Getting started in the technology sector
You’ve just spent near on 3 years (4 years if your doing a Sandwich degree) at University, there is the constant barrage of you now need to find work and in a world filled with graduates with degrees in computing, business systems and other technology sectors it can make it difficult to find work. Add to this the employers themselves who may not be willing to give you the opportunity due to a lack of commercial experience within the technology sector, it’s a problem which even our director had.
Believe it or not it is an issue that is faced not just by graduates but also by employers themselves. As a small business finding the right talent for the job is difficult. We have to fight off competitors who are also in the market to find someone with fresh skills, techniques, abilities and knowledge of the technology sector.
So how do we distinguish ourselves from our competitors? We draw on our core values of being first, a can do attitude, honest and appreciate honesty, be committed and take pride in what we do, from the word go, we’re a strong believer that if you have these qualities you are already half way there.
So how does a fresh graduate or entry level person bring him/herself up to scratch? We wish we could give you a very straight forward response, the truth is there isn’t a magic formula that will nail you for that job, however there are a couple of techniques that you can try.
Keep your feet on the floor
This may seem like common sense, but you have got to keep your feet firmly on the floor. Often employers get sent hundreds of CVs from Junior developers and fresh graduates, they even have people walk in with their CV applying for various roles that require 4 or even 5 years of commercial experience.
There is nothing wrong with aiming high, but applying for a job at a level which is beyond your experience will tell the company your applying to that you don’t really have a grasp on what’s involved at that level within the technology sector. You will also become known to that company and this may hamper your ability of finding the right role.
So ensure the role you are applying for fits both the qualifications and your won technical know how.
Build up a portfolio
As a student, yes believe it or not we all were there once, a lot of people used to go out every night, whether it be pool and snooker night or cowboys and Indian evenings. The issue, apart from you giving your liver a kicking, is when you leave University apart from your shiny degree certificate, A levels and a part time job what else will you have to show for it?
Sure if you do a sandwich degree you will gain a years experience and there were instances when students went on their year outs and didn’t return for their 4th year.
But what will you have to show for it? The trick here is build up a portfolio of businesses that you have worked for, whether it be a new website you have designed, or a branding strategy that you have developed. Building up a portfolio will distinguish you from the rest and will also show your potential employer that you are more than just an academic.
It also shows a level of enterprise, a lot of employers like that, think how they started out.
Apply for a job which may not excite you but enhance your skills
After leaving University, even our director found himself in jobs which didn’t excite him but they enhanced and developed his own skill set. Some of you are already saying, “apply for a job you love”. Whilst this is a fantastic response, it is better to apply for a job that may not excite you but will enhance your skills.
The reason behind this is it will give you experience in a different role, and will diversify your own skill set. If you’ve got a degree in computing, that covers a lot of areas from web development and software application through to testing and beyond.
Diversifying your skill set will show an employer you are not just a one trip pony and that you are not frightened to take on the laborious jobs even if they don’t excite you.
Be interesting and interested
In a world where we are all connected by 5 or less connections the chances are your future employer will already be known to a friend, relative or business associate. Get yourself registered on LinkedIn or even start a blog, talk about more than just what went on at last nights foam party.
Demonstrate your skill set, your thoughts and opinions on the latest technology, include links to credible sources and start interacting with people on all the social media websites. This will help to build up your own contact base and it will also give you something different to show your employers.
How many students have a website these days? Probably not many but having a presence and a following online will show that you have used your own initiative and will demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the technology sector.
Essentially, get yourself out there, we’re not necessarily saying pop along to your local business network, unless you fancy a very early morning and a bacon sarnie of course, but certainly getting yourself out there earlier will give you an advantage over your peers.