Jackson was one of our very first graduates. Unlike a lot of other graduates, he didn’t find a job immediately because he put his career on hold for a while. He has since found himself a great job in the tech field and he wants to tell you all about it!
Tell us more about your background, please...
I’m currently located in Florida. I actually graduated in 2019 from Careerist, and I was in the October-November group - which was one of the first groups.
I didn’t have a technical background at all, and I used to be an average computer user.
When I graduated from the course I took a one year long break because my kid was born. So, I put the idea of working in tech on hold.
I kept watching graduate meetings though, and this kept me motivated the whole time.
The main reason I have decided to share my story with everyone is because I want to motivate those of you who have just graduated. Hearing people’s success stories really helped me, and now I want to support others!
How long were you looking for a job for?
I took about four months to find a job, but I was only really actively applying for three of those months.
As you said on the course, it’s a numbers game when it comes to getting a job, but you still have to be well prepared and work hard to get a job offer.
After graduating, Max and I started preparing for interviews together. There are loads of people on the Careerist team now that can help you prepare for interviews, you can also consult with them regularly, and you have support on most matters whenever you need it. This was great and the job application service was amazing.
Did you apply for jobs by yourself and what was it like?
I sent around 2,000 job applications out myself. The funny thing is, I’m still getting invitations to interviews right now. Last week Amazon emailed me saying they had a job for me, and they wanted to know if I was interested.
The first month of applying was very slow. I only applied to roles in Florida. And for all that time I used the ‘easy apply’ and ‘hot apply’ services on LinkedIn. My advice, when looking for a job be careful that you do not apply for scam jobs.
When I got an interview and failed it, I then started applying for more than forty positions a day. I took things a lot more seriously. I would spend four hours a day applying for jobs. It was a non-stop process.
So, as you can see, failure motivated me a lot.
Towards the end I was sending about thirty applications a day. I would constantly refresh job lists and I’d search for the most recent open positions available - I did not want to miss anything!
What did you think of the application processes?
30% of companies give you assignments to do, and these are there to check how you respond and work with the tasks. They want to see how quickly you react to things, they want to see that you are not a machine, and they want to check if you can handle bulky tasks. Behavioural questions were popular too.
A lot of applications focused on whether or not you would be a good fit for the team. Companies do not want toxic people who misbehave.
When did you start receiving calls to go to interviews?
I think as soon as you start actively applying for jobs you start to receive calls.
It takes less than four days to get a call. If you apply hard for a week, then you will start getting a lot of calls over the next two weeks.
Sometimes nobody reaches out to you for a whole month and that’s okay. However, if you are still not getting any luck after 6 weeks, you should look into the problem.
Did you go to a lot of interviews?
9 or 10, something like that.
The funny thing is when I received my current job offer, the following week I got another job offer from a bigger company. I decided to take the first offer because I really liked the people who interviewed me, and I do not regret it at all! They are easy to work with and they have taught me a lot of things.
Within the first month of applying for jobs I received 2-3 invitations to go to interviews. There was even an interview for a remote position but I wasn’t motivated for that interview.
Right now I am getting a lot of experience and I am not planning on switching jobs.
What’s your secret to success?
I re-read everything and watched all the course videos over and over again. I also covered the questions list many times.
There are videos that tell you how to prepare for interviews from Lana. I watched them daily, almost like a podcast.
Despite the fact that I only did my internship for three days, I did attend a lot of graduate meetings, where I learned a lot. You will learn a small tip in every grad meeting, it really is an opportunity to learn something new.
I guess confidence is something that will grow with time. The more you prepare and the more recruiters or HR managers you talk to, the more comfortable you become.
When talking to recruiters, I used to note down all the things they mentioned that I did not know about in bullet points. Then I would go back and find out more information on these points. I also recorded myself giving answers to interview questions and I followed my mentor’s advice.
I failed a couple of interviews, and like many other graduates, I did feel like I wanted to give up. But it is during these times when it is important that you keep pushing forward. You will become stronger.
Can you tell us about your job offer, please...
I was initially looking for a yearly salary of $80-90,000. But then I decided I just needed to get a job, so I could start my journey. After this realization, I started asking for a yearly salary of $60-70,000 and surprisingly I started to get more responses from local recruiters.
A company in Florida offered me a salary of $65,000 a year. I called the Careerist team and they helped me negotiate this salary to $67,000. I also have benefits, bonuses, a full package and one extra salary once a year to claim with this job. So, in total the offer is beyond $67,000.
Did you have any other opportunities to choose from?
I received a second offer for the same amount of money but in a different company. It was for a remote job, but in the future I would have to consider moving to Denver, Colorado when things settle down with COVID.
I got a third offer too which was from a big company, and I was offered a salary of $70,000-$80,000 a year with a lot of additional benefits.
I looked back over all of my options and decided to go with the first offer. The company offered me a fully remote position, and I am not located too far away from the building. In July they decided to start working a hybrid work week, so two days are worked at home and three days are worked in the office.
When the situation with COVID changed, we moved back to working remotely. Now, the office is open so some people work from there.
Is it difficult to adapt to a new workplace?
In the beginning, it was just my manager and me working together. But the company recently hired an automation engineer. It sometimes feels like a startup and sometimes it is a bit hectic. I guess when you go to work in a well-established company you already know what to do because there are loads of processes to follow.
It is not complicated where I work, and they have taught me so much. The company is driven by learning, so at the end of every month we have an evaluation session. This is when we all reflect on the things we have learnt - you really do learn something new every time.
I also really like the fact that the company gives you ownership of tasks.
I have been working at the company for 4 months so far. They recently told me that they wanted me to research some new security tools, so I went through various paid and free tools that they could use. When a company gives you tasks like this it means that they want you to grow.
During my time I have also attended many webinars, and the teachers are great and they explain ideas to me in simple ways, so that I understood everything.
One topic I have struggled with so far is the Cybersecurity one, and I’m thinking of joining the Careerist course to help me understand it better.
Some days I am a little low on tasks, so I make sure that I keep my communication channels clear, and I may go back and do some testing.
It’s a full-time position. So it doesn’t matter whether I’m testing for hours or just waiting for the next task. I guess, everything depends on the company you work in, and you definitely need to adapt to their workflow.
How do you feel about your job?
It is flexible and well-paid. The more you work the more opportunities you receive. I am happy that I succeeded.
We are so happy that you have found a great job in the tech field. We appreciate the fact that you have taken time out of your busy work week to join us today. Thanks for inspiring everyone!