A bunch of career tips that only comes from asking questions
After I missed getting a post-internship offer, my goal of graduating with a job offer was in danger. I buckled down to apply to a bunch of jobs, Googled tips copiously and visited my college's career office nearly every week throughout my job applications to refine my resume.
Since I started applying for jobs last September, I have got a job offer well before graduation, my resume got past Stripe's, Google's and Facebook's resume screening, and I have over 500 connections on LinkedIn. Here's all of my tips:
1) Organize/volunteer for at least two community tech events. Bonus points if it is diversity-focused. Many tech companies are investing manpower and funds into expanding diversity, plus the project management experience wins you brownie points as well.
2) Work hard (or smart) enough to win at least one academic-focused/merit-focused award i.e. best project in the module, scholarship, study award.
3) Network, network, network! Get a better idea of the field you want to join, get people's namecards and connect with them on LinkedIn whereever possible. Ideally you can leverage on these connections for a referral when you apply to their company - crucial for huge competitive tech companies like Google and Facebook.
1) Unless you are submitting your resume to a recruiter and bypassing the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), skip making your resume/CV #aesthetic . No quirky graphics, no visual ratings - just text. Ideally your resume should be just one column because ATS/resume scraper bots don't work well on multiple columns.
2) Emphasise your achievements. Most people claim that students should put Education above Wrk experience, and vice versa for experienced workers. This is a good rule of thumb but if you are a student who interned at a big company, or you run a fairly successful tech hustle, it may be a good idea to put Worl Experience above Education.
3) Your Skills section should have at least some, if not all, of the required tech skills from the Job Description. This is just to check if you have the necessary skills.
4) Always try to include a cover letter, even if the job description says it's optional and UNLESS the job description explicitly says not to include cover letter. My simple three-paragraph structure is as follows:
Para 1: Brief self-intro and what sparked your interest in the company. Ideally mention the names of employees you've met, otherwise mention the company's recent achievements or developments.
Para 2 & 3: Further explain one tech and one non-tech experience from your resume, better if it's an experience/achievement outside your resume. Try to link it with what the company believes in i.e. do your company research.
5) Triple-check your resume and cover letter for typos before uploading or submitting ANYTHING. I once realised I should have written "Passionate about Software Engineering" instead of Passionate about Software Engineer". Some recruiters don't care about typos, some will toss your resume if there are.
1) Most people practise more than 100 questions on Leetcode from all three difficulty levels. You should focus more on medium-hard if you are going for Google/Facebook.
2) Ideally your approach can be: break down the problem, figure out your approach before writing any code, code your solution on Google Docs/paper, check for typos, run in the compiler and test-debug until yoy get it right. Try to complete this within 20 - 30 min for each coding problem before looking at the solution.
3) Verbalise your thoughts even if you are not doing a mock interviews - just to practise and get used to doing so. Example: I tend to stutter alot when I think too fast. Verbalising my thoughts has made me more aware of how coherent I sound.
4) Naive/brute-force is always better than NO solution at all. After you get a naive solution, figure out how you can improve the complexities and refactor your code if needed.
5) Recognise PATTERNS in the questions you solve, and how to solve each pattern. For eg: Optimisation (coin change combinations, max profit for given weight) --> dynamic programming. Sorted lists/trees --> binary search. Shortest way --> BFS. BFS --> use queue, DFS -> use stack
6) After you get past the resume screening, some companies will email you what coding interviews will be testing, and even suggested learning/practice resources. Use them if you can.
7) Look at coding inteviews as a conversation to solve a problem. Be chill, polite and friendly to the interviewers as if they are your good friends. No good interviewer would want you to fail.
That's all the tips I cant think off at the moment. Do comment if you have some of your own below!
#leetcode #resume #coverletter #codinginterview #career