Ignore the Rules: Land an Interview With the Company You Want to Work For After Attending a Coding Bootcamp

Standing out as a coding position candidate can be tough; these tips can help.

Standing out as a coding position candidate can be tough; these tips can help.

It's not hard to fall through the cracks, ending up among the weeds when you're interviewing for a coding position. There are plenty of great tips out there for nailing your interview once you're there, but even after you graduate from a coding school, you have to get that interview in order to show off your skills. If you want to land an interview with the company you want to work for, ignore the rules and try these tips instead.

1. Reach out to the company. It doesn't matter if they're currently hiring or not. The fact that you can't find an opening posted online doesn't mean that the company isn't currently looking for a coder who's learned to code in Python, Ruby on Rails, or JavaScript. The best jobs often come from companies that choose not to widely advertise open positions. They may:

  • Keep an eye out for qualified candidates who come across their desks
  • Wait for coding schools to graduate students in order to get the freshest crop
  • Constantly have positions available without advertising them
  • Fill more on word of mouth than based on applications

If you want a job with a specific company, find out who is responsible for the department you want to work for, then reach out to them directly. Submit a copy of your resume with a sparkling cover letter and wait. Even if they don't have a job for you immediately, it might open a door that will pay off down the road.

2. Develop your network. Reach out to industry professionals. The professors and teachers at a coding school who helped you learn how to code are a great place to start. Many times, job opportunities don't come down to what you know nearly as much as who you know. Don't be afraid to ask for introductions and share the fact that you're looking for a job in coding. You might be surprised by the friend or family member who knows the right person to get you an interview at the job of your dreams! 

3. Be prepared to answer the right questions. Applications for technical positions often require you to prove that you know your stuff. Don't let your answers fall short! If you feel that you're lacking certain skills that the company needs you to know — a specific program language, for example —go back and brush up on your skills so that you'll be better prepared for the next opportunity that comes your way. 

4. Start doing work in your industry. You've probably heard that in order to get a job, you have to have experience. The good news is, you don't have to have a job in order to get experience. If you're looking for work as a coder, start coding! Write your own programs. Design an app. Open someone else's program — perhaps even a program created by the company you want to work for — and find a way to improve it. The more you code, the better you'll get. Not only that, you'll have more experience to show your potential employers when they're ready to sit down with you. Doing work, even unpaid work, in your industry can also help catch the attention of the people you most want to work for, so break the rules that say you don't work for free and do a little work on the side while you're waiting for a company to take notice of you.

5. Keep improving your skills. Just because you have one set of skills doesn't mean that you're proficient enough to take on the job of your dreams. Instead of assuming that you're "done" because you've finished your initial course of study, keep improving your skills. Learn to code in JavaScript and then make yourself even more attrative to companies by learning to code Python.  Ask your mentors to review your code and give you suggestions for improvement. The more you know, the better your odds of being a great fit for a job when one does become available at the company of your dreams. 

Getting a job in coding might not happen overnight. By breaking outside of the mold created by other job seekers and utilizing the problem-solving skills you've developed through coding practice, however, you can substantially increase your odds of landing the interview you're hoping for. Looking to brush up on your coding skills, learn a new coding language, or add another coding language to your resume? Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Jan Wagner

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