Breaking into Tech from a Traditional Media and Publishing Background | Life In Tech by Bessy Tam

Breaking into Tech from a Traditional Media and Publishing Background

Published on 23 December 2020 by Bessy Tam | Filed in Testimonials

Annie didn't even know where to start or how to figure out what role and companies were the right fit for her

She had trouble translating her experiences into tech, she’s worked in multiple industries and roles in her career, including a small business that she started with her sister.

She didn’t know:

  • What was out there
  • What jobs she should be looking at given her background
  • What a “good” resume or interview looked like (she never really applied for a job before)
  • What job was the right fit
  • nor what skills from her experiences were relevant. 

Her job search ended up being very vague and didn't know where she wanted to go, she just knew she wanted to get into tech

She even tried working with other coaches before but they were too generic and weren't as focused.

So she needed my help to understand how to approach the job search, given I have broken into tech from a traditional background and have helped other clients do the same.

We worked together in my All-In-One program, starting with the Resume Revamp and Choosing the Right Role process; identifying that account management or customer service would be a great fit for her.

Second, we were able to align on some of the key projects at her job, to make sure that she could get the right skill sets or projects to support her resume.

Lastly, when she got interviews after doing outreach, we were able to support her interview process by outreaching to the right people in the specific roles and learning more about how the role and music industry worked.

In the end, she was able to get a customer service representative role from Musiio and got everything that she wanted!

  • A role in customer service
  • Transition into tech to the music industry, something she was passionate about
  • Move to Singapore from Hong Kong to have more opportunities and exposure in the tech space
  • Negotiate a higher salary

Without further ado, here’s Annie sharing her story in her own words:

Challenges

I was at a point in my career where I’ve had other jobs, but my background seemed all over the place. There was no real selling point or storyline to show what I've done in my career or what I can do for others. 

And my job search didn't work because I also kept switching to different industries. The roles or titles in my resume didn't have any consistent story. So I didn’t know what roles to go for, or what was the right fit for me.

"I kept switching to different industries. The roles or titles in my resume didn't have any consistent story. So I didn’t know what roles to go for, or what was the right fit for me."

I found Bessy through a friend who recommended her saying that she had actually made the jump herself into a tech company, which is exactly what I had been wanting.

Bessy is different because her work and message is very specific, “You might not work in a tech company now, but I'm going to help you get to one.” 

What I've Tried

And I tried working with other coaches before but they were very generic. And so it didn't do much for me or give me the results that I wanted because it wasn't as focused.

Working with Bessy - Resume Revamp and Role Fit

Bessy helped me understand my goals and broke down the challenge. A lot of the process had to do with her deep understanding of the tech industry and matching that with the specifics of what I had done before.

By flushing them out, Bessy was able to select exactly what experiences are needed to be brought forth. And it made very clear and apparent for future employers to look at.
 

"Bessy was able to select exactly what experiences are needed to be brought forth. And it made very clear and apparent for future employers to look at."

This Resume Revamp process probably two sessions alone with her.

Working with Bessy allowed me to see what I did that would be helpful to any kind of tech company and the specific roles.

Because Bessy knows the tech industry well and she also knew the roles that my experiences were leaning towards, Bessy was able to give really good and specific advice on:

  •  the things that I needed regarding skills
  • how to build up those skills
  • what specifically to ask for or work towards in a role or expanding my current role

The Role fit and Resume helped me get a thought on what I needed to be doing, not just what I can present to other people.

Working with Bessy - Outreach Strategy

Bessy suggested using an outreach strategy to talk to people, get a feel for the roles that I wanted to apply for.

I landed a job interview and I used Bessy’s outreach strategy and reached out to a hundred people and asked the people in the roles that I was applying for: “Could you tell me more about what you're doing?”

And that helped me land the job because by the time I got to the interview with the CEO, it was very apparent that I knew what I was talking about. And I also managed to get some industry information that even the CEO didn't have since I reached out to people who were in the same industry or were even clients of the company that I was interviewing for.

"By the time I got to the interview with the CEO, it was very apparent that I knew what I was talking about. And I also managed to get some industry information that even the CEO didn't have"

Landing the Offer

So I got a final offer with this company, a Music AI company in Singapore, during COVID. It is very suited to me and my background since it's an AI company that is very much within the tech space.

This final result aligns completely to my interests because I wanted to move into a tech company. It's amazing that it's in the music industry, which is something I'm actually really interested in.

"It's amazing that it's in the music industry, which is something I'm actually really interested in."

Working with Bessy to Negotiate the Offer

Bessy knew the tech industry, knew the roles that I was leaning towards, and knew how to negotiate with people. She knew how to create conversations with people in my then company to explore “what more can I do within the company that I'm in?” and “What can I do with somebody who works in a different company?”, just to see what's out there.

When it got to the negotiation stage, I think the best advice Bessy ever gave was, “do not rush this. Slow it down as much as possible and Give yourself time to think, to ask more questions and just really be okay with everything.” Instead of just letting desperation ride me.

If everything had been rushed and done within the first week, I would've just taken the first offer. I wouldn't have reached out more. I wouldn't have thought about the offer more.

"If everything had been rushed and done within the first week, I would've just taken the first offer. I wouldn't have reached out more. I wouldn't have thought about the offer more. "

Who would you recommend this program to?

I think the service is good for anybody who is not:

  • clear about how to redo their resume
  • clear about what they want to aim for
  • sure what their skills or background would be good

Having a clear storyline on, “Hey, this is what I can do!”, makes it much easier to go for future jobs and to know what you need to focus on professionally in terms of skills as well.

I think the service is good for anybody who are unclear about that.

Future clients should expect a lot of clarity on what to aim for through Bessy’s programs. You might know that you want something different in your career or might want something better, but you might not know how to get there.

And this will help.

It's almost like therapy. You can't go in and fight or fight your counselor. Even if you're not comfortable, even if you don't like it, just do it anyway and then see what results come out of it.

Applying to tech companies but
getting crickets? I’ve been there!

Get the FREE 7-day email course to understand:

  • Is Tech Even Right For You?
  • What Your Natural Entry Point Could Be in Tech (includes a comprehensive worksheet)
  • The Top 5 Mistakes You’re Making Right Now
  • The Resume Revamp Checklist
  • Top Questions to Expect in a Tech Interview and How to Tackle Them
  • Tips and Tricks to Negotiate What You Want in the Interview Process

BONUS the exact resume I used to get a 100% interview to offer rate!

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About the Author

Bessy Tam is a career coach who helps busy professionals get into their dream non-tech job in tech. She’s helped dozens of clients get interviews and offers from companies such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Lyft, Amazon, Babbel, & More. She currently works at Google in Chicago.

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