You just graduated from your coding bootcamp and you’re looking for a job? Here is some advice how to find your perfect job and how to increase your chances of getting hired.
Finding the right job to apply
For your first job only two things matter: That you get it and that you can develop your skills at it. While it’s great to have Google or another FAANG company on your CV it’s much, much harder to get in. Getting your first job is hard enough so don’t try too hard to break into this elite circle.
What can you learn at this job?
Scan job ads and companies for opportunities to develop. Does the company run an engineering blog where their engineers share their experiences? This might be a great environment for you to develop your skills further and the company might have a lot of experiences with internal training opportunities.
On the other hand if the company asks for extensive work experience and is extremely articulate high performance you are probably not the right match to hit the ground running.
Focus your efforts on the skills you have already acquired. If you learnt React and frontend development in your bootcamp it makes the most sense to search for jobs asking for React rather than a backend engineer with Java experience.
Manage your efforts wisely
The job search is hard, even more so for your very first job. That’s why you should spend your time wisely. Do not apply for jobs with a clear mismatch in skills and expectations. Also, don’t bother applying at companies without a relevant job opening. You could get lucky but your chances are much better at a company which has already clarified their expectations and built a hiring pipeline.
Increase your chances to get hired after your bootcamp
Hopefully by now you have a handful of job ads ready to apply to. Let’s go through some tips how you can improve your chances of getting hired.
Write a targeted cover letter
Research the company. See what their values are and then trim your application towards that. Most companies have about pages, corporate blogs or Linkedin pages. Try to gauge the culture of the organisation and then present yourself in the same light. Do they mention performance as an important value? Share a story how you delivered great results against the odds in your cover letter. Explain what exactly attracts you to this company and this job.
You should also highlight a memorable strength in your cover letter. Did you solve some intricate technical problem for an Open Source project or did you hold an awesome speech you’re passionate about? Do you have any interesting side projects?
Prepare for the interview process
Writing a fancy cover letter and getting an interview is only the first step. Many companies have multiple rounds of interviews. Find out how exactly that looks. Go research on Glassdoor what other applicants have shared about the company and the hiring process.
Another great way to gather insights is to ask your contact person directly what is expected of the next steps. Not only does that show that you’re really motivated to get the job but often you also get valuable insights: I once asked a recruiter what I could expect during the technical interview and they told me “think small coding tests like recursive fizz buzz and the like”. Guess what I got asked to do? That’s right, recursive fizz buzz 😏.
There might be completely different ways to get information. Maybe you got a calendar invite already with one of the engineers. Go and research that engineer and other engineers of the company. Some people are open to be engaged on Twitter or you might find their StackOverflow profile interesting.
Increase your chances to get lucky
Getting a job always involves luck. Your first job after a coding bootcamp is no different. No hiring process can be extensive enough to make perfect decisions. There is always a component of luck involved to get hired. You can increase your luck by applying the tips from above but the most important factor to increase your luck is to give yourself more exposure to getting lucky. That means: Apply to more jobs.
At this point in career you don’t have too many skills to sell yourself. However, one important advantage can be your flexibility. Don’t limit yourself to only your current location or to remote jobs only. Even if you’re keen on your current home town it makes sense to venture for a year or two to gain some experience under your belt. Software engineering is a global trait and if you look globally you greatly increase your chances of getting hired.
You can do it!
Getting your first job is the hardest. By scanning the job market thoroughly for matching opportunities you can increase your changes to get hired. Write targeted cover letters, prepare for the interviews and advertise what you have: your drive to learn and improve and your flexibility.