What A Manager Wants to Hire

babyrageGet ready for another rant!babyrage

When you apply for a job in the professional world, what are some things you might write on the resume you send, or say to the hiring manager if you get the chance?

I am passionate about (insert industry skill)

I work well in teams and independently (or something along those lines)

I understand and have experience in the entire project’s life cycle

Sound familiar? That’s because I’m sure you’ve said or written at least one of these before. Are these inherently bad things to say? Absolutely not.

Q: Which one of these statements could easily be said/written by a random person who might be faking it?

A: All of them!

What I’m strongly hypothesizing is that your application isn’t popping off the page. It’s not standing out to the hiring manager in the least.

zzzz_

Try your hardest to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes: What do they want to hear about YOU?

Chances are, if the recruiter is online looking through resumes instead of hiring their co-workers cousin, they’ve read at least a hundred resumes from people who ‘are passionate about (insert industry skill)’

Q: Who do you think you’re competing against for the job?

A: Lot’s of passionate, hard working, team players etc. etc. etc.

I recently came across some knowledge from a Bloc mentor Mark Carpenter in a group session he was teaching about job searching. Paraphrasing one of the points he made was that employer’s look for more than the obvious minimum qualifications (like a degree or particular industry skill):

  1. Proof of passion – Notice I didn’t say passion. Who’s a manager going to hire, a passionate individual, or a passionate individual with projects done on their own time/dollar to prove it?
  2. Attitude and Personality – Who is this person really? Are they curious to learn more? Do they love what they do or do they just want a paycheck? Can they take criticism and turn it into improvement regardless of who it’s from? Will they be pleasant to work with? Answering  these are absolutely critical to success in any professional environment.
  3. Above all else: YOUR EMPLOYER CAN NOT AND WILL NOT WANT TO CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE.

Let me say it again in case you missed it:

Your employer can not and will not want to change your attitude.

  • This means having a positive, charming, professional, pleasant demeanor even in the face of disaster.
  • This means helping the inexperienced (or plain lazy) folks when they need it, without complaining or shifting the responsibility to someone else. Ideally without your manager making you.
  • This means getting more work done than needed (because you can).
  • This means staying late to ensure a project is finished on time.

Beyond this list is a company’s mission and goals, and I highly recommend you research them in advance. Aligning with these can be the difference between top candidates.

That being said, you should still try to meet basic job requirements, especially if your blindly applying online. Don’t throw them to the wind.

More important side notes:

  • I did not talk about it because it should be obvious: it’s not about you, it’s about the company. Think about what you can do for the company.
  • Recruiters are people too! They don’t want to disappoint their manager/supervisor by referring a person that doesn’t look like a good fit.
  • Make your resume short and sweet. If an employer wants to read more, they can contact you, and they will. One page is a great limit in my opinion. Not going into resume structure, but you can google this pretty easily.
  • Talk about and provide proof to your passions/hobbies, not just your work experience. This goes along with what I said earlier.

 

 

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I will be posting again soon about my experiences with the React.js library, so stay tuned!

Becoming a Developer – Bloc or Udacity?

Bloc.vs.udacity

My Experience: The Pros and Cons

If you’ve been following this blog or perhaps my Facebook, you may be aware that I chose to switch careers last November, from laboratory project management to full-stack web development. I love code and I love what I’m doing!

I started by completing Udacity’s Intro to Programming Nanodegree to get a basic understanding of code. I very much enjoyed it, but upon completion I felt I was still a long ways from my career as programmer. Though I liked Udacity, I was curious to see what other academies existed that offer similar services. This is when I began comparing side-by-side costs, and gathering reviews from verified graduates. My top two choices were Udacity (still) and Bloc.io. I eventually chose Bloc, but was almost simultaneously granted a Scholarship through Google to study font-end web development through Udacity.

Since I am now enrolled in both programs for over a month, I figured I would compare and contrast the two programs, their strengths, weaknesses and some other highlights of each for the benefit of anyone who might be considering a career switch. Even if you’re already working in software and curious about which will help you sharpen your skills, read on! If you are a staff member of either company, please note I am writing this as objectively as possible – I really have had a great experience with both programs.

Bloc’s Part-time Web Developer Program

Pros:

  • Content is very forward-thinking, and focused on getting you to a professional career.
  • Content is updated regularly to reflect industry standards. Also very important if you want to be employed in the field.
  • Reliable job offer guarantee. Be sure to read the terms and conditions.
  • 1 on 1 mentor-ship, weekly. This helps a lot if you are stuck, or want to know about what concepts you will need to use in the field, job interview questions, etc.
  • Great support on Slack. Instructors actually visit the slack channels and provide feedback.
  • Dedicated career services team

Cons:

  • Price – 4 payments of $2125 or $7500 up front. By far the most expensive program out there. Ideally you get what you pay for, and landing a good job might negate this.
  • Content can be out of order, confusing, or otherwise incorrect.
    • I’ve been told this is because they update everything very frequently as the industry changes
    • Examples: I have run into grammar/syntax errors, or tables containing the wrong section’s content.
  • As a result of the previous point, you might need to do more independent studying to ensure you can pass the ‘checkpoints’ in the curriculum.

Highlights:

  • Getting face-to-face career advice from those already employed in the field on a regular basis. I feel reassured knowing that I’m putting my time and money in the right direction and not down rabbit holes.

Udacity’s Front-End Nanodegree

Pros:

  • Visual. Very visual. Lots of media, gifs, and instructional videos embedded throughout the course offering a virtual classroom feel. Very helpful for me as a visual leaner.
  • Content is clear, concise, and written so a newbie can understand it easily. Sections are organized in a way that makes sense from a learner’s perspective.
  • Price – $199/month Definitely the cheaper of the two programs, assuming  you stay on track which is not difficult. I received a scholarship for the first 3 months so I am paying nothing at the moment.

Cons:

  • Not much interaction from staff/instructors. A lot less than most people expect. You might have a ‘mentor’ but they likely wont respond immediately, mine actually never did. Ideally you are self-motivated anyways so this shouldn’t matter.
    • There are instructors active on Slack, but they only check in from time to time for announcements or office hours. The slack community is great, but only worth as much as the effort you put into it.
  • Less focused on getting a career in the field and more on education. Udacity used to have a job-offer guarantee on their Full-Stack Nanodegree, but have since removed this option.

Highlights:

  • Udacity has been very easy for me to get lost in, in a positive way. Their content is engaging and can quickly suck you in, even if you’re totally new!