According to statistics from Cyberstates, in 2018 there were 3.7 million job postings for tech occupations. But, because tech jobs are so popular and sought after, there’s a lot of competition. With no work experience, you might be wondering how you can impress a prospective employer or even have your resume chosen for an interview. If you don’t have any previous tech experience to list on your resume, it doesn’t mean you can’t impress the tech employer of your dreams.
No experience? No problem. Here’s how to land your first tech job.
1. Network online and offline.
If you want to get noticed by potential employers and make some connections in the tech industry, you need to put yourself out there. Meeting people who are already in the tech industry is a great way to build up a name for yourself and get leads on tech jobs before they’re posted online.
First, spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are often on LinkedIn, so make sure your profile stands out and includes relevant skills for the job you want. Next, build an online portfolio on a site like GitHub, where you can show off your skills and interact with others in the industry. You could also make a website of your own and start blogging to drive traffic (including potential employers) to your site.
Get out from behind your computer screen once in a while by attending IRL (in real life) networking events. Search for upcoming tech meetups, conferences, and hackathons in your area. If you can make meaningful connections with industry peers and professionals, the job will come to you.
2. Boost your skills with online courses.
Just because you’ve finished your studies, doesn’t mean you should stop learning. If you want to land your first tech job and be successful in the future, you need to make lifelong learning a priority. Especially in tech where everything is changing all the time, it’s important to keep up by learning new things constantly.
Keep up-to-date with industry news and trends by following popular blogs and publications. You can also take a look at job boards to find out which skills employers are looking for. If you don’t have one of the skills they list as a requirement, spend some time learning how to master it. Using the internet, you can find information on any skill you want to learn. Look up the topic on tech forums, search for YouTube videos about it and find out if there are free online courses you can take to boost your skills. If you spend time learning and practicing new skills, you’re bound to stand out from the other junior tech candidates that are applying for the same position.
3. Build your own projects.
If you want to impress potential employers you can’t just talk about what you know, you have to show them what you can do. Displaying your work instead of just talking about the skills you have will put you ahead of the competition. You can start by contributing to open source projects, or you can take it a step further by building your own projects.
The projects don’t need to be complicated. For instance, you could build a simple, free mini-app and try to get it on Product Hunt to create a buzz and get it noticed. An example of someone who did this successfully is Jon Chan, who got his first salaried job as a developer by building his own projects, including Bento. He’s now a principal developer at Stack Overflow. Treat your own projects like jobs and you’re sure to impress potential employers.
4. Take on freelance tasks.
A great way to get a bit of real-life experience before landing your first tech job is by taking on small freelance tasks. This will give you some insight into what you need to succeed in your future tech position, and will also allow you to make a little extra cash on the side. Plus, it will give you the chance to work with someone else instead of working independently all the time, which is beneficial since teamwork is an important soft skill in the tech industry.
You can check out freelance platforms like Upwork or Guru to get started or offer your freelance services to your network connections or even former employers. Once you tackle a few small freelance tasks, you can move on to more complicated ones to really build up your experience.
Rock your next tech interview.
Don’t let your lack of job experience hold you back from your dream job. You have the ability to take things into your own hands and become the star candidate that tech employers are looking for. Using these tips for how to land your first tech job, you’ll have the expertise you need to rock your next interview and secure the tech position you want.