While September’s focus is “Back to School” for kids and many adults, the month also brings two action-oriented observances for the rest of us: “Self-Improvement Month” and “International Update Your Resume Month.” It’s a great time to hone in on things that make you a better you, from finding a hobby to adjusting your goals, both personally and professionally. It’s also a reminder to add the last year’s worth of new skills to your resume and plan for those you wish to acquire in the year to come.
Over the last year, leaders from across our industry partners have offered powerful words of advice to graduates of 2U-powered boot camps to help them pivot to a new job, grow in their current one, or seek out a promotion. Here are five helpful tips from our partners to consider when embarking on resume-enhancing and self-advancing activities—especially if you’re looking to break into or move up in the tech industry.
1. Put Equal Emphasis on Soft and Hard Skills
“Hard skills are very nice to have, but candidates need a good mix of both. When it comes to soft skills, we really care about teamwork, time management, and leadership potential. Initiative and drive are extremely important, too. We want to see that spark in your eye when you talk about a side project you’re passionate about. It really comes across as genuine. I rarely see someone not get an offer after one of those conversations. You need to be able to pivot and willing to work cross-functionally. Clients need people like that, who have strong work ethics and are willing to pursue new areas of knowledge to find solutions.”—Andrew Samuelson, associate software developer and data analyst, Booz Allen Hamilton
2. Be Smarter with Your “Down Time”
“In interviews, we always ask: What are you doing with your own time? If you're genuinely interested in technology, are you building a computer in your spare time? Are you experimenting with web development or game design? Is programming genuinely something that excites you every day? Candidates who check these boxes are going to stand out as really big rock stars in our eyes. During the pandemic, people have had so much time at home. What did you use that time to do? Were you advancing your skills in any way? That's a key consideration for us.”—Anna Ceparano, campus recruiter for North American markets, Capgemini
3. Showcase Your Curiosity and Unique Experiences
“One of the things we look for is the curiosity to learn. We’ll always teach you as much as we can, but we also want individuals who are innovative and bring new ideas into the company. Many boot camp grads have taken a non-traditional learning path after seeing the opportunity to enhance their skills. That shows a lot of innovation and independent thought, which is what we look for in our employees. Bringing new experiences into the organization is always a benefit. Many boot camp hires didn’t start their careers off where they ended, so they add great diversity of thought to our teams.”—Lauren Stevens, talent brand specialist, State Farm
4. Build Up Your Interpersonal Savvy
“Some of the most important soft skills are being able to give clear presentations, carry on conversations, and provide direct answers to questions. If we’re asking you a specific question, we don’t want you dancing around the answer or talking in circles. We want to have true, meaningful conversations during the interview process. A lot ties back to having strong communication skills. In technology, you’re working with different divisions and teams rather than being siloed in a room all alone. It’s important to be able to express problems to team members and document processes clearly so others can see what has been done.”—Richard Perez, senior technical recruiter, and Lauren Wray, marketing manager, SkillStorm
5. Seek Out High-Growth Disciplines in Tech
“If you want to get into [tech], you should have a real passion for it. The rate of change within the industry is faster than it’s ever been before. As far as the skills needed, Java and Python are two really good entryways to get into programming. Another skill area is artificial intelligence and machine learning. I would also definitely learn about cloud-based technologies, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. That’s a no-regret move, because everyone is looking to cloud services to improve their business. Understanding that infrastructure and ecosystem will get you through the door that much faster.”—Richard Comerford, digital technology consultant, Cognizant
Ready to build your skills, boost your resume, and open up the possibilities? Check out 2U-powered offerings like boot camps in fields ranging from coding to data analytics to fintech, as well as short courses in areas like business management & strategy, design & creative, health sciences & wellness, and more.
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