You completed a coding bootcamp. Now what?
There are thousands of questions to consider when deciding to jump head first into a fully immersive coding bootcamp. But the most important ones are: Are you capable? And can you actually find a job after completing the course? For the purposes of this blog I am going to tackle the latter of the two questions. Can you find a job after completing the course? The answer is yes. Because you have to. And because you just went through a rigorous program that pushed you to your intellectual limits and tested your patience every day. Finding a job is the fun part, I promise.
Below are 3 things to remember while looking for a job:
1. Get your head right.
Looking for a job is the worst. Seriously, it’s like saying, “Judge me, strangers! And then tell me I’m not worth your money.” Ok wait stop. This kind of thinking can get ugly fast and totally poison your chances of getting a job simply because “your head isnt right.” So go ahead and get the negative thoughts out of the way.
Looking for a job is 45% having a positive attitude. Think about it. How many times have you been cruising through job postings online and talked yourself out of applying? You don’t have enough experience, there are way more people who are better qualified, the pay is too low, and once again, you don’t have enough experience. Guess what? Job postings VERY RARELY are accurate descriptions of what the company actually needs. Someone in HR slapped together a job description quickly and just put it on the internet. Or if it is a small company, someone copied and pasted a job description from a google search and started sending out smoke signals. But more importantly, you shouldn’t be spending a ton of time applying “cold” to jobs online. We will get to that later.
Half of the battle of finding a job is your attitude and perspective. If you are nervous about an interview or worried you aren’t qualified, you have to stay positive. Afraid they are going to go with another candidate? Well they might. But that is 100% out of your control. All you can do is show up, be honest, convey a willingness to learn, and show them that you are not only coachable but have an extremely hard work ethic. Hopefully that’s true 😉
Also, prepare yourself for rejection and coach yourself on how you are going to overcome it if you get some bad news. You may not get that first job that you thought you really really wanted. But most of the time, there is another job that is better right around the corner. So keep your chin up and keep on keepin’ on.
2. If you’re not first, you’re last.
If you wait until graduation day to start looking for a job, you’ve lost some seriously important time. Two months before your bootcamp begins, you should be researching, learning, and choosing the type of company that you want to work for. This will not only help you when you start applying for jobs, but it will also help you prioritize the types of skills you want to focus on during the class.
Prepare as much as you can by asking questions and having your sights on specific companies and the types of jobs they have available. You should be drafting a cover letter to send to potential employers and acquaintances the minute you get accepted to a boot camp. The intention of getting started early is not to get a job as fast as possible but to educate yourself on the current job climate and all of the opportunities available to bootcamp graduates.
3. Werk it.
Fact: I have never secured a job from applying to a “cold” job application. The most important part of job searching is networking. This is of course not new news to anyone. If you are the type of person who hates asking for help. Get over it. Because before you even complete whichever bootcamp you choose to attend, you need to start a list of friends and family who can help you get your foot in the door with whatever company you have your sights on.
I was once looking for jobs for a large creative agency and reached out to an old college acquaintance who happened to work as a recruiter for said agency. I was never very close with this person in college but I had applied for a position with the company a week prior and never heard anything back. My college friend made sure my resume was reviewed and I heard something from the hiring manager the very next day. Remember when I said prepare yourself for rejection? Well I didn’t get the job. But I learned a lot about the role that I thought I wanted and it turns out, it wouldn’t have been a good fit. So I sent my friend a $10 gift card to Starbucks as a thank you and was on to my next lead.
If it weren’t for that interaction, I very possibly would have wasted TONS of time applying to positions similar to the one I got rejected from and either drove myself crazy or wasted tons of time when I could have been pursuing other opportunities. I ended up in my current job by a friend insisting that I interview for it. I was discouraged by my job hunt but made myself go. Two years later and I have never been happier in a job.
The moral of the story when searching for a job is be positive, start looking as early as possible, and lean on your network of friends and family to help. You can do it! Remember? Because you have to.
Claire is a team leader at Covalence and passionate about growing the Covalence mission and supporting its students as they venture off to begin their careers. She enjoys spaghetti, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and smoked meats. In her spare time she sleeps.