First-Gens In Tech

Job Search Tips & Takeaways

Thinking about a career in tech? Not quite sure how to navigate the job search process in general? We’re here to help! Check out this checklist for useful tips and tricks that will help you land a job you’ll love.

Career Checklist

A step-by-step plan to get you prepared to tackle a career in the tech industry.


Share everything you write (and code) on a public forum

Today’s tech industry places a lot of weight on real skills and experience. So much so that the internet, in particular coding, has almost created a meritocracy in which tangible skills can equate to a four-year degree in an employer’s eyes.

However, as tech recruiters often say, “If it’s not public, then it doesn’t exist.” If you are  trying to break into the tech industry, it’s crucial that you push everything you ever write/create, no matter how big or small, to the public.

Sharing your work will give you something to talk about in interviews, regardless of your formal education, previous internships, or professional experience in the field. For example, if a potential employer asks “What’s the toughest coding problem you’ve worked on,” or “What’s the top performing piece of content you’ve ever written,” you’ll have real examples you can point to. It’s almost more impressive if you, as a candidate, can talk about something you did just because you were passionate about it, not because it was required for a course or because it was an assigned project.

  • If you want to be a designer, share everything to Behance or Dribbble
  • If you want to be a developer, push everything to either GitHub or CodePen
  • If you want to do content creation, publish a LinkedIn Pulse post or create your own Medium account


Start building your skills

  • Looking to get your feet wet with some basic coding (CSS, HTML, JavaScript, etc)? Check out Treehouse, which has 1,000s of hours of content that will teach you the skills you need to be a programmer.
  • Once you’ve mastered the basics, get even more in-depth tech training through Udacity, the online university, “by Silicon valley,” that will teach you the tech industry skills you need at a fraction of the cost of traditional schools.
  • General Assembly also has great online and in-person classes for those looking to explore design, marketing, technology, and data.


Once you've found an interesting field or industry, target the companies you'd like to work for


Do your research

  • Thoroughly research the companies and the positions you are interested in applying for. Read through these 8 ways to make your job search easier.
  • Scour a company’s Glassdoor reviews to get an insider’s view on what it’s like to be an employee there.
  • Follow the company’s blog and all of its social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat) for the most up-to-date news on the company, its performance, and its people.


Update your online presence (both personal and professional)

  • Read this blog post which summarizes all of the things you should update before your job search.
  • If you aren’t already using one, create a professional email address, and use this tool to automatically generate a professional signature line.
  • Google yourself and make sure the results paint the best possible picture of you.


Leverage your network

  • Check LinkedIn for any connections you have at the company, and don’t be afraid to reach out to 2nd or 3rd level connections. See if you can set up some informational interviews with current employees.
  • Attend networking events hosted by the company or industry-specific events in your area.
  • Eventbrite is a great place to start when looking for these events.
  • If you are in the Boston area, be sure to scour BostInno and VentureFizz

Not sure how to network? Here are some tips if you are new to the game:

  • Here's some tips on how to network like a pro.
  • How to master non-awkward effective in-person networking by reading this article.


Tailor your resume

  • Read this article on how to spin typical college side jobs into legitimate work experiences on your resume. Read this article.
  • Need help figuring out what exactly to put on your resume? Check out this ultimate resume checklist.
  • If you need some inspiration a good place to start is this article on how to write a resume in 7 steps (includes templates).
  • Understand how recruiters will read your resume by reading this article.
  • Does your resume need some tidying up? Check out this article on how to properly format your resume.


Craft your cover letter (or a creative alternative)

  • What should a cover letter include? How do you write one? What are some tips for writing one? All these questions and more are answered in this article.
  • Can't figure out where to begin? Get a head start with some help from this cover letter template.
  • Feeing adventurous? Get some inspiration from these creative cover letter alternatives.


Prepare for the interview

Interview preparation is a crucial part of the job search process. The more you prepare and practice for the interview, the more confident you’ll be, and the more you’ll stand out to the recruiter.

Our Director of Recruiting here at HubSpot, Becky McCullough, gives this advice to candidates:

“Review the job description and come up with specific examples of how you've demonstrated the required skills in your past experience. Dig into our Glassdoor page - there's a wealth of insights on our interviews. Last but not least, practice! Pull some of those questions found on Glassdoor, find a buddy, and conduct a mock interview. It will give you the preparation and confidence you need to perform your best on the big day."

  • Check out this article on how to prepare for your interview in under 30 min.
  • Review these 10 most common interview questions.
  • Get ahead of the game by reading this article on how to nail the first round recruiter phone interview.


Conquer your product interview

Technical interviews are a key part of the hiring process for our product team. The most important advice from our product recruiters is “Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ and ask for clarification. Our interviewers know that you aren’t going to know everything (although we’d love it if you did!) and don’t want to see you fail, so being able to ask the right questions and respond accordingly with some prompting is an important skill for us to evaluate.”


Dress for success, and take a mindful approach to your pre-interview routine

Interview prep doesn’t stop with creating an elevator pitch and deciding what questions to ask your interviewer. It’s important to prepare yourself for success by dressing the part and eating properly before your big debut.

  • Becky McCullough, who leads recruiting for HubSpot, says,“Be thoughtful about choosing an outfit that aligns with your recruiter’s guidance and is something you'll feel both comfortable and confident in.” Get advice on how to choose the proper attire here.
  • Be at your best and check out these tips on what to eat before a job interview.
  • Presentation is everything, especially when it comes to interviewing. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk on how body language and the way you present yourself physically can impact your chances for success.


Ask questions

It’s an instant turn-off for employers if candidates don’t have any questions to ask at the end of the interview. Avoid getting stuck by brainstorming two or three questions to ask as you conclude your conversation with a recruiter or potential manger.


Send a follow-up note

Your work is not finished even when you leave the interview. Create a lasting impression on the recruiters by sending a well-crafted follow-up note that not only expresses your gratitude for the opportunity, but also reinforces why you are the right person for the job


Identify references (at least 3)

If you make it to the final stages of the hiring process, your future employer will almost certainly ask you to provide references. Choose people who will be your best advocates and can speak to the breadth and depth of your experience. Not sure who to choose? Read on for advice on how to decide.

Define success on your own term, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live.

Anne Sweeney

Not sure where to start?

To help you plan confidently for your next five years, HubSpot has launched a career assessment tool called The Next Five. Tell us your interests, strengths, and working style, and we’ll help you identify a next step that’s right for you and your long-term professional goals, in tech or otherwise.

Interested in a career at HubSpot?

If you are looking for a great place to start and grow your career, why not apply to HubSpot?


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