Get a Job in Your New Field
Here you are learning amazing new skills that can take you to the next level or to a whole new career field! You’re working hard to make that dream come true. But when you’ve wrapped up your Francis Tuttle certification, how will you get that first job? I’d like to share with you some advice you might not have heard yet… These come from our Advisory Board of industry professionals and from the industry professionals that I follow online.
Attend Local Meetups or User Groups
There are groups of people in every field who get together, usually monthly, to share and listen to talks about the field. The meetings are called User Groups or Meetups. The experience levels vary all the way from ninja-level to newcomer. Why should you take time out of your busy schedule to start attending these?
- You’ll get to know professionals who are working in the field. They’ll find out who you are as well. This could lead to all sorts of good things: collaboration, job offers, etc.
- You’ll hear what the important topics are and what’s in demand.
- You’ll be seen as someone who loves learning.
- You’ll find out the local news on which companies are hiring.
- The folks who attend who are less knowledgeable than you are may hire you for consulting work that will ramp up your portfolio! Our students who have attended the local WordPress Meetups have found this to be true.
We were just contacted by a digital agency called BigWing and they told us they are holding Lift Digital Marketing sessions over breakfast once a month. Ask your instructors if they know of any groups that would be good for you to attend and do a Google search to see what else you can find out.
Leverage Social Media
You may be thinking, social media is a time-waster, and I just don’t do social media. It’s true that you should carefully use social media so that you are not derailing your work output. But there are some big benefits that can potentially be reaped by harnessing social media…
- Industry professionals and potential clients can see that you are interested in the field when you tweet and retweet industry-related articles. You can also keep abreast of the latest developments by following industry professionals to see what they are talking about.
- You can show the world that you’d be cool to work with. Having an online presence that fits with the culture of a potential employer could be the key to getting that first interview. Be smart about what you post. It doesn’t all have to be super polished and professional — employers want to see who you are as a person. But be cautious if you are looking to get employed at a conservative organization.
- You may not be the best writer in the world, but blogging about your projects and writing “how-to” articles could be your way of getting a reputation in the field.
- As Jeffrey Zeldman, web guru, says (in a recent post), By daring to publicly speak and write, you will become better at selling your ideas to tough clients, better at evangelizing methodologies or causes to your peers, better at thinking and therefore at doing, and better at those all-important job interviews.
Contribute to a Cause
You may be able to contribute to an open-source project in your field. Some employers have told us that they want to see job candidates for developer positions contributing on GitHub, a collaboration space. Or maybe you can lend your talents (graphics, film, etc.) to a great cause that benefits the world. In either case, giving back is a great way to meet new people and put yourself out there. Do something you’re passionate about. You will be honing your craft and you’ll feel great knowing that you are making a difference. Life has a way of sending opportunities to you when you’re doing something awesome that you care about.
Coders/programmers should check out Code for America. If you can’t find a group already established to help people in your field to help others, consider starting one up at meetups.com or call up your favorite charities and offer your services.
Notice anything about these three pieces of advice? They are all about getting yourself out there and getting involved in the community of your field, either virtually or in person. You might feel like you are too new to contribute. Not so!
The gurus in your field remember what it’s like to be entering the field, and they are often excited to share what they know to give you a leg up. Many of our experts who advise us here at Francis Tuttle have said that they enjoy “giving back” and many folks you meet at the meetups feel the same… So, don’t be afraid to reach out to the community of your field by attending meetups, interacting through social media, and contributing your skills to a worthy cause!