Competition for tech jobs is notoriously fierce, and if you want to edge out the competition and land your dream job, it’s necessary to pull out all the stops. Yes, you need a great resume and cover letter and you need to ace your interview, but there are some less-obvious but equally effective strategies you can use to beat out every other candidate and get the offer.
Channel Your Inner Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs famously said, “Sometimes people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Yes, he was talking about Apple products, but you can use that strategy in your job search. Think about attributes that aren’t listed in the job description – attributes that give you an advantage – and play those up in your interview. Showcase the ways your unique strengths will make you ideally suited for the job and paint a clear picture that you are exactly who they need.
Make a Personal Connection
Hiring decisions are often based on emotional, gut reactions to candidates, so it pays to go the extra mile to connect on a personal level. Let your personality shine through and try to find ways to build rapport through a common interest or skill that you share with the hiring manager. Finally, demonstrate genuine passion for the company, its mission and its products and services.
Use a Bit of Psychology
Don’t bash other candidates, but make subtle hints that show you stand out from the pack. “While most developers spend anywhere from three to five hours debugging, my average is one to two hours. My commitment to detail and a stringent personal review process ensures I commit fewer errors the first time, so I spend less time correcting them later.”
Be Refreshingly Honest
Nothing frustrates hiring managers more than political, non-answers to questions like, “What is your biggest weakness,” or “Discuss your most recent failure.” Instead of claiming you have no weaknesses or using a cliché like, “my biggest weakness is that I am a perfectionist,” discuss actual weaknesses but use them to showcase a strength. For example, “I used to struggle prioritizing tasks, but I now take proactive steps to uncover exactly which tasks need to be completed first, and it has made me a much more efficient team member. Since last year, I have not missed a single deadline.”
The way you close out an interview can have a long-lasting impact on how you are remembered. At the close, ask, “Is there anything we’ve talked about today that would make you hesitate to present me with an offer?” This shows that you are bold, that you are interested in the job, and it also gives the hiring manager a chance to address her concerns head-on. After you’ve addressed any concerns, make sure to ask about timeline and next steps.
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