Every time I start working with a new potential candidate, I ask about their career objectives in the short and long term. Many people don’t have a clear image of how they want to progress, others mention they want more responsibility; they want to become a Team Leader or just to earn more money.
Whichever it would be in your case, it’s a good idea to make a plan, write down some thoughts about where you want to go and what steps are needed to get there.
I am baffled about how often I come across very experienced professionals who receive mixed or negative feedback when they apply for jobs. The skills are there, the match definitely seems good initially, both in terms of technology aspects and the level of experience. Still, there is a huge discrepancy between the projected input and the resulting output after their interviews at the end of the application process.
So why is it that some professionals (in this case software developers) with the same skill-set or a similar career path work for better companies, have better jobs, earn higher salaries and enjoy more popularity than others? In my opinion, this is due to a few reasons.
They look better
Of course, I don’t mean they look better from the physical point of view. I am referring to everything that reflects them (and you) as a professional: your work, your online presence (LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed, open source software contributions) and so on.
Do you have all the information synchronised across different online platforms? Is your CV up to date with all your knowledge and accomplishments? If this is not the case, you are probably not looking as good as you could.
They communicate better
This will have to be another blog post by itself, since many people are unable to communicate clearly and professionally. This issue covers all contact channels: telephone, email, Skype or Hangouts, etc.
Whether it’s communicating with the recruiter or directly with the company, you should keep in mind the importance of this aspect. Particularly for software developers and programmers, the way you communicate is equally as important as your skills.
They interview better
Did you take at least 1 hour to research as much as possible about the company? Did you go over your CV and the job description, in order to prepare a few related points? Did you ask questions during the interview, so you can understand everything about the requirements and the reasons why they need someone like you?
Did you actively “sell” your skills and experience by matching them with the current requirements?
They choose wisely
In general, there are usually more jobs than there are qualified people to fill them, hence companies and recruiters are always scouting for the best professionals. This is especially true in the IT field, where good software developers are always in demand. The important part is choosing what is best for you in terms of next career steps.
Too often I have seen people taking a job only because the salary is very good or because the project is interesting. Whilst these are valid reasons, I always advise considering the entire “opportunity pie” and all its “slices”: salary, location, company calibre, technology stack, etc.
Assessing each opportunity by looking at the big picture will allow you to make a much better choice for your long-term career.
So, how can you get a better job?
Work on the skills mentioned above and try to improve on each aspect. Equally important, make sure you ask for proper feedback every time you apply for a position (especially if the result was not positive).
This will allow you to improve on your weaknesses (apologies for the cliché) but also make a much better impression next time you work with a recruiter or interview with a company.
And that’s how you keep getting better jobs.
(Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash)