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How to get the tech job of your dreams



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How to get the tech job of your dreams

  1. 1. How to get the tech job of your dreams Vangelis Bibakis @ Joomla day Greece 2013
  2. 2. About your speaker Founder: CTO: Creator of: MainframePHP & many micro web apps @bibakis
  3. 3. What we’ll talk about today 1. The right job 2. Pre-work 3. Common CV mistakes 4. Getting your cover letter right
  4. 4. 1. The right job Let’s debunk some myths first Myth #1 “Somewhere there is a perfect job”
  5. 5. 1. The right job “The perfect job is software consultant in a tropical island where you get to go in one 10 minute meeting every week and you make 1.000.000 € per month”
  6. 6. 1. The right job But really a great job is in a company where… • Tech is the main focus • Projects are interesting • The boss is a geek • You work normal hours • Your work is valued • You are paid well
  7. 7. 1. The right job Myth #2 “Google and facebook are great employers”
  8. 8. 1. The right job The truth: • Big companies are the place where talent goes to die • Politics and “power games” kill your creativity • In a big company you are a replaceable cog in a 5.000 people machine • Great tech is born outside the cubicle
  9. 9. 1. The right job Evidence: The “real” mission statement of big companies: • Google: “We love monitoring people!” • Apple: “In our own opinion we are so incredibly amazing!” • Microsoft: “The best browser is Internet explorer!” • Facebook: “Poke !”
  10. 10. 1. The right job Evidence: • Name one Apple developer or one Google designer • Great tech is born in the free world: Linux, PHP, Ruby, C, Rails, Node.js, World Wide Web, Personal computing, Git, MySQL, NoSQL, App stores
  11. 11. 1. The right job So what’s some great places to work ? • 37signals • Demian Labs • Fog Creek • Valve
  12. 12. 37 Signals
  13. 13. Demian Labs
  14. 14. Valve
  15. 15. 2. Pre-Work What do you want to be when you grow up ? • Pick a few career paths you like • Narrow your best three • Imagine your life 10 years from now if you pick χ, ψ, ω • Once you have a winner, ignore everything else
  16. 16. 2. Pre-Work Now hunt them down ! • Find some companies that employ people in the career path you picked • Follow them on twitter, read their blog • Try to learn more about their products (this is a killer asset in the interview) • Try to understand their mentality
  17. 17. 2. Pre-Work Do your homework • Spend at least two months making a small but functional project • If you haven’t published any open source code, now it’s the time • Make a website targeted at your future employer
  18. 18. 3. Common CV mistakes The irrelevant guy • Nobody cares if you had a summer job in a beach bar three years ago • If you don’t have work experience in that field it’s not for you • Preferably, 100% of your work experience should be in that field. That means you love what you do and you’re serious about it.
  19. 19. 3. Common CV mistakes The freelancer If you present yourself as a freelancer your employer will think that: 1. You failed at freelancing and that’s why you are looking for a job 2. You view this job as temporary pocket money before you go back to freelancing 3. You will work all off-work hours in other projects, meaning you won’t be focused
  20. 20. 3. Common CV mistakes The traveler • Rarely someone hires people for 6 months. For serious employers hiring is an investment. • If you have changed 20 jobs in the last 5 years it won’t look good.
  21. 21. 3. Common CV mistakes The ninja ! • “I’m an HTML rockstar and a JavaScript Ninja!!!” • Sorry we only hire samurai • You want to be seen as a responsible and mature professional. Keep the ninja-speek aside.
  22. 22. 3. Common CV mistakes The know-it-all So you know all these ? Dreamweaver, PHP, MVC frameworks, CodeIgniter, Laravel, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, J ava, .Net, C, Zend, Paypal API, Facebook applications, Node.js, Mongo DB, C++, C#, Silverlight, Flash, Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, MySQL , MsSQL, Oracle, UNIX, ReadHat, Debian, Minix, Office, Visual basic, Your mother and your father....
  23. 23. You think you’re so great…
  24. 24. 3. Common CV mistakes But… • The 4 month Java course you took in college 4 years ago is as relevant as your xbox skills • Even if you know all that stuff, you indicate that you never took the time to master anything. At best you’ll be average at all of them. • Do you have a portfolio for all that ? • You can’t outsmart a manager who’s hiring people. You’re on the sport for one weeκ, but he’s doing it for a living. • You’re a liar
  25. 25. 3. Common CV mistakes In the final analysis… There are no “CV mistakes”. CV is the mistake.
  26. 26. 3. Common CV mistakes What CVs really are: • A platform for lying (anyone can put 20 acronyms in a word document) • The best way to be seen as someone in the flock • Where people without portfolio hide
  27. 27. 4. Getting your cover letter right Paragraph one Who and what are you • No Sir/Madam. They are real people • Explain in 4-5 rows who you are and what you do, as if you were talking to your grandmother. • Also refer to your area of expertise (if you don’t have one, read the pre-work section again) • Be honest about it
  28. 28. 4. Getting your cover letter right Paragraphs two to four Previous accomplishments • In each paragraph refer to a previous project or employer • Use links to projects/companies • Explain how you helped in each project’s success and what great things you accomplished • Be honest about it
  29. 29. 4. Getting your cover letter right Paragraphs five and six Why do you want to work for them • What do you like about the way they work • What do you like about their products • What do you think they do better than their competition • Be honest about it
  30. 30. 4. Getting your cover letter right Paragraphs seven and eight Why do they want to work with you • What makes you better than other developers • How do you fit in their corporate culture • What are your main strengths as a person and why do they give a damn • Be honest about it
  31. 31. 4. Getting your cover letter right Paragraph nine A nice goodbye • “Thank you for your time” • “I hope we’ll have the opportunity to talk in the future”
  32. 32. 4. Getting your cover letter right Hey wait ! Why do I keep repeating “Be honest about it” ? • You’ll have to cover your lies (and you’ll fail at it) • Even if you get the job it won’t be for long • Where you see a rejection letter, your future boss sees a new MacBook • Every boss is constantly looking for an opportunity to save money. Don’t give it to them. Make them poor. • Remember it is about getting a job that makes you happy, not about just getting any job.
  33. 33. Bonus tip Don’t ask for money, (even if they ask you) let them propose something first • If they propose more than what you had in mind, Bingo ! • If they propose what you had in mind, ask 10% more. Most reasonable recruiters won’t say no. • If they propose a ridiculous amount it just means it wasn’t a great job anyway.
  34. 34. Άκου κυρ Στέφανε…