Trying to break into the tech industry can be tricky, particularly for an industry newcomer. Whilst technology firms are flourishing, landing a job depends heavily on relevant job experience or an in depth understanding of the tech ecosystem.
App entrepreneur Rich Martell launched FitFinder when he was at university, a website allowing students to communicate (and flirt) whilst in the library.
The controversial site gained floods of national press and since then, Rich has gone on to start numerous other businesses including Floxx Media Group, one of London’s digital agencies. We caught up with Rich at the latest giffgaff Happenings event and persuaded him to share his secrets for landing a job with a technology firm.
Don’t be afraid to adapt existing ideas
There’s nothing wrong with copying an idea – every great idea is recycled to some extent! Make sure you can differentiate your offering by having a unique selling point and don’t be afraid to share your idea with others. Not only does this give you the opportunity to listen to different points of view but it’s the best way to take on board constructive criticism.
Think outside the box
This may seem obvious, but demonstrating that you can think on your feet, have innovative ideas and can reconceptualise existing problems is an invaluable skill to employers, particularly in the tech field.
Demonstrate how easily you can adapt to different working situations and dilemmas. Give examples of how a client brief or project changed half way through a project in the past and how you adapted to the new guidelines.
Grades don’t mean the world
You don’t have to have straight As and a first class degree to stand out in an overcrowded jobs market. Work experience is often the top thing that employers look out for, particularly if you’re fresh from uni and the experience you have demonstrates a true passion and that you’ve thought honestly about where you’d like to end up.
Presentation IS important
Yes, content is king but if your CV looks like the dog's dinner no one will want to read it. If you can make your CV stand out from a pile of typed A4 sheets, then it’s far more likely you’ll be remembered come decision-making time. And don’t forget to pay attention to the tiny details like font size and typeface.
Work smart, not hard
This may seem like strange advice but as we’re increasingly stretched for time and have multiple commitments during an average week, it’s important to focus on honing and enhancing your strengths, rather than bending over backwards to make small improvements in your weaker areas.
Get to the point
Simply put, don’t waste your time writing lengthy paragraphs on a CV. Put the best thing you’ve done and the most relevant experience at the top and leave out anything that would be deemed irrelevant.
Embrace failure and LEARN from it
Failure isn’t always a bad thing, making mistakes and more importantly showing how you learned from them can build strength of character. It’s better to be someone who has tried doing something new and admittedly failed rather than someone who hasn’t tried at all.
We have so many different ways to reach out to various employers, thought leaders and industry heads even before getting to interview stage. Use tools such as LinkedIn to connect, although I would never underestimate the power of a polite, to the point email asking for advice.
Work hard at finding mentors and people you can turn to that have experience in your area of interest. Share your ideas with them and don’t be afraid to ask for advice and introductions where possible.
giffgaff ‘Happenings’ is a series of events that give young people the inside track about creative and interesting projects and/or careers; bringing people who are passionate about a particular discipline together so they can learn more about it first-hand.
In the latest Happenings instalment, we heard from App entrepreneur Rich Martell, who gave the audience an in depth insight into the tech industry and led an inspiring workshop for budding entrepreneurs.
To find out about giffgaff's upcoming Happenings event, with comedian Matt Richardson, please check out the Eventbrite page.