Learn from a career mentor how to leverage everything from your network to your resume to your project portfolio to enhance your job search experience, and showcase why you’re the most qualified candidate.
Hello new Udacity graduates, and congratulations on your achievements! You’ve successfully completed your Nanodegree program, you’ve acquired valuable and in-demand skills, and you’re ready to start applying them in exciting ways. Now, what comes next?
Are you looking for new roles? Have you started to apply? It’s a pretty amazing stage to be in—looking forward to a future full of new challenges and accomplishments—but it’s not without its difficulties. The job search process can often be confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating, and you may find yourself wishing you had someone who could answer your career questions and help you navigate the complexities of today’s hiring landscape.
If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck because career mentors are here for your benefit!
Udacity’s career mentors are highly qualified individuals—they include digital marketers, software engineers, and career coaches—who care deeply about your personal success. I happen to be one of them!
As a career mentor, I’d like to share the answers to some of the most commonly asked career questions I’ve received from Udacity alumni as they pursue their goals.
Everyone who’s gone looking for a job knows the feeling. You find a job listing that sounds perfect for you. You start to read it. You get excited. Then you come to the skills list, and you instantly deflate. I don’t know how to do all that, you think. I’m not qualified.
Does this sound like you? If it does, rest assured you’re not alone. More importantly, you don’t have to feel that way!
Marketers love to talk about “brand.” So do recruiters. Company brand, personal brand. In the weeks leading up to—and in the days following—the Super Bowl, everyone talks about brand. Which means, whether anyone realizes it or not, everyone is talking about storytelling. This year’s assortment of Super Bowl ads were heavy on story-as-brand. A recent Forbes article noted that:
- Some companies are using their ads to make a political statement (intentionally or not).
- There seem to be more ads focusing on the brand level instead of individual products.
For some, this was a successful approach. For others, not so much. One thing we can all agree on, is that story works, when it comes to provoking emotion. Whether you liked the Audi and Coke ads or not, chances are you discussed them. A very good friend of mine worked on the Airbnb ad, which was a textbook example of story-as-brand in action, and by almost all accounts, a very successful version thereof.
But what does this have to do with getting a job?
Data-driven hiring models are increasingly able to include and assess soft skills, so it’s critical that students and job-seekers understand how this impacts and informs the process of building a successful candidate brand.
Hard skills are generally defined as those teachable skills that can be measured and quantified. Soft skills, on the other hand, are understood to be more subjective—these are the qualities and attributes we tend to think of as comprising “people skills.” Traditionally, soft skills are considered much harder to quantify.
So can soft skills really be assessed using data? The answer is: Yes.
At Udacity, we want to be the place where you come to get an education, to get a job. One of the key ways we pursue this objective is through candidate profiles. Every career-ready Nanodegree program student has a unique candidate profile, which functions as an optimized showcase for your skills, your projects, and your experience. We want to see top employers consistently discovering Udacity talent, and student profiles help make this possible.
Every significant achievement has a story behind it. That’s why we call them success stories! Our personal success stories are an important asset when it comes to career advancement. But while we’re often quite good at highlighting our successes, we’re not always so good at telling the stories behind them. However, it’s often the “story”—and our ability to tell it well—that ultimately sets us apart from the crowd.
Tip: It’s called a “success story” for a reason! Succeeding is not enough, you have to tell the story too!
Recruiters and hiring managers face crowded fields every day, and often the candidates they’re reviewing have very similar skills. So they look for other differentiating factors. In addition, these same recruiting teams often don’t have the same technological knowledge as the candidates they’re reviewing. So again, they look for something that does resonate with them. Finally, it isn’t just about skills. There’s more to being the right candidate than that. So what else is there?
There is having tech skills, and there is working in tech. These are VERY different things.
The former is very broad, the latter is comparatively narrow. When it comes to career planning, it’s crucial to understand the distinction. Too many people are opting not to learn tech skills, either because they don’t want to work in tech, or don’t think they can. But tech skills get you hired just about anywhere, NOT just “in tech.”
A recent article in Investopedia entitled Most Valuable Career Skills in 2016 written by Shoshanna Delventhal offers an excellent summation:
“Ongoing acceleration of the tech industry is a main reason why tech skills are in demand. However, it’s not just the software and mobile app startups that are searching for tech-savvy talent. Almost every company needs these kind of skilled people.”
So, it’s not about working “in tech.” It’s about becoming one of these “skilled people.”