I love the conversations we have on Instagram! Remember when I asked you what would you ask a recruiter if you could about job applications in tech? Well look no further, your questions are about to be answered!
I’ve digitally interviewed Georgene, the wonderful CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss – a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, career advice and the inside scoop on companies meet employers who believe in gender equality. Previously she ran the enterprise business at Dow Jones and was a Managing Director at Bloomberg Ventures. She is a graduate of Cornell and Stanford Universities and is obsessed with improving the workplace for women.
I’m super excited about this, so without further ado, here are Georgene’s answers to your questions:
Masha: Does one need a Computer Science degree to apply for a technical role? Or can skills and experience get you through the door?
Georgene: I don’t think a computer science degree is necessary for a technical role. There are so many ways to learn technical skills today outside of a collegiate setting. While I think a computer science degree can be helpful if you want to become a developer, academic computer science is very different than practical day-to-day development work. Moreover, coding bootcamps and workshops can help an individual develop skills and experiences for technical roles. I tend to believe that demonstrating the ability to code and build things is just as important as educational achievements, if not more.
Masha: What’s the perception of coding bootcamps/courses in the recruiting world?
Georgene: I believe the perception is positive, especially for career changers. Again, it’s about your track record and the application of your coding skills i.e. showing you know what you’re doing.
Masha: Is it important to list all of the Github projects, hackathons, competitions etc. on the CV/resume? Do recruiters pay attention to those?
Georgene: I like seeing those things on a CV, personally. I think recruiters do pay attention to those things because hiring managers look. I also think it really depends on your seniority and other experience. For example, if you’re a career transitioner, you may want to highlight all of your projects, hackathons and competitions whereas if you have a long track record, your employment record may be more important.
Masha: What makes a job application or a candidate really stand out?
Georgene: The thing that really makes a job candidate stand out to me is a passion for the role and knowledge of the company for which they’re applying. The ability to articulate why you want to work somewhere is so important and many people don’t do a great job in this area so if you can do it, you’ll stand out. Be sure you do your homework about what the company does and devour anything you can find online about employees, the culture and the business plans and strategy of the company.
Masha: What are your top 5 CV/resume tips?
- Check your spelling and then check it again. Typos are such an easy way to be automatically disqualified!
- Demonstrate a track record of success. Highlight your achievements and brag!
- Tailor your resume to the job you are apply for. Be sure to include keywords and highlight your skills and experiences that fit the role you are applying for.
- List your community experiences. Show what you do outside of work like volunteering or professional/social club memberships to the extent you are proud of them.
- Include links if applicable to projects, your LinkedIn page and/or your website
Masha: When it comes to CV/Resume, how important is it for it to look good? Meaning Content vs. Design
Georgene: You have to achieve a balance of both. If you’re not applying to be a designer, then I don’t think anyone expects your resume to be a creative masterpiece, and even if you are, I’ve worked with creatives who prefer simplistic resumes. It’s important for a resume to look polished and professional, but the substance must articulate your experience or the design will be irrelevant.
Masha: Quirky and unusual cover letter – does it make a candidate stand out of hinder their opportunities?
Georgene: As long as it’s done in a professional manner that is applicable to the role you’re applying for, it can certainly make you stand out in a good way.
Masha: Let’s talk about career changing, how is it perceived and what are your recommendations for someone is requalifying for a software engineering positions?
Georgene: Making a career change can require more work than your average job search. For example, if you’re changing careers, you may have to work on building a new network, earning new certificates or taking classes to learn new skills. That being said, career changing is not that uncommon these days and engineering positions are in high demand. So I would simply prepare to answer questions about the career change and be sure to have plenty of answers as to why you’re qualified and interested in software development now.
Masha: What would you recommend for someone who doesn’t have a Bachelor degree, but who wants to work in a technical field?
Georgene: Coding bootcamps and classes are a great place to start. They can be a relatively quick way to gain some credentials, refresh or learn new technical skills and some of these bootcamps focus on providing career development resources and opportunities to their graduates. If you’ve created great products, websites and applications, be sure to show those off too.
Georgene, you’re awesome ✨Thank you so much for sharing your tips and insights! I know that my readers will find this information super valuable.
Let me know what you guys think! Did this clear some things up?