How to Get a Pay Raise at Your Job

First tip. don’t talk about Percentage raises. Percentage raises are totally disconnected from value and are all about making small $ numbers look big (a 7% raise sounds nice but it’s only $180/paycheck after tax if you get paid semi-monthly and were on $100k)

  • Pre-Requisites
  • Be good at your job Seriously, there’s no substitute for this. This advice will only work for people who deserve a raise.
  • Make sure your request has natural timing. Don’t ask for a raise if the company is fucked if you quit. Ask for a raise AFTER you’ve saved their ass, not while you’re saving it. No-one responds well to blackmail.
  • Have skills that transfer. There is a range that your company will pay you that has an upper limit on your value and a lower limit on what they assume your value is to others. The more transferrable your skills are the closer you’ll get paid to that upper bound of what you’re worth (remember, if they pay you one penny more than you’re worth then they’re making a mistake. It happens, but it’s not our goal here. Our goal is to clarify your worth and to get paid as close to it as possible). Having skills that transfer means you de-emphasize skills that are company specific and focus on market-wide skills. Be careful what you volunteer for.While this is somewhat true, this is more about having options if you need to walk away. You’ll want to have skills that are marketable to other potential employers, but your current employer doesn’t really care about this unless they are concerned about losing you.

    In actuality, it is the value that you bring to the business that is most likely to get you that raise that you want. You need to be able to say to your boss “I do X, Y, and Z, and since I’ve started doing that we’ve been generating 8% more revenue” or “we’ve saved 10% in waste” or “I’ve managed to optimize this process that used to take 12 hours to complete and now it only takes 3 hours”. If you can outline how you are making the company more efficient or more profitable you are more likely to not only get the raise, but people will tend to think of you as someone who gets the big picture.

  • Ask for a performance review This is the formal setting to talk about your worth. Make sure that you let your manager know that your goal in your review is to review your value to the company. Don’t surprise them with your agenda. You’re not there to just listen. You want to talk about the value you add to the company. Saying this isn’t threatening them and it’s not demanding. It’s the very definition of what a performance review is for. But it clearly suggests that your motive is your remuneration with respect to your value.In many cases (especially at larger companies), by the time you have your performance review your compensation adjustment (if any) has already been set. In those cases the review is really just a chance for the manager to tell you what they think of your work and have you sign off that you had the review. You need to know when the performance review cycle begins and broach the subject with your manager before that happens.
  • Know what will make you happy and let them know what it is Make sure you’re clear about what will make you happy. It’s not a negotiation. It’s a request to be made happy and this is what will do that. Say something that communicates that you’re working hard to exceed their expectations and that this is the moment where you hope they’ll reciprocate. If they respond with negotiation then avoid it. Take the high road. “I’d like to avoid a negotiation where we all feel like we’ve not quite gotten what we hope for. I hope I’m giving you everything you hope for from me and I want this outcome to reflect that”. This is about having earned it before asking for it, but then not being shy about asking for it.
  • Win over the influencers If your manager is your buddy but you’re not sure if they control your pay then pull him/her into your plan. Ask “I want to have a conversation about my worth in order to talk about my salary and I’d like your advice on how to go about it.” You’ve just requested what feels like a small favor from them but may be an enormous favor to you. They’re becoming invested in your goal. They can’t advise you on how best to position yourself to get paid what you’re worth without also representing you in the best light to the people that might come asking their viewpoint.
  • Preparation: Have concrete data If you’re going to say you’re more productive than others, then quantify it. Do your research before your meeting. It shows you’re professionalism in the same moment that you’re claiming your professionalism. Focus on results more than effort. Results equate to value, effort only speaks to (your) cost.
  • There’s no ‘company policy’ about what you get paid If you’re worth it (ie, you’re not a commodity) then you can get paid for it. If anyone quotes company policy at you, divert them. “If it’s ok, I’d like to focus on what value I add and then come back to how you can respond to that”. If you’re getting underpaid it suits the company to make a deal quickly before all the facts in your favor are laid out. You’ve prepared for this and you need to make sure that they understand the way the world looks to you.
  • If the raise isn’t happening find out why “Do you feel that I’m over-valuing myself?” That’s a Great question to ask. It clarifies what you’re discussing. Is it my worth that we disagree on? Or is it just that you haven’t ‘got the budget’. If they say they haven’t got the budget (or something like it) then say that you understand and of course it’s possible that you’re over-estimating your worth anyway and that you’ll have to do some more research on it as this is obviously meaningful to you. The implication is that you’re about to go job hunting but you’re not threatening them. You’re encouraging them toward finding an agreed valuation of your services.


Tips for Getting a Raise at a Small Company

Small companies are the easiest places to get raises because there’s high visibility on your value. Everyone involved in deciding your pay knows your value. That’s ideal.

  1. Let them know that you want the review to clarify your value to the company (that’s a great scene-setting line because it communicates your focus on your value without sounding threatening)
  2. Start by asking them to tell you how they perceive your value. Ask for where exactly they feel like you’ve been valuable and as they talk about it, ask questions that make them expound. “Oh really”, you say “I hadn’t actually thought about that. What difference did that make? Would it have mattered if it hadn’t been done that way?”. Make them own their appreciation for you in vivid detail.
  3. Then it’s your turn “Well, as I was asking myself this same question, here’s what I came up with and I want to understand if my perception of where I added value is lined up with yours…”. Now you’re listing out your value and asking for their responses. But you’re not talking about money at all. Just value. But tie it back to specific company revenue numbers that you influenced if you can. do your homework before the meeting.
  4. State your goals. “Obviously, you can tell I’ve given this conversation a lot of thought. The truth is I’m looking at career advancement and that’s about adding value and getting rewarded for it. How have I done?” Past tense. Not “How am I doing?”. You’ve done it. It’s review/reward time.
  5. Summarize “My hope is that I’ve evolved my role into something more valuable than it started as” (you’re de-coupling the pay for your role from what you /should be paid).
  6. If they don’t agree then talk about it. Worst case scenario is that you come out of there with an understanding of exactly why they don’t see this the way you do. But this part of the conversation hopefully goes smoothly unless they wildly differ in how they perceive your values
  7. Ask for a big raise if you deserve it. Don’t think about % of current salary. Focus on the value you’ve adding to the company and find a narrative that turns that value into a monetary figure.

What Types of Software Development Jobs Are There?

There are so many different software development jobs out there for people with a computer science degree. There are also lots of jobs out there for people without a computer science degree who are looking to get a career in tech. There are a lot of career paths out there:


Types of Web Developer Jobs

  • Visual designer / UI designer
  • Front-end developer / JavaScript developer / UX developer. To be honest I don’t know the difference between UI and UX.
  • Backend developer / Python|PHP|Java|Rails|Perl|Node|ASP.NET|what have you developer
  • Sysadmin / DevOps
  • Jack-of-all-trades full stack web developer


Mobile developer jobs

  • iOS developer
  • Android developer


Game developer jobs

  • Engine programmer / graphics programmer / physics programmer / network programmer
  • Game designer / scripter
  • Sound designer / composer
  • Artist / 3D artist / 3D modeler
  • Writer
  • Jack-of-all-trades indie game developer


Specialized positions within larger companies

  • SDET / QA
  • Project manager / product manager


Miscellaneous Software Development Job Titles

  • Data scientist / “statistician with software development skills”
  • Computer security professional / information security professional
  • Scientific programmer
  • Quant / financial software developer
  • Embedded systems / robotics / home automation (Arduino / Raspberry Pi being popular with hobbyists)
  • Operating systems / compiler developer
  • Hardware industry / CAD? / low-level drivers


9-5 Software Development Jobs

When I graduate, I don’t want any obligations beyond a 9-to-5 workday. Is web development the right career choice for me? Is there another industry that actually has these magical 9-to-5 jobs?

9-to-5 jobs exist in every industry, it’s more that there are times in every industry for whom working 9-to-5 isn’t enough. The prevailing opinion is that it’s either an issue with culture or with management (like permanently being in “crunch time”). You’re really asking about work/life balance, which is something each company values differently. The only way to get a hold on it is to ask employees how much overtime they worked and how often they had to work overtime.

Talk to the employees of the places that you want to work at, and remember that people who talk shit about the conditions at a company on the internet are often disgruntled for other reasons.

Find a company with a lot of older people. Older people tend to have other obligations in their life rather than work all day such as kids, and you’re set! However,  a company full of older developers may not be a place where you’re going to get experience with new technologies or development approaches. Not trying to be ageist here, but we all get a little bit set in our ways as we get older, and what you need out of school is a lot of exposure to a lot of ideas so that you can find the ones that work best for you.

Also, avoid consulting jobs. Consulting firms generally charge billable hours. You don’t bill lunch, so it’s an 8-5 job. If you have a doctor’s appointment, then you make up the time by working through lunch or staying late or taking vacation time. Because of the billable hours deal, management may pressure you to work late and on weekends. The firm will charge the client for the overtime. You may or may not get paid for it.

How to Switch Careers into Computer Science and Tech

It is definitely possible to switch from many careers into computer science and tech related fields.  Not to say that it’ll be easy, of course to switch careers into a computer science or tech field. But if you’re not liking what you’re doing, absolutely forget what anybody else says! People will discourage you and look at you as if you’re going through some phase. Ignore this. Obviously, you shouldn’t leap into this new area blindly (take finances into consideration) but don’t ever let somebody (even yourself) dissuade you from pursuing what you want to do. Computer science is endlessly rewarding, and you’ll love it.


Switch Careers into Computer Science and Tech Jobs

Many people have a general plan to: (1) learn programming by completing free courses online (I’ve already started at Codecademy), (2) create a portfolio of websites/apps, and then (3) apply to jobs.

  • Is this the right way to go about switching to a CS career after college? Or is there a more effective way to do it?
  • Are there important changes/details I should add to my plan?
  • Are there any potential obstacles?
  • Has anyone else been in a similar situation? What did you do, and how did it go?


Online Courses to Switch Careers into Computer Science

I think that learning online courses is a step in the right direction, but online courses are a bit scattered/fragmented at the moment. The “good stuff” is divided amongst different books and sites and forums – the trick is finding them and tying them together. Codecademy is an amazing resource, but it focuses a tad bit more on breadth than depth, IMHO. There’s a vast difference between learning python syntax and writing an actual (useful) program or script, for example. It’s a good resource to START with. But there are certainly others that you should look into.

Codecademy is great for a beginner learning loops and stuff, but there isn’t much practical programming that will get you a job, it’s certainly not going to be enough to pass a technical interview. MOOCs are awesome for learning new things, but without some sort of documented achievement that you get from an accredited degree path your resume isn’t going to make it past HR.


Attending an Actual University May be Better

The main benefit of attending an actual university is the coherence of the curriculum – you have a set of topics that flow (more or less) into one another. But that’s all, really. After all, what is a class but access to resources and a deadline for assignments? Information and motivation is all you need. Getting this kind of coherent structure in your own study routine will be difficult since resources are fragmented and there will not be the pressure of a deadline to motivate you. THAT BEING SAID, If you are diligent and ORGANIZED with the way you proceed, I think you’ll be well on your way. Get involved with a group, though.

Focusing on one language is best in the beginning. There’s no need to obsess over syntactical differences – the same basic concepts are implemented in similar ways across the languages. This changes a bit as you get more advanced, but it’s fine to focus on one language in the beginning. (For example, each language has a way to create an array. HOW you create it is important, but certainly not as important as knowing WHAT you’re creating and how to use the array after you’ve created it.)


Tips and Resources for Switching Into Computer Science Career

  • Get Eclipse and Sublime Text 2. Eclipse is a free, massively popular IDE for Java, Scala, and other “heavy” programming languages, while ST2 is typically for the “lighter” languages, like Python and Ruby (also massively popular. I use it myself).
  • If you’re looking into web development (HTML/CSS/Javascript/PHP are mostly used in web development) then look up Jeffrey Way’s tutorials. From his tutorials alone, you can learn how to make working websites. For mobile app development, check out youtube and the official websites for Android and iOS. There is really useful “getting started” information on each site.
  • Regardless of the kind of development, everything is going to be hard without knowing the basics: basic data structures like arrays and linked lists, concepts like inheritance and polymorphism. If you want to be a “hobby programmer” on the side, then you may be able to pass and make some quick money with just codecademy and some online tutorials, but for a full-fledged understanding (which is not as intimidating as it sounds) you should invest in some books and tackle them head on.
  • Check out this site for a crap ton of free resources. If you click the “title” box under the search bar, you’ll find more results. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the first page of results for good books, I’ve found gems on the third page.
  • Check out coursera org for online courses. I’d look up the courses on data structures to get started.
  • Code org is a decent collection of resources.
  • w3schools and html net for web development stuff.
  • GOOGLE-FU. Learn how to use Google like a monster. Learn things like using “” and – to modify your search results. A sample google search for me might be something like “prevent sql injection” php -node

This will search for the exact phrase “prevent sql injection” as well as the general term “php.” It will filter out any results that contain the word “node.” (Ignore these terms for now. It was just a sample query). Point is, learn how to google. GOOGLE ALL DAY.

  • Make a stackoverflow account and read their submission guidelines.
  • SO MANY MORE. Feel free to message me at any time for more resources and I’ll send them over if I can. ASK ANY QUESTION YOU HAVE, ABSOLUTELY anything. I’ll help if I can, or direct you to somewhere where you might be able to learn more! Best of luck.


Do you need a Computer Science CS Degree to work as programmer?

The short answer? No, not necessarily, but it will be much harder to break into the industry without one. A degree gives you a rigid program for learning, a baseline of knowledge in CS concepts and programming, proof that you have the work ethic to get through a four-year program, and connections to peers and companies for recruiting. Not having a degree puts you at a disadvantage compared to others who will likely be applying for the same jobs with degrees in hand.

If you can’t or don’t want to get a degree in CS, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to some serious learning, you’ll need to build a strong portfolio, and you’ll probably need to network extensively with industry professional to have your best shot at a job.


Negotiating a promotion/raise from the lens of a Manager

I think there are three big points that sometimes people miss when they haven’t been managers themselves. Part of your manager’s job is to keep you employed at the minimum salary that it will take to keep you employed. This is the biggest factor that all managers will consider when negotiating raises with their employees.


Negotiating a Raise with a Manger

This is just reality. Companies overall are driven by profit, and for a lot of companies it’s their operating costs that can really drive that profit. Not being able to keep salaries in check can become a huge problem in industries that are constrained in their revenue making ability. As a manager, you are expected to represent the interests of the company, and for better or worse, the interest of most companies is to generate profit for either their owners or shareholders/investors, not to share all profit with the workforce.

This is important to keep in mind because it can help you clear up the dynamic between where you, your boss and the company stand. While your boss may like you, appreciate you as an employee, and want to keep you around, he/she will know that there is a limit as to what they can do to keep you, because there is an expectation that they are putting the company’s interests above theirs.

Salary Raise Negotiations

The only way to be able to put legitimate pressure on an employer is by being willing to take a better offer, and that starts with having one. When I say “offer in your back pocket”, I mean that you and only you knows that you have that offer. The goal is to be able to walk into a negotiation with a clear idea in your head of what it will take to keep you (say, 10% raise), and to be willing and able to walk away if you don’t get that. The only way to be able to walk away on the spot, and as a result to negotiate with the appropriate level of conviction, is to have an existing offer to literally walk away.


How Much Should Employees Get Paid?

And part of that philosophy is valid, i.e., you should be doing more than just giving more money to your employees, and some of your ability to retain them should hinge on that. Put a different way: if, as a manager, the only way you can retain people is by paying them more money, you are probably a really bad person to work for. For most people with good managers, one of the big negatives of taking another job is knowing that there is a chance that your next manager won’t be any good.

Managers have to invest a good amount of time, goodwill and political capital to get an employee a raise. Unless you are the CEO, arguing for an employee to get a raise or promotion (especially off-schedule ones) takes valuable resources for a manager. It’s not like you can go into your boss’ office and just get one done on the spot. Most companies are going to require multiple layers of red tape to get there, and in general, will require you spending some of your probably limited “goodwill” budget on it. Thinking of it a different way, for every raise that you are able to secure for one of your direct reports, there’s another one that you won’t be able to get.


When do Managers Give Raises?

Because of that, managers will tend to a) stick to doing promotions and raises during performance evaluation periods when possible, b) only push above and beyond what HR/upper management wants to do if they feel they need to in order to keep some of their top performers around.

That means that if you are someone who wants a 3% raise off-schedule, it’s not going to happen. Not because you aren’t worth the 3%, and not because 3% is a lot of money to the company, but because the level of effort required to get you that 3% raise is not proportional to the probability that you will leave if you do not get a 3% raise.


How to Increase Your Chance of a Bigger Raise?

If you want to increase your chances of getting those bigger raises, the best thing you can do (other than kicking ass at your job), is to figure out a way to plant the idea in your boss’ head that you do expect a significant raise/promotion when the time comes. How you do it depends on you, your industry, your boss, etc., but there is normally a way to bring up the fact that you are doing a great job, and you want to understand what is the plan for compensating that.

Since they require great performance, end of big projects, intermediate performance reviews, and any conversation where you doing your job well is the topic of conversation are great places to bring this up.

It may sound like “I’m glad to hear that you appreciate my work. I wanted you to know that I put a lot of time and dedication into my work to ensure that I give you the best possible results. With that in mind, I wanted to know what I need to do to make sure that I am in position to get promoted”

You want to bring this up as something that you put on yourself (“what can I do?”), but really use it as an opening for your boss to either tell you “I think you’re doing a great job and this is when I think we can talk promotion” or “I don’t think you’re ready yet and this is why”.

The answer really doesn’t matter as much as the seed that you have planted. The seed that you have planted tells your boss “hey, this person is concerned about their compensation”. The reason it is important is because it gives your manager time to plan out their strategy for doing whatever it is they need to do to give you a raise IF they think you deserve on AND if they think you are a risk to leave if you don’t get one. And that gives you the best possible odds.

How to get a raise if you are underpaid?

To those asking “I am underpaid, have been for a while; how do I get a raise?” Sadly, there is a very decent chance that your only way to get a raise is to leave. Organizations that underpay, tend to do so knowingly. If you challenge that, you will most likely get a spiel about how lucky you should consider yourself to work here, or get a carrot dangled in your face.

As I mentioned earlier, your best bet is to go get another offer for two reasons: Firstly, you need an exit plan. Secondly, you need to know what your market value is. Once you have that, it’s a lot easier to make that decision.

I think that a lot of people stick to a job because they take on the mentality of “how do I get my current employer to pay me what I’m worth?”, which sometimes is a losing proposition. What you should be asking instead is “how do I maximize my long term income?”, and that will be a combination of taking the right short term moves and positioning yourself for bigger long term moves.


Mangers Know that they are Underpaying

Often times, a manager knows they are underpaying someone they want to keep, but have no recourse to keep them. When you become a manager, you will one day run into an employee who you know you cannot keep. Period. They are just too good, rising too fast and have too marketable of a skillset for your company to be able to handle them correctly. In part because most companies are just not willing to promote people faster than a certain cadence (normally 1.5-2 years), but more importantly because people that rise too fast will always be seen through the lens of “is that sustainable? Can I believe that small of a sample set?”

If you have an employee that is able to make strides in his first 3 months at the job and is taking care of things that even people who have been there for 3 years can’t do, would you promote him after 3 months?

Probably not. You’d probably wait and see if he can keep it up for at least a year. Let’s say this person is a true rockstar; at the end of that year, this person has now exceeded expectations again, and though they were ready for a promotion to Senior X in month 3, maybe they are now halfway to being qualified for being Manager. Even if you are well ahead of the curve and promote them after a year, you have now found yourself behind the growth curve of that employee. And at that point, it’s impossible to recover, because that employee will likely continue to grow faster than you promote him.

So what happens? Sooner or later, another company comes along which has a) an opening, b) the budget, c) enough desperation that they are willing to hire someone slightly above their fighting weight just because they see potential. And then you find yourself as a manager trying to counteroffer a 35% raise and a two-level promotion. And you know at that point that a) you can’t do anything about it now, b) you probably never stood a chance, c) even if you do fight this one off, you will have to fight it again soon enough.


What to do if you are not getting promoted?

If you are one of those employees, the ones that rise faster than they are promoted, I have three pieces of advice for you:

  1. Don’t take it personally You are not getting promoted because you’re breaking some of the unspoken rules of HR and you just don’t fit their mold. Odds are your manager wants to keep you, but they know they can’t, and that will probably come across as not trying. Rest assured that if you are that good, they know, you know, the company knows, but they also know that they have a very limited number of options that won’t create political nuclear war from developing inside the organization.
  2. Move often. If you are truly one of these people, you will suffer if you stay at a job more than a couple of years. The only key is that you can’t just chase money – you have to chase better titles, situations and companies. No one will judge you for leaving a company after two years if your move was warranted by a big promotion, or moving to a bigger player in the industry, or just landing in a better group with a better reputation. People will judge your resume if they see you take parallel jobs every other year, because they will know that you are just chasing money.
  3. Avoid under all circumstances to burn bridges. The same person that thought you were so good they couldn’t keep you around may be the first person to come calling when they think they have an opportunity that does match your resume, especially when red tape is not as much of an issue because you are being hired from the outside. Leave on good terms, be polite, try to help on your way out. Every good impression you make while leaving could become the difference maker in your ability to reconnect with an important “in” for a future job opportunity.

How To Get A Reply for Every Job Application You Send Out

Get a Reply for Every Job Application

Our latest blog post taught you how to change your mindset, find the field to work in, and how to gain initial experience in this field. Next, we will dive into the specifics of writing a CV, finding a job, and standing out among applicants. Writing an excellent CV or Resume is a sure way to make sure you are one of the top job applicants applying for the job.


How to get response on Job Application?

As we all know, employers get tons of resumes in their inboxes, so standing out is the top priority. Let’s stop for a minute and look at the following quote:

Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.

We could try to translate this bullshit quote into job finding as ‘If you have great competences, companies will find you and beg you to work for them’. But that’s simply not so. Even extremely talented and experienced people can have problems with finding a job, and even they must work hard to be noticed in the CV ocean.

The author of that quote (or something like it) is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Notice the ‘Waldo’. I bet the Where’s Waldo game was based on this man. Point being, you better move out of the forest, and start working on self-promotion – but writing a CV might even be a bad idea.

Should I write a CV or Resume?

The answer is obvious: YES, you should present yourself and your competencies, but NO, you might be better off not writing it. Numerous applicants are taking the easy and ineffective route of just sending the curriculum blurb to job ads. Sure, doing that will certainly feel like you did something – but in reality, you just sent a pdf over. You just spent some time. Nothing original. You’re being thrown straight into the pool of sharks with other job applicants. Why not be the shark instead? Think about how you can smash your skills, knowledge, and experience right into the employer’s face so they will see only you.

Applying to jobs - awesome CV checklist

How can you stand out? Try making a website (remember the GooglePleaseHireMe guy?), doing a short video CV, or even buying a billboard. There are many other options, but you’ll need to find them yourself, and tailor it according to the job, the company and even to a specific job ad. Designing a custom, unique pdf-CV might suffice if you happen to be looking for work in the creative industry – or, just sending over an actual paper along with the digital copy might make a huge impression.

Another great way (if you’re not overly creative) of standing out is by stating specifically what value will you add to the company. Will you be able to bring in 100 new customers every month? Will you improve search-engine traffic of their sites by 20%? All of these are what really matters to people running a business. If they’re not going to get anything from you, why would they hire you? Along with the promise, you can include a contingency such as, if you can’t improve conversion by 7% within a month, you’ll be on your way – just make sure you can actually do it!

Tips on Filling Out a Resume

What should I write in my resume objective?

Resume Objectives are generally a waste of real estate. Instead of an Objective, why not include a Branding Statement? This is a concise, memorable statement that lets the reader know what you offer the company. A tutorial on writing a branding statement can be found here.

Do I have to list all of my positions on the resume?

You want to make sure that the information you are including in the resume is relevant to the position. Leave off or significantly scale back out-of-date or unrelated positions. This way, readers will focus more on recent and relevant experience instead of getting distracted by information that does not add as much value.

Furthermore, if you include jobs such as barista, cashier, server, lifeguard etc. – it can be reasonably expected that anyone reading your resume will know what kind of responsibilities these jobs typically involve. Including bullet points like “handled cash and assisted customers with checkout” or “prepared beverages” are generally unhelpful and at worst emphasize a lack of pertinent skills or accomplishments. If you only have cashier/server/retail experience, try to emphasize things that you did that are unique, such as maintaining a 100% attendance record or re-merchandising an endcap to improve sales of X product by Y%.


Should I list interests/hobbies on my resume?

This is a gray area. Historically, including this kind of information has been frowned upon. While there are still many companies that will view this kind of information as superfluous, there are some that want to know about your personal interests. The best advice is to research your audience and determine if this information is appropriate for the specific company to which you are applying.

Remember, concrete facts and figures are always more compelling than bland description. Listing “running” as a hobby is vague and fairly meaningless. Listing even a relatively modest achievement like, “participated in ten 5K races, with two third place age-bracket finishes” shows determination, dedication, a commitment to self-improvement – all of which are extremely relevant attributes in any context.


Where should I put my references on resume?

Don’t include references or “references available upon request” on your resume. Do bring a reference sheet to any interviews so that you can provide them should they be requested.


Tips on Filling Out Online Job Applications

When applying for jobs online, create an autofill form for your old jobs and other common information. This will save you a ton of time. For example, you have to fill in information on your past jobs, internships etc. You can go into your web browser settings and created an autofill form (address, phone number, company name, email etc) and then when you get to the portion of the application that asks to fill in company A’s information, just type the name, my autofill options show, I click on those and boom, saved me several minutes of remembering the office phone number, address etc.

Also remember that often the first cut in the hiring process is a computer filter where they take the top answers to the qualification questions, then they take the highest percent of keywords. Its a safe guess that those keywords will be ones they use to describe the qualifications

When you submit your resume to a place that uses an analyzer, what you should do is take a blank line (especially one that you change the sizing on to like 2 or 4) and then in white text, write a bunch of keywords for the job that you are going for. Hopefully, your resume itself is well crafted enough to use most of these words within the meat and potatoes, but doing something like this ensures that your resume passes the initial robot cutoff and into someone’s hands. Then, when they see it or print it, the white text never appears.

The downside is that sometimes the companies will parse the resume into plaintext, meaning that this laundry list of 100 terms you pasted at the bottom of your resume is now visible and will look like garbage. Ask any recruiter who has used a tool like Jobvite and they will concur.

Finding a job – Where to look for job

Job ads

Now that we’ve cleared that resume thing out of the way, we can start finding actual positions. I am not going to list all the sites that list job ads – there is a number of lists available online.

I would suggest you start looking for jobs on niche job sites – for example, if you were be looking for a design job, you’d go to Krop. This article is a good starting point for finding those niche job sites.

Search – online and offline

I don’t mean to promote this blog any more than I already did, but SOYS posted another great article with tricks for finding job openings with Google. I couldn’t describe it any better, so I’m just going to direct you there.

Next, you should probably check out ads in papers and on physical job boards. I know, a lot of information is now on internet, but that’s probably why those offline ads receive less applications. Money in the bank! Well, not quite yet.

Searching actively for a job

You might find out that applying to job ads gives you a very low ‘conversion rate’, meaning that you don’t really get many calls from them. You should put yourself into a position of ‘looking for an employer’ rather than ‘applying to the ads’ – and you do that by proactively selecting companies you’d like to work with and contacting them about positions. This will be hard at the beginning, but once you get a hang of it it really becomes much easier.

Open up a spreadsheet and do some research on Google – which companies are in the field you want to work in? Write 10-15 of them down and do a bit of Facebook search. Do you know anyone working there? Existing employees are almost always a great foot in the door. Next, make sure you follow, friend, and like the companies so you don’t miss any of their (job opening) shout-outs. Study these companies closely to create the best custom tailored application to a non-existent job.

Example: You want a job as a copywriter and want to work at company Black’n’White. They are a creative agency and their logo is a zebra. You write your application referencing zebras everywhere and print it on zebra-striped paper. Even if they can’t hire you at the moment, you will make such an impression that they will at least refer you to another company (if you ask!). Remember, business world is all about connections.

Conclusion: Tips for Applying for Jobs

Just keep in mind that finding a truly unique way to apply to a job is extremely important, no matter your skills, experience, etc. It’s even more important to get a reply for every job application you send. I happen to work in graphic design – and let me tell you, the product can be awesome, but if it lacks in presentation, nobody will give it a chance. Don’t be that product! Read how to get a job with little or no experience.

How To Get A Job With No Experience

How to Get a Job with No Experience

So you need to get a job with no experience. The topic of finding a job is seriously trendy these days. And it’s obvious why that is so – the current economy caused lots of people let go and others left clinging onto their jobs fearing for their survival. This is why fewer people retire and therefore there are less positions available for the junior workforce.

How To Get A Job With No Experience

Fortunately, people my age (early twenties) do not know any other reality. When we’ve entered the job market, the economy was already tough, so there was no change to speak of. We had (or have) to learn the rules, not re-learn them. In this sense, we have some advantage over people who had to go through change.

This post is, however, not a rant about the economy, but rather a piece of holistic advice on getting a job without much experience. It will especially help people who are just at the start of their career, but I bet others will benefit as well.

Firstly, I’d like to establish that finding a job should be a job in itself. Going for drinks in the middle of the day with your unemployed friends may seem like a perfectly plausible idea. You don’t have a job, right?


This kind of attitude will make the process a lot harder. You’re supposed to be available in normal business hours and busy sending emails and calling prospective employers, so don’t fall for the whole ‘funemployed’ farce. Even after being let go or when you’re done with school, still try to maintain the working routine and get really busy with finding that job.

Mindset And Goals to get a job with little experience

I will assume that you already have that genuine will to work. This will later reveal to be extremely important, so if you haven’t already, determine why you want to get a job and how bad do you want it.

You probably expect I’ll give you a silver bullet for getting a free job without any kind of effort. Well, that’s not going to happen, because I am not writing fairytales. You need to accept that having no experience and/or education, it’s not likely that you’ll land a very well-paid job, unless your daddy is a CEO of a large company with an unlimited payroll budget.

getting a job

What job search DOESN’T look like

You don’t get offered a great office job while serving a customer at McDonald’s. That only happens in movies. You will need to wake up, move your butt, and do something to even get that McDonald’s job in the first place.

But that’s ok, because everyone has to start somewhere. And you need to start with long-term goals about your career. Determining this will help you decide which jobs are the right for you and let you write the best CV ever. Answer these questions:

  • Do I have a strong passion that can be translated into a career?

  • How much do I want to/need to earn? (making a simple budget can help you with this)

  • Do I want to work part- or full-time?

  • Which jobs are currently open in the area? (just assume this one – you’ll do research later)

What will you do to get a job with no experience

If you don’t have a strong passion for working in a certain industry, the whole process is a bit easier; you will need to see which jobs are open for people with no experience and just jump into it. Types of professions that normally don’t require experience are:

  • various types of assistants – shop assistant, office assistant

  • simple restaurant jobs – fast food employee, waiter/waitress, cafe employee, barista, dish-washer

  • hotels – hotel maid or bell boy, table games dealer, cleaner

  • (phone) customer support

  • (phone) sales

  • driving – delivery driver, bus driver, trucker, taxi driver

  • garbage collector

  • real estate broker

  • physical work – oilfield worker, construction worker

  • (online) entrepreneur – blogger, ‘small tasker’, content marketer (requires at least some technical knowledge which is easily gained online)

On the other hand, if you indeed do want to work in a specific industry that hires only people with experience, you will need to work to get it first – and this will most likely mean some or lots of free work. There! We’ve broken out of the non-existent “no experience – no job, no job – no experience” cycle.

“But I need to pay my bills!” I hear you screaming, because you’re exactly like everyone else, and yet there are plenty of people who changed their careers while keeping one or two jobs. Hey, no one said this would be easy!

So here are a couple of ways to gain experience:

Get an internship to get a job with no experience

While it will be much easier to get an unpaid internship, not even that will be easy. Be careful to ask people working in the industry to determine the right company to work in. Check out this presentation for more info.

Even if you’re not a student, you can offer free work to a company you want to work for. Set a certain amount (for example, 1-2 month) and they can employ you afterwards if they’re happy with you. The strategy is to make yourself indispensable in this time (more on this in the next post in the series).

Freelance to gain experience to get a job

Depending on the industry you’re in, you might be able to freelance and gain experience this way. When starting out, offer low rates or try working for free (for non-profits). Be careful though – try to only take on projects that will look good in your portfolio/CV. If you’re unable to provide a concluded project or proof of results, it might be better to pass it up and spend time on something that will look good as a reference.

Volunteer to build job experience

Similar to the previous two tips, volunteering will not only get you real-world experience that you need, but also give you connections that you might need in the future. People tend to be nicer to volunteers and will feel like they need to return a favor for free work. Aim for huge, world-known non-profits.

Start on your own to get job experience

If you don’t feel like working for someone else for free, you can start a project that will give you the experience you need. For example, if you wanted to work as a UI designer, you could redesign an existing app or make up your own – you could even start a business from such project!

Get a mentor to create job experience and expertise

Getting a mentor is also very applicable to all other suggestions on this list. Find out which are the top people in the industry and offer to work for them for free. Try to get introduced to them or just reach out saying that you’re really passionate and hard-working and that you’d like them to teach you a thing or two about the field. You can also just try to read everything they’ve ever written and study their life path – this strategy is not as effective for seeking a job (you can’t put it on your CV), but will definitely up you a level.

I have this list of skills, do you think I should expand it by telling people about my excellent interpersonal skills?

Soft skills can end up sounding like fluff. That does not mean that they aren’t valuable, just that they need to be substantiated. Ideally, your bullet points will highlight quantifiable achievements as opposed to responsibilities. That means specific accomplishments with metrics to back them up. It is more effective to tell the reader how you have impacted the company and how you have added value.

Other methods to get a job with little or no professional experience

The biggest issue for anyone looking for work is attitude followed closely by image. Have a positive attitude. When given the chance, work hard. Be eager to help and do more than you are asked to do. Ask questions, but not constantly. Think before you ask. Any way you decide to go with, try to get as much out of it as possible. Work really, really hard, prove yourself, meet lots of people, and get a recommendation at the end.

This is it for now, stay tuned for the next part of this series where are talking about how (and if even!) to write a good CV, find a job, and the proper way of applying to jobs – check it out here.

How many resumes should I send out to get a job?

How many resumes should I send out, and how much time should I spend on each one?

In today’s economy, it is not uncommon to send out 20 resumes before receiving a call back. Each resume should be targeted toward the position to which you are applying. That will mean that you have several versions of your resume. Also, every cover letter should be targeted toward the specific position AND the company. As for how much time you should spend, it will vary. It is much better to spend your hours finely crafting a small number of very excellent, tailored resumes/cover letters rather than spamming out a large number of materials that aren’t as good or as position-specific. Remember, it is not a numbers game. Spend eight hours crafting and adapting a resume to a specific position is far more effective than spending eight hours submitting 30 generic resumes to 30 different companies.