to do more networking and meet more people who might be looking for a hardworking entry level person in the future. Not that I’m trying explicitly to make friends with hr people, but more people in the software industry. And I also need to tell everyone that could help that I am interested in getting help.
Those three things will be a big push forwards in terms of hireability, and they will also help me have a tangible goal to work towards. I have read that (and am guilty of) many beginners will try to master one skill before moving on. That is laudable, but it is much, much slower than only learning the broad strokes and then moving on. The ‘broad strokes’ approach means that a beginner is able to get up to speed on a variety of topics faster, and is then able to decide what is important once they have a better grasp of how the job works. Continually working on the one thing that is holding you back is far better than trying to become an expert on everything.