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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Simon Fisoye-Kings, Software Engineer in the UK

    Can you share a little bit about your educational background and what opportunities impacted your tech career?

    I studied Computer Science, which can be seen as the traditional course. I actually did not do any coding before university.

    The best thing I did in my career was participating in a year-long placement. High-quality experience on my CV before graduating made me stand out from other candidates. In addition, completing it at a top software company in SAP allowed me to use my technical knowledge in a corporate environment. The skills you learn at university are beneficial but using them in a working setting is very different.

    What would you like to learn more about?

    I want to explore cloud and machine learning further. I believe this is the biggest thing in technology currently. I’m interested in learning more about how machine learning can be used in various areas of our lives. For example, the technology around Amazon Echo and Google Dot devices is fascinating, and I would love to learn more about how they work.

    Related: How to Become a Machine Learning Engineer

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    I started with an interest in gaming at a young age and was curious about the technology behind the scenes. Then, I went into web and mobile applications. I was curious about how apps worked and intrigued by how easy it was to create your own. I believe the main reason for my early passion for tech was its ability for users to be creative and express themselves with it. From age 12, I remember working on a mobile application where users could view comedic images and videos in secondary school. I always enjoyed making people laugh and technology brought that to life.

    How has your skillset evolved over the course of your career?

    Over time I have become more confident and excellent in my coding ability. I started Computer Science with a general interest in technology but became more interested in the programming side.

    Do you specialise in one area?

    Yes, I specialise in back-end development. I realised I was interested in algorithms and how systems work behind the scenes, making this area the best fit for me.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    I left a high-profile bank for an internet publishing/insurance company. My previous role was old-fashioned, less flexible, and had little room for progression. My new role is flexible and offers a transparent route for progression.

    Related: How to Maximize your Job Offer as a Remote Engineer

    What are some of the things you’re most excited about in your new role/company?

    I’m thrilled about the opportunity to learn from a range of different people. I’m looking forward to the chance to grow and develop myself on a personal level too.

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    It was slow-paced and challenging to navigate. There were many unknowns and it was difficult to communicate with employers. I always felt out of the loop and did not know whether I would hear back.

    What would you tell someone curious about Hired?

    I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new role. With Hired, you will feel confident speaking to companies as they approach you first.

    Related: Want More Interviews and Better Matches? 5 Key Tips!

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    The best thing I would say is to know your worth. If you are confident in your abilities, don’t settle for anything less than your expectations. Remember, the employer has to impress you as well. A job is a transaction, not a favour. 

    Congrats on the job, Simon! Interested in landing a great role in the UK like Simon did? Complete your free profile on Hired today!

    About Compare The Market

    Compare The Market is a price comparison website and provides customers with an easy way to make the right choice on a wide range of products including motor, home, life and energy. Founded in 2005, Compare the Market has between 501-1000  employees and is headquartered in London.

    Tech Stack

    JavaScript, Node.js, MongoDB, AWS, C#, .NET, iOS, Android, Docker, Git, HTML, CSS, Scala, Java, Kafka, Kubernetes, Python, React, Redux, Big Data

    Benefits

    Life/disability insurance, work-from-home flexibility, volunteer time off, flexible working hours, employee discount programs, and more. More

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    Engineering Manager or IC? Which Tech Career is Best for Me? (Video)

    Have you ever wondered whether to follow an Individual Contributor (IC) path or an Engineering Manager (EM)? According to the Hired State of Software Engineers report, one-third of engineers report they want to advance to become managers, while the remainder says they want to continue being ICs.

    What are the pros and cons of the Engineering Manager career path versus the Individual Contributor one? Let’s find out!

    Hired, along with our partner Exponent, recently completed a video series to explore engineering career advice. The series featured three of our talented engineers: Nico Thiebaut, Prakash Patel, and Dan Baker, discussing subjects such as:

    In this article, we recap Exponent’s conversation with Prakash Patel. Prakash is an Engineering Manager at Hired, a tech marketplace that matches talent with employers for roles around the world. He followed his passion for data engineering and solving complex data problems, spending two years as an Individual Contributor and one year as an Engineering Manager. 

    Although Engineering Managers currently command the highest salaries across all technology roles on Hired’s platform conventional wisdom says, 

    You should not become an Engineering Manager if you… 

    Want dedicated time to work on specific projects or hone in on programming skills Are uncomfortable managing team dynamics  Prefer to own your own code   Want to quickly build new technical skills Would rather your success be measured by your individual contributions.

    Here’s a quick summary of the conversation between Prakash Patel and Lucas from Exponent. To watch or listen to the full interview, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

    Engineering Managers often don’t get dedicated time to work on a specific project or hone their programming skills. What is your experience with the flip side of this: being focused on supporting your team and making them successful?

    Based on my time as an IC, I understand the pain points and problems my team faces and will face since I have already experienced it. Engineering Managers are responsible for the smooth execution of projects while minimizing the concerns that arise. 

    There are different phases of projects but every phase has a challenge. As an Engineering Manager, I support my team to succeed while minimizing all those concerns. I enjoy focusing on the vision of the company and blending it with the personal and professional growth of ICs.

    As an Engineering Manager, you’re working with an entire team’s dynamics, meaning you need to resolve conflicts when they arise. What do you think the upside is to managing the dynamics of a team?

    Conflicts are inevitable and as an EM, the more you handle them the better you’ll get. One upside is you help all Individual Contributors on the team succeed. Another upside is eventually you get better at saying no.

    There will be so many things to control as an EM. By managing these dynamics, I see I am helpIng my engineers wholly – both in their technical competence and project management abilities. 

    As an Individual Contributor, your code contributed to the codebase and you could point to what you owned. In your role as a manager, how does your involvement with the codebase change, and how does this impact your team’s work?

    Well, as an EM I don’t get a lot of opportunities to actively maintain the codebase but I do participate in the code reviews. I can always suggest ways to improve the tech stack and that’s where I help my team adjust the roadmap. WhIle I am not maintaining the codebase, I am motivating my team to participate in constructive code-based reviews to help make them better engineers. 

    Insight from Exponent 

    Your experience as an Individual Contributor helps here as you’ve developed the technical know-how and understand how to grow from progress from a junior to senior engineer in terms of coding ability.

    Related: Curious about tech salary trends? Check out the data in this review.

    As an EM, you’ll develop tech skills more slowly. You’ll be focused more on macro than learning new languages or libraries. What kind of skills do you build as an Engineering Manager?

    As an EM I developed a “think big” and “make it happen” attitude. On top of that, I learned to give constructive feedback and how to negotiate.

    When you’re an Engineering Manager, your team’s success determines your success. It can take longer to ship products and code. How is success measured as an EM, and what do you find fulfilling about it?

    My success is measured by the performance of my team and my individual reports. My goal is to develop technical excellence across the company as an EM. I enjoy driving project execution but I make sure my individual reports receive exciting, diverse responsibilities in a way that infuses the company’s culture with our team. 

    If you’re not sure whether to pursue an IC path or transition into an EM, here’s my advice: if you’re even a little interested in becoming an EM, talk about it with your manager. Ask them to provide more responsibilities that will help you become an EM. 

    From there, you can evaluate whether you enjoy the work and if that role feels like the right fit. If so, request more tasks. If you progress, you can eventually transition into an Engineering Manager role.

    Ultimately, the two paths are very different experiences so it’s all about what you enjoy. 

    How to use Hired to find Engineering Management roles

    Hired is completely free for jobseekers and it takes just minutes to create a profile. Once you upload your information, you’ll get interview requests from companies seeking talented candidates like you! Learn more about creating your Hired profile. 

    Already have a profile on Hired? Here are 5 Key Tips to Get Better Matches & More Interviews.

    Should you switch to an Engineering Manager role internally or seek out an EM role when looking for a new job?

    Transitioning within a company is a better and easier decision, especially since you are already familiar with your team. On the other hand, if you are an Individual Contributor seeking a job as an EM at a different company and you do not have that proven experience, it’s harder to make the jump.

    Eager to pursue a role as an Individual Contributor or Engineering Manager? Learn how Hired works for jobseekers!

    Click below to watch the full interview: 

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    5 Interview Secrets for Landing a Job at Capital One

    Interviews can be exciting, intimidating, life-changing, and sometimes, all three. As you make your way into the professional world, chances are you will go through tons of different interviews and hiring processes, each one different from the last. 

    But if you happen to be fortunate enough to land an interview with Capital One, one of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in the financial services industry, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

    From preparation tactics to presentation skills, here is a list of the 5 Ps that recruiters, hiring managers, and employees suggest familiarizing yourself with if you want to land a job at Capital One.

    Preparation

    First and foremost, you want to be prepared going into a Capital One interview. But prepared for what? According to Anna, an associate software engineer, she found success by familiarizing herself with life at Capital One and doing plenty of research prior to her interview.

    By digging deep and finding some relevant information about the company, Anna prepared herself to have meaningful and in-depth conversations with her recruiter. In doing so, she portrayed herself as both informed and interested in the position, two things that recruiters love to see. 

    In addition to gaining hard knowledge of the company and the role you will be undertaking, another thing you can do to stand out is familiarize yourself with the culture of the company. For example, maybe a company does monthly outings or other social events. Mentioning something like that, which may not have to do directly with your position, is a great way to show you want to work at a company and are looking at it from all aspects.

    Presentation

    Once you’ve dedicated enough time to prepare for the interview, then comes the time to present your knowledge, skills, and most importantly, who you are. In our conversation with Abhishek, a Senior Associate and Enterprise Services Project Manager, he shed some light on what he thinks is the best way to present yourself during an interview.

    Abhishek went on to say how at the end of the day, everyone is similar to one another in the sense that we all have lives and interests, and to present yourself as such helps form a connection that will ultimately work in your favor.

    At the same time, you don’t want to come off as overly familiar or unprofessional. By combining a personable and friendly attitude with a professional and corporate one, you will be able to check off even more boxes as a candidate.

    Patience

    Hand-in-hand with presentation skills comes the ability to be patient. Without it, you risk giving off the wrong impression or missing the chance to demonstrate the full extent of your worth. But interviews are nerve-racking! And oftentimes stressful. So what is an eager prospect like yourself to do?

    According to Senior Recruiter Kelly, the best way to remain and appear patient in an interview is to listen.

    Kelly spoke about how much of a turnoff it is for her as a recruiter when a candidate constantly cuts her off or interrupts her. But she agreed that a lot of the time it’s unintentional. So when you’re interviewing, remember to take a breath, take your time, and try not to worry about filling empty space or replying so quickly. 

    There are several things that public speakers suggest in order to help ease this burden. For example, repeating back the question, using a filling sentence like “that’s a great question,” or “let me think about the best example of that” all are ways you can buy time and make sure you answer the question correctly.

    Passion

    Throughout every conversation we had with the Capital One employees, there was one common trait that they all shared: passion. Passion not only for what they do at Capital One as employees but as individuals and what they do in their personal lives as well. 

    Although it may not seem like it, exuding your passions, whatever they may be, will get you very far in Capital One’s hiring process. Just ask Abhishek.

    “My recruiter and I connected on a very personal level after I mentioned my love of motorcycles. It was then that I realized that the people at Capital One are real people too with interests, passions, and beliefs of their own.”Abhishek, Senior Associate and Enterprise Services Project Manager

    Whether or not you end up sharing interests with your recruiter doesn’t matter. What Capital One wants to see out of people applying is that they can get excited about something, no matter what it is. So if there is something you love and are passionate about, don’t be afraid to mention it during the interview!

    Personality

    One factor that bears a lot of resemblance to your passion is your personality. And although they are similar, your personality has to show so much more than what you’re passionate about.

    We spoke with Student and Graduates Recruiter Addison regarding what the best steps are to show your personality during an interview and she responded with an ode to authenticity.

    Recruiters are able to tell when something sounds rehearsed. And it prevents them from getting a true understanding of who you really are. So during your interview process, make sure you’re confident in portraying yourself not only as a professional but as your true authentic self as well.

    Putting It All Together

    While all of the tips shared by these exceptional associates at Capital One are invaluable, there is one critical piece of information that everyone should remember, and that’s to apply.Now is the time to explore opportunities and really see how far your capabilities can get you. So what are you waiting for? Start browsing open opportunities at Capital One today and find the job of your dreams. More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Rodrigo Mejia Sanchez, Senior Software Engineer

    We’re excited to learn about your story, Rodrigo! Can you start by sharing a little bit about your educational background?

    I have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. I had a bit of experience in programming before, but for all intents and purposes, I essentially started from scratch my freshman year of college. I have done online courses on sites such as Pluralsight, but I don’t have any certifications and would consider most of my education to come from school and on-the-job experience.

    Related: Check out our partners who offer upskilling and certification opportunities.

    Which educational opportunities have made the biggest impact on your tech career?

    Definitely my formal education. It gave me a structured learning environment with lots of resources to advance my career. I also gained many non-technical soft skills, understood how to go about engaging potential employers, and learned the “how” and “why” behind common software engineering processes.

    What would you like to learn more about?

    I would like to learn more about hardware. I personally enjoy tinkering with small microcontrollers and bare-bones computers such as Raspberry Pis and Arduinos. I’m also currently enamored by the maker movement and am trying to expand my 3D modeling/printing skills, and eventually pick up some woodworking skills too.

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    I went to a programming summer camp in middle school. I learned to make video games through a drag-and-drop game engine and fell in love with it. I didn’t touch it much again until college, but that summer made me certain tech was what I wanted to study and pursue.

    Related: What are the Best Programming Languages to Get a Software Developer Job?

    How has your skillset evolved over the course of your career?

    Initially, my skillset centered around a lot of theoretical knowledge and I had a focus on making “clever” code. Over time, I’ve learned that readable and easily changeable code is much more valuable. It’s easy to write new code but it’s hard to refactor and maintain it. I have also broadened my skillset with lots of Linux knowledge and that has been really valuable for debugging difficult production issues.

    If you choose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    I haven’t decided to specialize, but automation is a common theme in my job roles. I particularly like it because it’s often about scaling up an existing process and understanding how many different systems come together to solve a problem. Plus, it’s needed in almost all industries, so the diversity of problems keeps me engaged.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    I went from a large corporate financial firm, Goldman Sachs, to a small insurance tech startup called Owl.co. My title is roughly the same, but my current team/company feels much more focused. I enjoy that the work we do is directly related to the core business model, and I enjoy that the smaller size allows for more flexibility when coming up with solutions to engineering challenges.

    What are some of the things you’re most excited about in your new role or company?

    The opportunity to work within a smaller and more focused organization is a major aspect that excited me. Additionally, the prospect of being able to contribute to making an industry slightly less biased and more consumer-friendly is another plus. I had a goal in mind when seeking my next role. I wanted to work somewhere I could be proud of the product and the impact it had on people.

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    It mainly consisted of LinkedIn recruiters reaching out to me and me applying on my own to companies I thought would be interesting. I had many traditional financial roles that recruiters reached out to me for. It was difficult to peel away from the perception that because I worked at a large financial firm, I was mainly interested in finance. I was actually more interested in working for places with an exciting product or interesting engineering problems. I wanted to turn away from finance to avoid being pigeonholed into a certain skill set or role.

    Related: Build Confidence and Take Control of Your Tech Job Search Series

    What’s your best advice for job seekers registered on the Hired platform? 

    Contrary to the “spray and pray” approach on other platforms such as LinkedIn, it makes more sense to focus on roles that actually seem interesting. I noticed that companies reaching out on Hired actually had a substantial interest already. So, it was less about casting a wide net to identify leads, and more about deciding if I could actually see myself working at the companies that contacted me. Also, being really responsive on the platform was key. I felt more eager to proceed with interviews when a company reached out on Hired as opposed to another platform.

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    Try it out! There’s no cost and creating a profile is really easy so you have nothing to lose. I had a really positive experience with companies and with Hired employees as they assisted me through my job search. Also, know that you can conveniently pause your profile if you find yourself with many ongoing interviews.

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Don’t be discouraged by many rejections. The technical interview is not a good measure of how good of an engineer you may be. It is simply a tool used during the recruiting process. Focus more on finding the right company for what you are looking for and you may be surprised at what you find in places you weren’t originally looking.

    Related: Get more practice with technical interviews through events like coding challenges.

    About Owl.co

    Owl.co is an enterprise software company leading a change in how insurers verify the legitimacy of claims by replacing a bias-prone and labor-intensive process with a data-driven one. Founded in 2018, Owl.co has between 51-200 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver.

    Tech Stack

    TypeScript, Clojure, Python, TensorFlow, AWS

    Benefits

    Health/dental/vision/life/disability insurance, performance bonus, 401K matching, paid time off, mentorship opportunities, flexible working hours, and more. More

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    Interviewing After a Layoff? How to Be Confident & Become a Top Candidate

    The third article in our series to help jobseekers bounce back better than ever…

    Once you’ve absorbed the news of a layoff, organized your financials, and taken the next steps to kick off your job search, you’re ready. It’s time to begin interviewing after your layoff. Employed but concerned about the stability of your role or company? Use this article series to get organized and feel more prepared for changes.

    Win at Interviewing after a Layoff

    Securing interviews starts with job applications. Prioritize your job applications at a high volume, but what’s the best way to end with success? According to Pathrise Growth Marketing Associate Alex Macpherson and Career Strategist Mentor Ash Ayvar, it’s best to diversify your application sources by using multiple job boards and sending personalized cold emails to recruiters.

    Cold Email Tips and Tricks for Communicating with Hiring Teams from Pathrise

    Before you start sending out cold emails, there are a few things you need to know:

    Make sure to submit your application alongside or before you send a cold email.Focus your cold emailing efforts toward roles you feel passionate about and companies you would be excited to join. Narrow your focus to organizations with less than 500 people. This increases the likelihood someone will read and take action on your message.Stick to the weekends or early in the week when sending cold emails – if you send them on a Thursday or Friday, they’re less likely to be read. If you must, use ‘schedule send’ features, like in Gmail.It’s ok to send your cold email to multiple people within an organization, but keep the number of contacts to three or four at max. Choose contacts from different teams and divisions, too, or else you risk your email coming off as spammy. Don’t CC – send a separate email to each contact, even if your copy is the same.

    Pro Tip:

    These emails don’t have to be totally “cold.” Follow the guidance in Chapter 2 of this series, to grow your network through social media and informational interviews. That work may pay off in some “warm” leads on jobs or referrals. Proactive actions like this often reveal roles that haven’t been posted yet. In fact, this work cuts down on the outreach talent acquisition and sourcers need to do – you’re helping them!

    It’s worth noting, for technologists and sales or customer experience professionals who join the Hired platform, this type of outreach becomes unnecessary. Hired turns the job search dynamic upside down and once your profile is complete, we promote you to matching employers and roles. Employers search for you, requesting interviews with compensation information upfront. You decide which interviews you wish to accept – you can even pause your profile if you get too many interview requests at once. See how Hired works here.

    When Interviewing After a Layoff, Be Authentic and Upfront

    Many candidates suffer some anxiety and nervousness about discussing their layoffs in subsequent interviews. Fortunately, you really don’t need to worry so much about it. Be upfront and authentic in how you talk about the situation. Keep your answers focused – there’s no need to go into lots of information about the layoff and waste valuable interview time. 

    Do acknowledge the layoff and explain it with relevant context. It may be helpful to give specific details. For example, is there a factual number or percentage of how many employees on your team or overall were laid off? Weave it in. Doing so helps your interviewer better understand your situation and illustrates you were one of many. 

    Was the reduction in force (RIF) part of a merger or acquisition? If the employer is a publicly-traded company, they may have disclosed multiple reasons in shareholder communications or in published articles you could reference. Layoffs happen for a variety of causes and the point is not to dwell on it, especially when such workforce decisions are beyond your control. 

    In general, employers know layoffs are painful to talk about and will respect the information you choose to provide. Find a positive from the experience and lean into it. It might be how proud you were of your team while there, because XYZ. Or, how the time off allowed you to pursue a certification you didn’t have time for before. Maybe the change inspired you to do something you wouldn’t have done otherwise, like train for a marathon or pivot careers. Perhaps it allowed you time to spend with loved ones when they needed you. 

    Pro Tip:

    As part of your pre-interview research, study any “core values” or mission statements the company has. Do not parrot these, but think about how your experiences, while working and while laid off, align with these ideals and echo them in your answers. 

    For example, JPMorgan Chase & Co., says on their site, “In a fast-moving and increasingly complex global economy, our success depends on how faithfully we adhere to our core principles: delivering exceptional client service; acting with integrity and responsibility; and supporting the growth of our employees.” 

    When discussing your career or time during a layoff, could you share examples where you: 

    delivered exceptional service, or went above and beyond expectations? acted with integrity and responsibility, or did the right thing, even when it may have been difficult? supported the growth of employees, or facilitated the development of others, as a volunteer, a coach, or a parent? 

    Related: How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question for Tech Talent, Video Interviews 101: How to Impress in the Digital Age

    Highlight Your Growth During Employment Gaps

    Resume or employment gaps are another area of concern for job seekers following a layoff, no matter how much time has passed. How will you explain that time? 

    Focus on how you’ve grown during this period and turn this gap into an asset. Highlight what you’ve done to enhance your skills instead of allowing them to fade during this period.

    Tell your interviewer about the things you’ve done to improve your skills and build new ones during the layoff period. Whether you took an online course or worked a temporary contract job, it shows you have been proactive. Maybe you volunteered your skills to a local nonprofit. 

    Employers know layoffs put individuals in less-than-ideal circumstances, so they appreciate an interviewee who has demonstrated commitment to professional growth and development in spite of them. 

    Related: Flip the Script: How to Handle an Employment Gap on Your Resume

    Spotlight Your Past Performance & Growth

    Share the value you’ve provided through your work, even on your last team. When you offer achievements and results, this information becomes more impactful to your candidacy than your layoff. Detail the metrics of your work and share highlights of your past projects establishing you as a valuable asset to your team or organization.

    Keep Your Head Up – You Can Do This

    The layoff period is often a humbling time for many. During these days, weeks, or months, you’ve likely done your fair share of reflection on your experience and your career. Share insights about what you learned during this period while highlighting your resilience and unwavering confidence. 

    No matter what you’ve been through during your layoff, it’s crucial to remain optimistic about the interview process. No matter what role you are interviewing for, character matters. Your positivity in spite of an unfortunate situation reflects best on your character. Resist any urges to speak bitterly about your past employers and focus on the new opportunities ahead of you.

    Interviewing After a Layoff is for You, Too

    Post-layoff job seeking can be tricky. While you want to secure a new job as soon as possible, don’t rush yourself too much. Balance this time between searching for new roles and making sure the urge to get hired right away doesn’t lead you to compromise your career goals.

    The interview can teach you a lot about your potential new work environment so you can decide if it’s the right fit – both culture-wise and in terms of job security. Here are some example questions to help you elicit this information when interviewing after a layoff:

    Why are you proud to work here?Do you feel supported in your career growth and professional development by this organization? How does the organization make you feel that way?What’s the process like for providing feedback to a team member?Is collaboration encouraged here? If so, how?Tell me about a time when you saw the company’s main values in action.Has this company ever gone through layoffs in the past? If so, how were they handled?Can you tell me about the company’s financial situation? Is it profitable? Are future investments secured? The company’s solvency is a legitimate question, especially if you’ve experienced layoffs due to cost-cutting measures. Be respectful, and read the room, but don’t feel like you can’t politely inquire at all. Also, do your homework. Don’t ask questions with answers available to you via Google. 

    Related: Ace Your Interview & Get Your Questions Answered

    Cheers to Your New Role!

    The discomfort of interviewing after a layoff doesn’t have to derail your future job search. Take the time to process the situation and decide what you want moving forward. Set yourself up for success during your job search by honing your network beforehand. When it’s time for interviews, be confident and highlight the positives you’ve achieved over this time.

    Related: Chapter 1: Part of a Layoff? Steps Jobseekers in Tech & Sales Need to Take First

    Chapter 2: Laid Off? Next Steps to Find Your Dream Job in Tech or Sales More

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    Laid Off? Next Steps to Find Your Dream Job in Tech or Sales

    The second article in our series to help jobseekers bounce back from a layoff better than ever…

    If you’ve ever been laid off, you know it’s a mixed bag of emotions. Refer to Chapter 1 in our series for the first steps to take once you’ve heard the news. After you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, think about how you’re going to use your time. While many throw themselves into an all-consuming job search after being laid off, it may not be the best strategy for you. To avoid added stress, divide your time between jobseeking, upskilling, and self-care. Consider spending time volunteering to benefit your mental health, keep your skills fresh, and expand your network.

    Once it’s time to start the job search – use these 9 steps to find the roles you want and make the most out of your mission.

    Laid Off Next Steps #1 – Tap into your Network

    Start your job search with the familiar – your existing network. In fact, your network is one of the best sources you have for job offers and hires. Do you know how powerful referrals are in helping you get hired? Referrals are 4X more likely to be hired, so lean into your network for them.

    It’s not always what you know but who you know that may help you land the job, or at least get your foot in the door. While this doesn’t replace having the right skills and qualifications for the role, leveraging who you know including acquaintances and friends of friends can be your ticket to landing that first interview. People may offer warm introductions to recruiters or hiring managers and if you ask them about their company’s referral program, there is a good chance they can cash in on you landing the job. 

    Do your research on open roles and make it easy for people to connect with you online as well as offline. If you’re not particularly social, consider joining shared interest groups. Practice cold outreach on LinkedIn to get out of your comfort zone while you are job hunting. 

    Related: Check out this list of community and networking partners available to jobseekers on Hired!

    Pro Tip: Networking goes both ways

    It’s most effective when you network even when you’re not looking for a new role. Keep in touch with your network to avoid contacting someone only when you’re looking for help. Reshare their posts. Connect them with other professionals in your network you think would be helpful to them. Are they hiring for a role outside of your position or specialty? Refer a qualified candidate to them from your network. Help them too.

    Laid Off Next Steps #2 – Leverage Social Media

    Get involved on social media to make connections, gain industry insights from other professionals, and learn about new tools to aid in your job search success. 

    When it comes to ‘laid off next steps,’ VP of Community Outreach, Raleigh-Durham NC Chapter of Blacks in Technology LaShawnda Rodgers suggests, “#techtwitter is a great resource to help you grow your tech career if you leverage it the right way. I agree tapping into your network is a plus but asking the right questions during informational interviews is profound. When I mentor people who want to grow in tech, I advise them to ask other professionals about: 

    “a day in their life” at their companystrengths needed for someone to excel in the roleif the company has events open to the public so you can continue to meet new people.”

    Related: Learn more about Hired Partner Blacks in Technology.

    Laid Off Next Steps #3 – Set up Informational Interviews

    Informational interviews are a great way to network with people working in areas that interest you. This type of networking allows you to establish valuable connections with contacts who can help further your career and help you land your new role.

    Informational interviews are just that – informational. You’re interviewing them – this is not a job interview for you. Expect an opportunity to share a little about your background and what you’re looking for, but overall, use these conversations as opportunities to learn more about a specific company, a role/job title, someone’s career path, and/or what it’s like to work for a start-up versus a global company of tens of thousands. Review their LinkedIn profile. Prepare questions, but keep it conversational. 

    Informational interview framework

    These informational interviews shouldn’t be long – about 15 minutes is ideal. Follow this framework to help achieve the results you want and gain referrals.

    Take a minute or two to build rapport with your contact.Next, spend a few minutes on introductions and the topic of the interview. Ask them about themselves and allow them to give their elevator pitch. Acknowledge what they’ve said and then give your elevator pitch. Once the introductions are done, tell them what it is you want to discuss and why.Now spend some time listening to the advice they give about your topic. Take notes!Finally, ask for what you want. Give a summary of the information you were just given to show value and ask about the referral process.Wrap up the conversation. Later on, thank them for their time and insight with a well-crafted email that expresses your goal and the value you offer. Update your spreadsheet. It will be easier to keep track of your networking activities if you track who you’ve spoken with, how you know/found them, what was discussed, and the next steps or action items. Plus, if you’re required to submit job search activities for unemployment compensation, this documentation is really helpful. 

    Laid Off Next Steps #4 – Join Professional Communities

    Professional communities are a great place to build your network and meet the people who can help you land the perfect new job. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

    Laid Off Next Steps #5 – Volunteer: It Pays in a lot of Ways

    If you want to achieve more than just an expanded network, consider taking some time to volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to improve yourself all-around and can even help you continue to develop new contacts. Helping others positively benefits your mental health, so why not use your time to give back and help yourself in the process? 

    There are many non-profits that may be in need of your skills. Use these opportunities to continue honing those skills and making good use of them. Plus, volunteer work provides the opportunity to expand your network and bank skills and experience for your resume. Plus, when interviewers ask what you’ve been doing during your layoff, you have great responses ready to go. Here are some organizations for volunteering ideas.

    Laid Off Next Steps #6 – Check Out Educational Resources

    If you want to pivot into a different career path or are interested in obtaining new skills, educational resources are another great place to build your network. 

    President of the New England chapter of Blacks in Technology Rosemary Garabot says, “Look around your community for free or low-cost events like BSides. Sign up to pursue a new certification in a program with hands-on labs so you can build new skills.”

    Related: Hired Partners offer upskilling, certifications, and bootcamps.

    Laid Off Next Steps #7 – Prep for Technical Interviews

    Rodgers suggests, “For those pursuing technical roles, it’s important to prepare for technical interviews. Take some time to work on collaborative projects, showcase your work, and get beneficial feedback. GitHub is a great resource where you can virtually work on projects and collaborate with others.”

    Related: Hired Partners, such as Educative, Exponent, Pathrise, and Interview Kickstart, offer interview prep. SitePoint offers a library of resources to prep and upskill in various coding languages. In addition, developers on the Hired platform can earn badges for their profile using Hired Assessments. Demonstrating skills through earning badges increases the chances of interview requests and better offers.

    Laid Off Next Steps #8 – Refine Your Resume & Elevator Pitch

    Your networking conversations and interactions are invaluable for learning the markers of success in the roles you want. Now that you have this information from your network of insiders, use these elements to further refine your resume and elevator pitch to help you stand out in your search.

    Laid Off Next Steps #9 – Lock In Your References

    Once you start interviewing, references will be critical to the success of your job search. Take time now to lock in key references reinforcing your job performance and work ethic. A reference from your previous manager is also a great tool to ease any concerns about your layoff during the hiring process.

    Ask former colleagues to write testimonials about their experiences working with you. You’re not limited to former supervisors. Colleagues you worked with cross-functionally, peers, reports, even former customers and vendors may be willing to testify to positive experiences working with you.

    With LinkedIn’s recommendation feature, you can ask for a one while offering to write one for them. Positive testimonials about working with someone never hurt, even if your reference is totally content in their role. 

    Ready? It’s Time to Tackle Interviews

    Maximizing your network is a powerful tactic to help you not only learn more about different roles and discover open positions – it may also be the key to getting hired. Get ready to win your post-layoff interviews with Chapter 3: Interviewing After a Layoff.

    Ready to find your dream job in tech or sales? Turn the job search upside down when you complete a profile on Hired. Employers filter based on your skills and preferences to match with you, and request interviews with the compensation information upfront. 

    Sign up with Hired today or re-activate your profile if it’s been a while since you were looking.  More

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    Part of a Layoff? Steps Jobseekers in Tech & Sales Need to Take First

    Chapter 1 of a series to help jobseekers bounce back better than ever (or to feel better prepared in uncertain times)

    If you’ve ever been laid off you know it’s often an emotional time full of uncertainty – but it doesn’t have to be that way! Welcome to part one of a blog series to help anyone laid off dust themselves off and spin it into a positive. Likewise, if you’re employed but concerned about the stability of your company or role, use this article series to get organized. It will help you feel better prepared regardless. Learn what to do after a layoff and the steps to take to set yourself up for a successful job search.

    1. Process Emotions After a Layoff

    Losing a job often feels like a loss that comes in waves. Some days, you may feel liberated, optimistic, and perhaps excited for what is to come. Other days, you may feel overwhelmed, confused, or just plain sad. It’s a form of grief in many ways. 

    It’s ok to process your loss, whatever form it may have taken. Recognize you are more than your accomplishments or a job title. Your worth is not tied to your productivity. Remind yourself that nobody is immune, from top performers to leaders, it can happen to anyone. 

    Give yourself time to process a recent layoff and any series of job rejections. Your feelings may surface unexpectedly, and it’s ok to feel them without letting them overrule your life. Sometimes you need to take a few steps backward before you can move forward.

    2. Get Financially Organized Post-Layoff

    Once you’ve taken a beat to absorb the news, it’s time to sort out your financials. It helps you feel productive, in control, and more secure during the time between roles. Find the answers to any questions you may have about your 401k, severance pay, filing for unemployment, and your health insurance. Next, take a financial inventory of your situation and set a budget for your current circumstances.

    Take Care of Money & Healthcare Matters

    After a layoff, there are some loose ends to clear up, such as your final paycheck, any pre-tax withholding accounts, (401ks, employee stock purchase plans, HSAs), unemployment options, and healthcare.

    Most of this information should be included as part of the packet from your HR or Employee Success team. It’s easy to be overwhelmed during those meetings, though, so give yourself some grace if you can’t remember some things. Or, if you need to reach out to them afterward. 

    Here are some financial areas to organize after a layoff: 

    Your last paycheckSeverance payYour 401kUnemployment insuranceHealthcare options

    Your Last Paycheck

    Things may be a bit different from what you’re used to regarding your final paycheck. If you normally have your checks direct deposited, don’t count on that money effortlessly hitting your bank account as usual. Many states require employers to provide a physical check for the final payment. This gives former employees easy access to paystub information. If necessary, make arrangements with your former employer to pick up your check in person or mailed to your home.

    Per the US Department of Labor, there are no federal laws requiring a final paycheck to be given to a former employee immediately following a layoff. Depending on your location, there may be state laws mandating immediate payment when a layoff occurs. Some states only require the final paycheck delivered on or prior to what would have been your next regular payday. 

    If your company withheld money from your paycheck for an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP), any monies awaiting the next purchase period may be refunded from a separate account. This might be in the form of a second electronic transfer or check. Verify any money withheld and itemized on your final paycheck is included in the refund of the ESPP monies. 

    To learn more about your state’s final paycheck guidelines, search for your state’s Department of Labor. Many states have made this information available online, or you can contact a representative for assistance. 

    Severance Pay

    Severance pay can offer you a bit of a financial safety net while you’re between roles. However, severance isn’t a guarantee as there are no federal laws mandating it for everyone. A few states have mandatory severance pay laws covering planned layoffs at large organizations. Find this information with your state’s Department of Labor.

    Your employment contract or the company’s severance policy in your employee handbook should tell you what to expect as far as severance from your former employer. The amount of severance pay offered is up to the discretion of the company unless you have previously negotiated it as part of your contract. 

    If the layoff is a result of an acquisition or merger, severance may be determined as part of the agreement and vary from what your company paid before.

    Typically, severance pay amounts to one to two weeks of normal pay for every year you worked for the business. In some cases, severance takes the form of paid insurance premiums or other compensation than cash. 

    What About Your 401k?

    If you’ve been paying into a 401k at your former job, you’ll need to decide how to manage this money after an employment separation. You have three options: leave it alone, cash it out, or roll it over. If you’re uncertain about what to do, talking to a financial planner who can thoroughly explain your options may be helpful. Your former employer may also provide resources to determine the next steps. 

    Typically, if you have more than $5,000 in your 401k account, you can keep this money in your existing plan. While you won’t be able to continue contributing to these savings, you do retain control regarding how it is invested within the plan. By keeping the money in your existing plan, you won’t have to pay taxes or penalties on a withdrawal and the funds will continue to gain interest.A layoff is an uncertain financial time, and some job seekers choose to cash out their 401ks to help with the absence of a regular paycheck. However, withdrawing these funds will also come with penalties and taxes. Consider this a last resort.If you’re considering moving your retirement savings out of your former employer’s plan but don’t want to withdraw it and pay penalties, you can roll over your funds to a new account. Many choose to roll over a 401k into an IRA. Or, you can leave the money sitting in your existing account until you land a new position elsewhere. Most plans allow you to roll over funds from an existing 401k to a new one when your employment changes.

    Unemployment Insurance

    Filing for unemployment benefits can provide much-needed funds when you’re between roles. Requirements vary from state to state, but generally, an applicant must be:

    unemployed through no fault of their own, eligible according to the state’s requirements for previously earned wages, and able to and actively seeking work. 

    Many states allow you to apply for unemployment benefits online through the state’s Department of Workforce Development or similar. 

    If you’ve never filed for unemployment before, it’s okay. You’ve paid into it for probably your entire working life, and there’s no shame in receiving it. It’s there to help bridge the gap during times like these. 

    Generally, once you’re approved, you’ll receive an amount determined on a sliding scale based on your previous income. There are often requirements involved to continue receiving income from the program, such as weekly reporting of job search activity. Be sure to keep up with any tasks, to avoid the inconvenience of a payment disruption. 

    Caution, this is, sadly, also an area rife with fraud. Be vigilant and protect yourself from phishing scams, especially through texts and emails. 

    Healthcare Options

    Healthcare uncertainties are a big stressor for many people following a layoff. Depending on your healthcare benefits from your previous role, you may be able to keep your current coverage through the end of the month your layoff took place. Be sure to ask your former employer for clarification on when you can expect this coverage to end.

    Make a plan for what you’ll do when you reach this point – you have a few options:

    Opt for COBRA coverage within 60 days of your layoff to keep your existing health insurance.Choose an alternative healthcare plan on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.Check with your state to find out if you are eligible for Medicaid or another state-sponsored healthcare plan.Join a family member’s employer-sponsored healthcare plan. Regardless of enrollment periods, joining your family member’s plan is categorized as a “life qualifying event” and allows you to enroll outside of the annual open enrollment window.Purchase a short-term healthcare plan.

    3. Set Your Budget

    Without a steady paycheck, it’s oh so important to sort out a budget and stick to it. Take an inventory of your existing financial resources to determine what funds you have available. These resources may include:

    Severance payPaid out unused leave daysEmergency savingsPartner’s salaryRetirement accountsCompany stock

    Next, map out your spending and see what your existing budget is like. Seeing where your money is currently going will help you see where adjustments can be made.

    There are many resources to help you get assets, liabilities, and even goals all on the same page. Some include Mint, YNAB, and Honeydue. 

    4. Plan Your Next Steps

    Once you have a handle on your emotions and manage the above details, you can start to prepare for the job search ahead. Get into the right mindset and define your mission to increase your chances of success.

    Gain Career Clarity

    Before you get into the busywork of updating your resume and looking for new positions, take some time to determine what you want and need from your next job. Find clarity regarding the direction you want to see your career take as you move forward. Reflect and identify:

    Your major career goalsThe type of work you enjoyWhat’s important to your career growthYour ideal work/life balance?Your values and dealbreakers?

    Evaluate the Job Market

    Once you’ve nailed down the vision for your career, it’s time to evaluate the current job market. Before you begin searching for new roles, understand the present demand for your experience and skills. This information helps you determine if you need to modify salary expectations from your previous position.

    Hired.com Salary Calculator

    Hired.com Salaries Directory

    Set a Timeline

    Establish a timeline for your job search. When can you start? What’s your deadline for finding a new job? Evaluate your present circumstances regarding availability, financial status, and skills development needs to set a realistic timeframe for your search, from scanning job ads to starting your new role.

    Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

    Before you start an active job search, it’s important to update your information. Now is the time to optimize your resume and LinkedIn profile to best reflect the role you want and help you stand out to recruiters. Here are some resources to help:

    Develop Your Career Story

    A layoff often feels devastating at first, but it doesn’t define your career. Before you start your job search, you need to write your career story and build your personal brand. 

    Decide how you want to frame your layoff when questioned about it. Focus on your experiences, talents, and skills rather than the details of what happened. Be confident in how you will present yourself, and update your social media profiles so they best align with the story you want to tell.

    Consider a Side Hustle

    A side hustle can be a good solution to earn money during the in-between time after a layoff and before you land a new job. While a side hustle may not become a permanent full-time employment solution at this time, it can help provide some financial security and allow you to continue developing your skills. Whether you have a current side hustle or are considering starting one, think of it as a supplement to job searching. 

    Ready to Start Your Job Search?

    Now that you’ve taken the time to emotionally process your layoff, sort out your personal needs, and decide what you want moving forward, you’re ready to find a perfect new role. 

    Complete your free profile on Hired. Instead of searching for a job, employers search for you. Be sure to optimize your profile for the best matches (tips from the Candidate Experience Team). 

    Check out Chapter 2: Post-Layoff Job Search Plan to turn the page on this chapter of your life and begin a new one. More

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    How Citi is Paving the Way for African Americans in Finance

    Ever since Maggie Lena Walker established and presided over the first bank to service black organizations, African Americans have been shaping the history of finance. 100 years later, people of color are still making contributions that leave everlasting impacts on the industry.

    Although a lot of progress has been made for people of color (POC) in the banking and finance space, they are still at a disadvantage. The facts of the matter are that POC are disproportionately represented in finance and face a harder time breaking into the industry than their caucasian counterparts.

    As a company that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion, Citi identifies with these issues wholeheartedly. Citi also knows that if these trends continue, an entire legacy of future Maggie Walkers might cease to exist. Even worse, the ideas that these people of color would have contributed to the space would never see the light of day, slowing down the evolution of the finance world as we know it.

    In order to allow diverse mindsets to continue benefiting their company and the industry as a whole, Citi has made sure to create a space where people of color not only feel welcome but motivated to succeed as well. In order to do that, they have rolled out a series of initiatives that are paving the way for people of color in finance. The first of which has to do with their recruiting strategy.

    HBCU Recruiting and Presence

    In order to employ the brightest minds, first, you have to find them. That’s why Citi decided to set up an aggressive recruiting strategy at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). And we’re not just talking about free koozies and stickers. Citi is going to these campuses and doing presentations on diversity and inclusion, educating students about opportunities, and portraying itself as a company where people of color can really succeed.

    Here is what Global Banking Analyst Brianna Demming had to say about the impression Citi left when they visited Howard University during her time as an undergraduate.

    By continuing to establish meaningful relationships with students at HBCUs, Citi intends on building a workforce that includes both incredibly talented individuals and people from diverse backgrounds.

    HBCU Alumni Network

    By creating groups and communities that allow people from similar backgrounds to come together and share thoughts, companies can create new environments to help their employees thrive. That’s why Citi established the HBCU Alumni Network! As you might be able to infer, the HBCU Alumni Network is a group at Citi that allows alumni from different HBCUs to connect, network, and help one another grow. Which, for a lot of people, helped them succeed and learn in a lot of ways. 

    My involvement with the HBCU Alumni Network has taught me the importance of being proactive when you’re on a team. I was tasked to work alongside another team member to initiate contact with 19 schools. I hesitated on whether I should wait for him to reach out first since he has been employed at Citi longer than me but I ended up having the courage to set up the first meeting. He expressed how impressed he was that I took charge right away and set up a strong foundation for the work we’ll be completing together. That experience taught me to never doubt myself or my capabilities, even if I may be the youngest on the team, and if there is an opportunity to showcase your skills or leadership, you always jump at it! Brianna Demming, Global Consumer Banking Analyst

    Through her involvement with the HBCU Alumni Network, Brianna not only gained more experience and confidence in herself, but she also made a good impression on her colleague. All around wins.

    Black Heritage Network

    Similar to the HBCU Alumni Network is the Black Heritage Network affinity group at Citi. Within this group, people of color can come together, socialize, share their thoughts, seek out mentors, and essentially just share space with people who are similar to them.

    After you graduate, the number of groups and organizations you can join to socialize, grow yourself, and feel welcome gets cut in half. When these groups are no longer available, especially in the corporate world, some individuals face issues that diminish their productivity and most importantly, their self-worth. That’s why establishing affinity groups is so advantageous and why Citi chose to do it themselves.

    POC in Leadership Positions

    One very direct way to help people of color succeed in the finance realm is to place them in leadership and management positions. By doing so, you not only diversify the leadership on your team, but you also create mentors, idols, and individuals who people from similar backgrounds can identify with. As a result, students and job-seeking individuals become more inclined to apply for positions at the company.

    No one likes being the only spotted duck in the pond. It’s comforting to grow with and be trained by others who have similar experiences to you. They are the only ones who can truly understand what it takes to succeed in this business with a background similar to my own.

    As Chike said, it’s comforting to grow and be trained by people who are similar to you. When you can relate to these people, it makes the relationship better on all ends. Corporate Banking Analyst Brielle Self had a similar experience with her mentor during her time at Howard. 

    If it weren’t for Citi putting Brielle’s mentor into that Campus Ambassador position, it’s possible that Brielle may have never ended up at Citi. By creating this position and ones like it, Citi now has talent pipelines that will draw in some of the brightest minds in finance for years to come. Pipelines that might just end up finding you one day.

    What’s Next for Citi?

    While these initiatives may seem bold, Citi has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. Much like the Action for Racial Equity Initiative, a $1 billion+ commitment to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the United States, the ideas Citi is putting forth will have a substantial impact on the industry and the world for years to come. 

    If this is an endeavor that you would like to be a part of and contribute to, check out the positions Citi is currently hiring for. Who knows, in just a few years it could be you leading the change. More