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A short guide to the perfect job seeker

Sunday February 20th 2022 by SocraticDev

Employers go to great lengths to ensure a perfect match in the recruitment process. But what about job seekers?

The job market has become much friendlier to job seekers. However, it should not be assumed that employers are ready to hire just anyone. Especially for jobs requiring a high level of qualification.

A poor match between employer and employee is a net loss for both parties. For example, a qualified developer will quickly leave a firm asking him to offer telephone support to his users. Or a studio specializing in the web will not know how to take advantage of a programmer who insists on coding only in Cobol (a very old programming language).

Communicating your story - what makes you unique

Be ready to sell yourself. A standard resume is insufficient. Be able to summarize yourself in 10 seconds.

The candidate's first duty is to get to know himself; know their strengths and their identity. It's quick 10 seconds, so cut to the chase: "this is where I come from and this is who I am". Then, make the connection with the position for which you are applying. How are you the ideal person to fill this position?

Warning! your story should be reusable. As part of your job, you often meet new people. Take advantage of these opportunities to hone your self-presentation!

By the way, if you've worked as an exterminator for a while, you can omit this point from your elevator pitch. Unless you want to be labeled as the vermin killer...

Know who you are talking to

Before speaking in public, it is essential to know your audience. Will you be talking to people with a technical background or to non-technical managers?

It is acceptable to ask for the names of people who will be present at the meetings. It is equally acceptable to search LinkedIn.com to discover their backgrounds.

Adapt the way you sell yourself. Put yourself in your audience's shoes. What are their needs? Why are they looking for new talent?

Show off your core competencies

Compared to hyper-specialized technical skills, fundamental skills are worth more. Make sure you don't paint yourself into a corner!

For a developer, the trap would be to be confined to a very specific niche where he excels. For example, we sometimes see developers defining themselves as .Net developer. Is having only worked in the Microsoft ecosystem really an advantage over a more flexible developer? Being able to adapt to the technological tools used by different organizations is a strength.

Fundamental skills will allow you to learn and master the technologies used in your new job more quickly. For example, this organization uses a different cloud provider than the one you are used to using? No problem because you know the basics of cloud computing and you will quickly be able to locate equivalent resources in the new ecosystem.

examples of fundamental computer skills

  • algorithms and data structures
  • object-oriented programming
  • OSI model
  • SOLID principles

Truly foundational skills

Beyond technical skills, soft skills are probably the quintessence of skills.

Are you able to collaborate well with others? How do you react to complex or problematic situations?

No non-trivial project can be completed by a lone wolf developer. You will therefore have to work with other developers, business people, and even customers.

Be prepared to explain, using past experiences, how you have achieved success despite the difficulties inherent to the complex projects in which you have participated.

communication

We talk about communication in many ways. For me, the biggest communication challenge is listening. I confess that I often have the reflex to talk more than I listen. Sometimes even cutting off my interlocutor. Of course it is a sin, but as soon as we become aware of the importance of communication. Each exchange with others becomes an opportunity to improve.

empathy

Knowing how to put yourself in another person's shoes is a quality called 'empathy'. Once you have mastered your 'elevator pitch', focus on that of your partners.

"You can observe a lot by just watching." -- Yogi Berra

The purpose of the interview, for both parties, is to determine if this is a perfect match. Will the employer's needs be met by the candidate? Will the position and the organization allow the candidate to achieve their personal goals and career goals?

Thus, one must listen to the other party with perfect attention.

What is said and what is not.

For example, if the recruiter only talks about the benefits of the position: vacation, insurance, etc. We have to wonder why we are not told about the technological challenges of the position as such. (Of course, if the nature of the job doesn't matter to you and you're just looking for a position that allows you to be on vacation often, then this is a perfect match...)

Do your research on the organization

The candidate must inform himself about the organization for which he is applying. What is their area of ​​business? Who are its main customers? Who are its founders? their story?

Usually a quick read of the organization's website is enough to prepare you.

Ask questions

A candidate asking questions is a sign of a candidate interested in the role offered.

Have a bank of questions to ask your interviewer. The course of the interview will allow you to determine, in the heat of the moment, which are relevant to ask.

This is a crucial time to determine if the organization is a perfect match for your expectations.

Make sure you have your bullshit detector turned on. If an answer is vague or if it is corporate jargon, it is acceptable to politely mention to the other party that their answer does not satisfy you.

Choosing to move forward is too big a decision for your life. It is wiser to pass if the first contacts do not satisfy you.

Practice practice practice

It is by interviewing regularly that you will become better.

Don't wait until you're unemployed before taking action.

There is nothing unfair about discussing with recruiters the needs of the organizations they represent. This allows you to have an adequate portrait of the labor market for your profile.

Of course, the media repeat that employers are snapping up employees. But this is a general portrait of the job market. Are all these positions to be filled roles that will allow you to flourish? I do not believe.

As you gain experience, the range of roles that may be suitable for you narrows. You know more and more the reality of the sector. You have more specific selection criteria and objectives.

Don't miss the chance to land a role tailored to you!

suggestion

The weekly podcast Soft Skills Engineering is an endless source of information and advice on jobs in the software development industry.

The podcast hosts have also created a small virtual community on Slack.

It's worth it.

Translated from french by google translate