Revisiting The Basics

This is the least-value of the entire guide, because these things have been covered time and time again in other blogs, videos, skywriting, postcards, movies, and ancient texts. These are the basics. I hesitate to include them here because they seem elementary. You would be surprised at how often job seekers make mistakes here, so I’m including them anyway.

The Resume

A resume is a piece of paper intended to get you to an interview. That’s all it is. There are obscure rules about resumes, but the biggest things for junior engineers is:

  • 📄 only one page
  • 🎨 don’t get too creative with the format
  • 📈 use specifics (“I improved performance” vs. “I improved performance by 120%”)
  • 💃 focus on outcomes (“I wrote a note taking app” vs. “I wrote a note taking app that saved users 10 minutes on average per day”)
  • 🙏 ask for feedback from people who have software engineering jobs
  • ❓ make a post asking for feedback from LinkedIn users
  • ➡️ don’t get too hung up on the resume, it’s only intended to get you to the next step

Pre-Interview

If you are fortunate enough to land an interview, there’s some easy advice to follow before you actually start talking with anyone:

  • 👔 wear something nice – button down dress shirt, slacks or nice jeans, clean sneakers is probably par for the course, but when in doubt dress up rather than dress down
  • 👚 ask your mother, father, significant other, sibling, etc. about your attire and beg them to be honest
  • 🚿 get a shower and put on deoderant
  • 💇 get a haircut and trim facial hair
  • 🏢 research the company as much as possible (snoop on Wikipedia and their website)
  • 🔎 research the interviewer as much as possible (snoop on LinkedIn)

Interview

There are typically more than one round of interviews to land a junior software engineering role. Yet, each one follows the same rules of conduct for the most part:

  • 🕑 show up on time
  • ⌚ on time is 5 minutes early
  • 😇 be honest
  • 🤓 be interested
  • 📖 be prepared to tell compelling stories with a beginning, middle, and end
    • why you are in software engineering
    • why you applied to this particular position
    • why you believe yourself qualified to do this job
    • why you want to work for this company
    • a time you started, worked through, and finished a project
    • a time you faced and overcame a challenge
    • a time you dealt with a difficult co-worker
  • 🙄 get ready to explain how a weakness you have is actually a strength