Udacity, Getting Hired

I got hired. Three magical words. It sounds so simple, but the process itself often feels like a fragile house of cards, capable of collapse after one wrong move. That said, understanding the hiring process as a process is definitely the right way to approach things. There are steps you need to take, and one success leads to the next, until finally, the BIG success. The three words. I got hired.

Visualize Your Destination

Like all important achievements, getting hired starts with preparation, and preparation starts with visualization. What do we mean by this? If you’re familiar with the phrase “the end justifies the means,” then think of this as a variation whereby the end defines the means; meaning, what you visualize as being the end of the process, will define the steps you need to take to get there. If you want to be a data scientist for example, knowing this will help you determine the steps you need to take to achieve your goal.

If you don’t yet know yet what you want to be, that’s ok too, it just means you’ve got an additional journey to undertake. But the process is the same. In this case, the “end” isn’t getting hired, the “end” is knowing the role and/or career you want to pursue. So, visualize yourself knowing what you want to be, and then figure out what it takes to get to that point. (Hint: the answer is research!)

Build Your Network

Once you’ve committed to undertaking your journey, you need to very quickly absorb, internalize, and act upon a core truism: relationships and people matter in your career. Which means there is no time like the present to start making connections. Getting out there and meeting people doesn’t guarantee that you’ll make a valuable connection, but not doing so certainly guarantees you won’t. And remember, this is networking—it’s ok to be clear about your intentions. You want to get hired.

Here is another important truism to absorb, one that nicely complements the importance of making connections: show, don’t tell. For example, it’s one thing to tell a hiring manager that you love to collaborate. It’s another thing to point to an actual project that you collaborated on. There are all kinds of ways to “show.” You can participate in a hackathon, or contribute to an open-source project. You can join—and become an active participant in—an online community. You can publish articles or blog posts. You can do internships or volunteer work. You can use your current skills to find freelance work. You can publish projects to your own blog, and build an online portfolio.

Build Your Personal Brand

Once you’ve done your research, identified your career goals, begun the work of networking, and started to build up a public footprint of your efforts, you need to think about how you’re going to represent yourself to the hiring managers and recruiters you’re eventually going to want to target and attract. We’re talking here about the “classic” ingredients of a job-focused personal brand: your resume, your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles, your portfolio, your social media properties, and so forth. You can work on these solo in a silo, or you can utilize additional resources. If you’ve done your due networking diligence, you may already have a circle of peers who can help you.

Deploy Your Assets

At this point in the process, you’ve got your assets in order. It’s time to deploy them. Doing so requires a target. Actual open roles. This probably sounds simple. Go to LinkedIn, type the job you’re looking for into the search field, and prepare to start emailing. Guess what? It’s not that simple. It turns out there are multiple ways to find and apply to jobs. Here are just a few ways to unearth great roles:

Tap into Your Network. If you’ve established and nurtured good connections with people in relevant communities, then there is often no better source for leads on available roles that are right for you.

Attend Events. MeetUps, job fairs, and conferences present countless opportunities to learn about great job openings. Go, listen, network, and most important of all, follow up afterwards!

Check Job Boards. After you’ve created a list of companies that interest you, go to their individual job boards and see what’s available.

Contact Recruiter & Matchmaking Sites. Headhunting recruiters can help you connect with positions that may not be widely accessed online (often a good option for more senior level positions). Matchmaking sites like: Whitetruffle.com, hired.com, and launchcode.org can do the legwork of introducing you to companies that are hiring.

Be Ready (When Opportunity Knocks)

Once you’ve applied, you need to make sure you’re ready if you get the call. As Pablo Picasso once said: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Working, in this context, means doing everything from researching the companies you’ve applied to, to engaging in mock interviews. You need to know the industry, the company, and the role. You need to know your own story, and why and how it connects to the company’s story. You need to be ready to do everything from describe how a failure led to a success, to negotiate a salary.

Your Path To Getting Hired

What we’re talking about here, is your path to getting hired, and when you’re ready to start putting one foot in front of the other, your first step should land you right here, at Udacity’s Career Resource Center. Because virtually everything laid out in this post so far links to a resource in our Career Center, and just about everything you need to know to get hired can be found in our Career Center.

You may know Udacity is hosting our Intersect 2017 conference on March 8th. The theme of the conference is Learning for the Jobs of Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond. That’s exactly what Udacity is all about, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. Some of you are ready for a job today. Some of you will be ready for a job tomorrow. Some of you are looking further down the road. No matter where your Point B is, you’ve all got a Point A, and a path in between. Our goal is to support you as move towards those three beautiful words: I got hired.