Originally published on December 27, 2019 on BritishPandaChick Codes. I made tweaks to the original post for The Practical Dev.
Congratulations on finishing the first part of the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge. Now that you have a list of 10 companies, it is time to work on part two. The second portion of mission one is all about job descriptions.
Many career experts job seekers research job descriptions. This research helps people identify the roles they are interested in and would like to apply for. All the information you will gather in this step will pay off later in the challenge as you begin to update items you'll during the job search such as your portfolio, Linkedin profile, and your resume.
Today's post is a review of everything in the second portion of the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge. Your objective is to put together a list of 5 job descriptions. These job descriptions should be a list of roles you can apply for and would make sense for you to pursue in the future.
Throughout this post, I'll share information Code Newbie included in the second e-mail of the Get a Job challenge that can help you put together your list of job descriptions. This includes advice on what to look for and resources you can use to find job postings you are looking for.
Your homework assignment is to complete a list of 5 job descriptions. This doesn't mean finding a 100% match for the perfect job the world has to offer. Our goal isn't to find a complete fit for a job description.
Instead, you want to use this assignment to evaluate job descriptions to see which ones interest you and are a close enough match that you'd be able to pursue. In order to complete this mission, Code Newbie provides developers with a link to a Google Docs worksheet to create their list of job descriptions. You can create your own worksheet in Google Docs for this post or create a Microsoft Word document. You can also keep track of your job descriptions using paper and pencil.
Once you've decided on how you want to keep track of your job descriptions, take a few minutes to set up your notes so you can find the following information. This information will be your guide to evaluating job descriptions and deciding which ones fit you. Every job title on your list doesn't just need the job title and description of the job. These are some of the other items you want to add to each role on your list.
- technologies. These will be languages, frameworks, tools, and methodologies.
- skills. This might overlap with technologies, but you can add technical skills that didn't fit in the technologies section. You will also want to write down any non-technical skills listed in the job description because they are just as important as the technical ones.
- responsibilities. List responsibilities for the role or anything you'd be doing in the role.
- background/experience/qualifications. Expectations might overlap with responsibilities a bit, but this is an idea of what the company wants in the person they chose for the role. Job postings will list this differently but you can find this by looking for sentences starting with what the candidate has or what the ideal client has experience with.
- preferred (not required). This section might not be in every job posting. If there are any skills or qualifications that are labeled as bonuses or preferred, it goes in this section.
- key terms. This is where you'd put any key terms that might come up in the job posting.
- notes. Notes are where you'll put any extra information and your thoughts about the job posting.
- category. This is where you'll identify how close a fit you are to each job description on your list. I'll discuss this later in this post.
As you do your research, copy-paste the information in your worksheet. I recommend using the items above as headings in your worksheet. The headings will help you keep your notes organized so you can put all the information you find in a place you can find it again later as you progress through the challenge.
How do I find 5 job descriptions?
The first place you want to start with is your spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is a great place to start your research since it already has links to job boards and websites. You can use these links to start looking for roles. It is also a way you can see what specific roles look like at companies you want to work for.
Start here and see if there are any roles you can apply for at present. If you can't find any, then you can start to expand your search. Code Newbie shares several job search tools to help developers with this step.
The next place to look is job boards. There are so many job boards to look at, but Code Newbie provides developers a few they can look at for this part of the mission. For example, job boards such as Indeed, SimplyHired, or Dice are a great place to start looking for developer roles.
Another great resource to look at is your local Chamber of Commerce. Your Chamber of Commerce has listings and events happening within your community. Many promote events happening in the tech sector of your area. You can see what tech job descriptions look like in your area.
If you are interested in working at a startup, the best way to find job descriptions is to look at startup communities. BuiltInLa.com and NYTech Meetup are two examples of startup communities developers can use to learn more about startup jobs.
You can also find these roles through job boards specifically focused on startups. A popular one is AngelList. Code Newbie recommends developers look at job boards from VC firms such as Y Combinator jobs and USV Jobs.
Do you want to work remotely? You will want to use job boards that focus on remote jobs. WeWorkRemotely, RemoteOk, and Remotive.io are three great places to look for remote jobs.
Evaluate Your List
Once you've made your list of job descriptions, it is time to go back through your list and evaluate each job posting. This way you can assess each job description and see which ones are the closest match with what you can do now. Judging a job posting isn't easy, but Code Newbie provides developers a strategy that makes it easier to see which ones are the best fit and which ones aren't.
This strategy is all about organizing all your job postings into three categories. The categories are Reach, Target, and Safety. As you review each job posting, you will classify each job into one of these categories. You will put down which category each job posting is in the category section on your worksheet.
The Reach category is for jobs that you are 50% or less than a match with the job description. This means you would have a harder time getting hired for this position. Although you aren't a good match for this position right now, you still want to keep jobs in this category on your list.
You can use these job descriptions as a blueprint on what companies see as the ideal candidate and what you need to work on in order to apply for these roles in the future. If all the job descriptions are in this category, you will want to do more research and see what happens.
Any jobs in the Target category mean that you are about 50-70% match for the role. This means you would have a good chance of getting this job if you were to apply for it. Code Newbie suggests having a good number of jobs in this category since it is a good balance of being a good candidate for the job yet having enough room for you to move into these roles easily.
Job descriptions that have the safety category name mean you are a 90% or higher match. These jobs mean you are fairly confident you'll land these jobs. If all your jobs on your worksheet fit in this category, Code Newbie suggests developers consider reaching higher and doing research on positions that can push you outside of your comfort zone a little bit. For example, a developer that has a lot of experience with different technologies has a lot of junior developer jobs on their lists might want to research more mid-level or senior-level developer jobs.
Keep in mind that assessing these job descriptions is tough and varies for every job seeker.
I'll be using the Code Newbie numbers for this post, but you are welcome to use different percentages to evaluate your job postings. Code Newbie gives percentages as estimates only for developers to use as a guide to help them evaluate job descriptions. If you have trouble evaluating the job descriptions in this step, Code Newbie encourages developers to reach out to their network or members of the tech community for feedback.
If you are looking for feedback on any of your job descriptions, you can also head over to the Code Newbie Facebook Group or use the #CodeNewbie hashtag on Twitter to get feedback from other developers. As you put all your job descriptions into categories, you'll want to review these job postings to see how you feel about each one. Pay attention to if you are excited about certain roles.
Are there any roles you would like to research more? If you asked other people for feedback, what did they say? Any thoughts or feelings you have during this review should be written down in the notes section of your worksheet.
Code Newbie Podcast Corner
There are a lot of great episodes on the Code Newbie podcast about finding a tech job. Code Newbie has featured a variety of guests that share tips about finding a job. In this half of the mission, they suggest developers revisit season two episode three to learn more about the job process and get tips to having your application stand out to employers and recruiters.
In this episode, Code Newbie chats with Eddie Washington, a recruiter for Genius. He shares lots of great information about how companies read job applications and what job seekers can do so they stand out in the job process.
It is time for another break so you can start researching job roles and putting together your worksheet. Once you are 100% satisfied with your list of job descriptions, share your favorite job description in the comments. Don't forget to share your favorite job description with Code Newbie too! Just use the hashtag #CNC2018 on social media.
Congratulations! Mission one is done. Now that you know what companies you want to work for and what roles you are interested in applying for, we are going to start taking this information and begin updating our resources.
First up is the LinkedIn profile. The next mission in the CNC2018 challenge is tackling LinkedIn. I'll be reviewing Code Newbie's tips and advice for updating your Linkedin Profile.