Top 5 Graduate Tips to Get Your First Tech Job
Chances are you’ve clicked on this because you’re interested in a job in the technology sector. It’s a dynamic and appealing sector with the promise of excellent benefits, challenging but motivational work, not to mention the high salaries. In fact, as of September 2021, there were just under 950,000 people employed in the IT, software, and computer services sector in the UK, and the UK’s venture capital investment is third overall in the world, only behind the USA and China, reaching a record high of £15 billion in 2020!
So, in a fast-growing sector, how do you find a job that will serve as an excellent first step in your career? How do you prepare for the application and interview process when you’ve found what you want to do? Read on to find some great tips on how to get that perfect graduate role!
No. 1 – Read, read, and then read some more
If you’re not sure which specific sector of tech you want to get into, we recommend you do some research about what is available out there, try your university career’s service for some starting points and then figure out what intrigues you, what can you see yourself doing for the foreseeable future. Once you’ve found that, find out what company is leading in that area and find out what their services/products are. It might give you an idea of what sort of services/products you want to build.
No. 2 – Browse around for opportunities
Don’t be tricked into taking the first job you’re suitable for, you should have high expectations and standards for yourself that will not only challenge but excite you, try to ensure that you choose somewhere where you will enjoy your work and will not get bored or complacent. Decide the location of where you would like to work, whether that be back in your hometown or across the UK, or whether you don’t mind relocating entirely! Following that, visit aggregate job boards like Milkround, Bright Network, and us, Humand Talent 😉 and search for jobs that appeal to you around your chosen area. Once you’ve done some initial digging, shortlist jobs where you find yourself getting excited about doing the work they specialise in and would see yourself fitting in the company.
No. 3 – Tap into your network
If the job boards aren’t returning results that you like, consider reaching out and making speculative applications to members of your LinkedIn network, or companies of interest that might not have any opportunities available. According to John Bennett, director of the Master of Science at the McColl School of Business, 70% of jobs are found through personal relationships. Don’t be afraid to send direct messages to developers or managers and ask for a quick cup of coffee to tell them how much you admire their work, you can bring up that you’re looking for a role in conversation and chances are, they’re willing to help direct you to the right places! Even if you have a relatively small network, it’s not too late to grow it! Think about attending networking events at your university or scouring places like Eventbrite or MeetUp for industry-specific events in your area or online. Connect with our consultants on LinkedIn and send them a message about discussing any opportunities or the clients that we work with, send your CV their way so we can keep an eye out for any suitable roles or even send your CV speculatively on behalf of you for free, so you don’t have to do the leg work yourself! That way, you can focus on acing your final assessments and exams!
No. 4 – Perfect your CV
Once you’ve found a list of jobs you want to go forward for, or found companies that you would like to approach speculatively, the next step is a killer CV. It might be tempting to mass send out CVs to hundreds of different companies, but it really is best to tailor your CV to the role you are applying for, this makes it extremely clear for the hiring managers and recruiter to make the connection between your CV and the job specification (they will appreciate you making their job easier for them!). A straightforward way to tailor your CV is to scan the job specification/description for technical terms you can repeat in your CV and make sure you highlight your unique value proposition as a potential hire!
No. 5 – Prepare, polish, and practice your interview
Once you nail your CV, hopefully, the interviews will come rushing in, no need to panic, plan some preparation time and conduct some more research about the person interviewing you and the company’s culture and values. Prepare some answers to some possible questions they might ask you. A tried and tested framework that helps to structure your answers is the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, and Result). Essentially, describe a specific situation you were in, explain the task you had to complete, describe the actions you took to complete the task, and conclude with the results of your efforts, using figures to quantify whenever possible. For any role, it is really important to ask lots of thoughtful questions, it indicates that you’re keen and demonstrates the research that you’ve done. Make sure to also practice with a family member or friend, it will give you the confidence needed to perform your best on the big day!
There’s no better way to appear proactive and desirable to potential employers than knowing your stuff, you’ve spent the last few years or more studying about your field, but you’ll need a good commercial awareness for an outstanding first impression. Make sure you know what they do and who they sell to and find out who their competitors are and what makes them different. What is their USP? You’ll impress your interviewers if you can relate your answers and solutions to the wider business context, you can build this awareness by simply keeping in touch with the news, keeping an eye on new developments and setting up alerts and feeds to what’s going on in that sector. This differentiator can help you to outshine the other interviewees and help you land that amazing offer!
If you are just starting or have been hard at work on your job search already, visit our jobs boards and get in contact with one of our amazing recruitment consultants, they could potentially lead you to your first dream job.