Bessy Tam, Author at Get Into Tech by Bessy Tam

All Posts by Bessy Tam

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How to Find Out What Job is The Right Fit For You (Part 1 of 3)

Step 1:  Find Out What You Want

I didn't always know what I wanted

Especially when I felt stuck and dissatisfied in marketing and went to random Google events like in the picture.

By the way, none of the events I went to led to my job at Google. So if you're going to events to try to get a job.. stop!

The people on my team were very status quo. Instead of following along, I felt frustrated. I remember vividly, I was at my desk in the office, facing the front door watching people walk around while I built spreadsheets on my computer. 

I felt lost. Instead of working on strategic projects and collaborating with others from start to finish, everyone worked at their own desks.

I didn't even know whether what I worked on was impactful, I was just told what to do. And I would look at my desk everyday, wondering why there were processes like this? And why do things have to go through 10 chains of command?

Worst of all, I felt like it was my fault - maybe I wasn't good enough to be strategic,. 

I knew I couldn't keep going like this -  Just peaks and troughs, peaks and troughs. But I didn't know what job I could do nor what I wanted. But what I did know was that I didn't want that. 

That if I continued on, I would have been very depressed.

How I Found Out What I Wanted

So I went on a journey.

Instead of being complacent, I tried to talk to people, and find out what I really want to be doing. After talking to so many people, all I knew I just didn't want a career in traditional marketing or sales  but I didn't know what I wanted!

I felt like a master of none but didn't want to pigeon hole myself in something and regret it later on.

After so many months of figuring things out, reading books and talking to experts in the field who truly loved their careers, I realized no one was going to tell you what you want.

The answer is within everyone -  And I found the every first step that got me to figure out what I wanted was asking myself  5 questions.

NOTE: No one ever handed me these 5 questions - It took me 10 months of reading 30+ books, watching tons of videos, and meeting 300+ people (8 people I met and 70 people I spoke with on Tinder) to put the pieces together and attribute my success back to these 5 specific questions

That's why I wanted to share it with you!

So get a pen and paper with a timer for 5-10 mins (or leverage Microsoft/Google Docs!) and follow the video!

This is 1st of a 3-PART SERIES to Find Out What Job is The Right Fit For You (Part 1 of 3).

  1. Finding out what you want to do (this video/article)
  2.  Bringing out your strengths
  3.  Leveraging your current assets and experiences 

PS if you don't want to follow the video, you can keep scrolling down to read it in article form

5 Groundbreaking Questions to Find Out What You Want

Your Career is Like a Jungle Gym

Before I step into the core component of this video, I wanted to talk a little bit more about the two specific objectives.

First is having, knowing what you want to do is not actually about having one career but many careers. So Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook famously said that you should think of your career not as a ladder, but as a jungle gym.

Different jobs or different careers should, should link up together in many different ways so that you can connect the dots and see a bigger picture that ladders fours what you want to do.

It's the Non-Negotiables that Matter

Second of all, it's the non-negotiables that matter.

So, these are things that are traits of your life instead of just the job itself.

These are, you know, relationships, a workplace balance, lifestyle. Ask yourself, what are your nonnegotiables when it comes to a dream job?

  • Are you traveling?
  • How many people are you working with?
  • How does health or the environment play into this?
  • What does the support you get from your career, mentorship, etc look like?

So these are not necessarily the core of what you want to do, but are  supporting factors towards what your life should look like.

That's what we want to cover today, especially in the 5 different questions you should ask yourself in order to find out what you want to do.

How to Make the Most Out of These 5 Questions

Before I ask these five questions, I would love for you to take a notebook and pen out so that you can write out the question, but also your answer to it.

Your answers should be as thorough as you can - Whether it's one full page, bullet points or even five pages of just notes. I usually like to have some calming music behind the scenes as well so that I can kind of think through my answers and be able to visualize and be able to answer my questions for me.

The set a timer of maybe 5 minutes per question where you can answer it thoroughly before you jump to the next question.

Question 1: What would you be doing if fear was not a factor?

 A lot of times we lead our life with fear.

  • What would people think?
  • what would people say?
  •  I'm not right for this. I'm not ready for this.

But if there was not a factor, what would you be doing

Would you be...:

  • Doing more speaker events?
  • Would you be coaching more people and mentoring people, whether they're in high school, college or people in your company?
  • Would you be leading a specific project that you wanted to leave but didn't have the courage say "Yes!" to?

For me, the fact that I'm here filming this video and writing this article) is really scary to me. What if there's people who say that my video is not good?

However, I know that I need to share my message more with people out in the world because everything that I share with you are tools that I've used in order to help me with my career.

Question 2: Who do I want to be like when I grow up?

This question allows us to have someone to look forward to who has the traits of a life that we want.

Generally, it's easier for us to identify the things that we want or don't want versus brainstorming it on our own.

For example, I really love the work ethic and passion and enthusiasm and creativity that Beyonce brings (video). 

At the same time, I love the audacity,  the helpfulness, and the caring nature that Oprah brings to the table that allows her to help a lot more people.

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to be like?
  • What do they do on a daily basis?
  • What kind of work do they do in order to make them who they are?
  • What do I like about them? What do I not want to take it from them?

So it doesn't have to be one person. It could be many people. The goal is to be able to visualize these are things I really want to do, that I want my lifestyle to be like that.

Question 3: When were you most in the zone? What moment are you most proud of?

So this is a passion or exercise I put into my 7-day free email course as well.

This question is awesome because it will help us understand what makes us really excited in the end.

A career is very, very fulfilling as long as we're excited about it because every day we're at our jobs 8 hours out of the 24 hours in a day.  And of course if you're an entrepreneur it might be more hours  than that

With that in mind, we need to make sure that we are in the zone or doing work that we love and truly enjoy.

For example, I was most in the zone when I was leading my dance team in college. It is a while back, but it's definitely something I think about all the time.

Image may contain: 1 person 

And something I strive for reason was because I was leading an organization of 80 people and was able to sell out all of our shows on a bi-annual basis. Everyone was so amazing and I was able to be creative as well as, uh, holding a managerial position that I can see myself doing in the future.

Question 3a: Ask your colleagues/peers "When did you see me in the zone or in my element the most? What brings it out? "

Another thing that you could do as a subset of this question is actually ask peers, when did you see me in the zone the most or in my element most?


You could ask them, "What are my weaknesses? What would bring it out?"

Feel free to approach it as an ask a part of your new goal or new way of learning  yourself and asking them for advice.

In an email BCC-ing everyone, you could say:

"I need your help! I would love to learn more about myself  this year. Specifically,  be able to hone into my strengths and also develop my weaknesses.


We've worked really closely in the past (or I've known you for X years now) and I truly hold your opinion in the highest regard. It'd be a greatest gift to me if you're able to provide feedback even if it takes you 2-5 minutes.  


When you have moment, are you able to share this insight by replying directly to this email?

  • When have you seen me do my best work or am "in the zone". What brings it out?
  • What are my weaknesses? What brings it out?

I'd really appreciate your feedback and it'd truly be a gift to me!


Best,

Bessy

Question 4: If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?

The reason why this question is great is because of the things into perspective. If today were your last day or last 24 hours, you'd be able to understand what is the desired impact you would want to make from your life.

Even if you wanted to impact those around you or the world, it doesn't mean you're going to jump into this job or lifestyle tomorrow.

For example, for the last day of my life, I want to spend time with my family, be able to travel, and be able to impact a lot more people to get their dream jobs.

I may or may not be able to do that today, but it's something that I have in mind to be able to strive for.

Question 5: What does your ideal day look like? 

Let's say  if it was an ideal Saturday or Sunday, what would you doing?

If you weren't watching TV or eating meals or sleeping, what would you be doing that would make that day ideal?

A good exercise is to actually walk through the day from start to finish. 

  • What time would you wake up?
  • Where would you wake up?
  • What does it look like?
  • Who's around you?  Who is with you after you wake up, you know, are you with your family? Are you sending your kids to school?
  • Are you working on key projects, writing a book, reading keynotes?
  • What do your meals look like? Are you cooking them? Do you have a chef, personal chef?
  • Are you flying to different places? Planning for travel?
  • What does your work look like? Are you helping people online? Do you have a team in person? Are you in the office?

I asked this question to one of my students and friends before and she said that her ideal day would be in the office working with her team and actually storyboarding a brand campaign with post-its on the wall.

It's really interesting how everyone's perspectives are very different and she finally understood what she wanted to do!

 But thinking about a typical Saturday would be very helpful so that you can completely visualize that day into your notebook and write it down.

Conclusion

So here are the 5 different questions that you can ask yourself in order to find out what you actually want - make sure you spend 5-10 minutes on each question and type it out/write it in a notebook.

  1. What would you be doing if fear was not a factor?
  2. Who do I want to be like when I grow up?
  3. When was I most in the zone? What moment was I most proud of?
  4. If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?
  5. What does your ideal day look like?

Comment below if you liked this video - tell me, what was your favorite question and why? What did you find out?

From Finance to LinkedIn – Ebony’s Story

Ebony knew she wanted to get into tech but didn't know which role or company she should go for. With Bessy's help in her all-in-one coaching program, Ebony successfully transitioned from a Marketing role in a Finance Company to her dream  job in LinkedIn.

With her new dream career in tech, she’s now able to :

  • Earn 2X her previous salary
  • Get more flexibility to work from home
  • Have paid-for opportunities to travel around the world to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Chicago, and San Francisco
  • Work in a place with smart people where she can learn everyday and grow in her career.

In this 3 minute video, Ebony shares her enthusiasm about wanting to work in tech, frustrations in landing a job in tech, why she chose to work with me, the exact coaching program we went through, and who she recommends these programs for.

I’ve also added the timestamps here and in the description so you can find specific sections more easily

  • 01:57 - Why Tech
  • 02:05 - Challenges before Working with Bessy
  • 02:30 - Why Bessy
  • 03:03 - Program Details & Step by Step
  • 04:11 - Recommendations
  • 04:56 - Book a Call!

Without further ado, here’s Ebony! 

PS If you don't want to view the video, you can scroll down to read the transcript too

Overview

Ebony's Background: Marketing in a Bank

Where Ebony Ended Up: Account Executive in LinkedIn

In Ebony's Own Words

Hi guys,

This is Ebony! So I’m currently on my vacation because I just landed a job, my dream job at LinkedIn.

Before I got into tech, I was actually in the Finance industry doing business development and marketing. I was interested in tech. I really liked the culture as well as the environment that everything evolves quickly. 

There were 2 major challenges that I was facing when I wanted to get into tech.

  1. I’m not exactly sure which role I should go for or what I should be applying for.
  2. The second challenge that I faced was since I was changing from a different industry, I knew it was a lot harder to get interviews if I just hit the apply button online.

"Since I was changing from a different industry, I knew it was a lot harder to get interviews if I just hit the apply button online."

Bessy offered tremendous help for me during my entire job hunting process and helped me to get the interviews and finally landed my dream job in LinkedIn.

I was really inspired by Bessy’s experience in tech and how she got into the tech industry from a non tech background. And another reason why I chose to work with her was because she is in the tech industry and she knew exactly the interview process as well as the kind of questions you’d be asked.

During the entire process, there were different things we covered. First of all, we did a couple of session on the resume revamp. By going through my background, Bessy found out what our my good advantages.

It really gave me more confidence on my resume to showcase my previous accomplishments. We added those numbers and data points to support what I did which helped me to get interviews even only with just the resume.

We also had a couple of sessions to go through companies or the roles that I can try. The next step, we discussed how to approach these companies strategically to find out what the roles really covers and what the kind of person they’re looking for in that role.

Later when I got different interviews or informational chats, we went through the different questions they may ask and prepared an interview prep sheet. It’s really structured. If you don’t know what is the STAR method, you would know later if you work with Bessy.

"The overall process was very strategic. It helped me know more about myself - what I’m interested, what really fits me, and where I wanted to go. "

The overall process was very strategic. It helped me know more about myself - what I’m interested, what really fits me, and where I wanted to go.

I learned so much Bessy, and this coaching program is definitely something I recommend for people who want to land a job in tech, for people who are thinking of making a career change, if you need any help with the interviews or if you need any help with the resume.

I’m so grateful that I have her to support me. She’s super nice and super supportive. I’m so happy about it and also am excited for my new role as well!

From Real-Estate to Facebook/Netflix – Lucy’s Story

How would you react if you got into Facebook or Netflix?

Insert Jonah Hill screaming gif

Yup, that was me

Except I was screaming in excitement because my student Lucy got into Facebook/Netflix! 

A lot of people ask me why I started this site - and honestly, THIS is the reason why:

  • To help people change their lives
  • earn 2X their salary compared to their previous job
  • get to work in their dream companies with the smartest people ever
  • and gain fulfillment at work leading and owning their own projects.

And I know how hard it is to get into tech with a non-technical background in a non-tech industry. I even filmed a video about my experiences getting into Google from a marketing background.

That’s why it’s even more rewarding for me to be able to help people like Lucy get into Facebook/Netflix, or other students like Laurie get into a startup and then Salesforce and Ebony into LinkedIn using my strategies.

Overview

Lucy's Background: Data Analyst, Real-Estate Firm

Where Lucy Ended Up: Data Engineer, Facebook/Netflix (preferred to not specify)

How Does Bessy Come Into the Picture?

Feel free to check out the 3 minute video above or scroll to read the overview and transcript below.

Lucy joined me in my Interview Preparation Program. She had an interview coming up in 2-3 weeks but didn’t know how to prepare for it, specifically how to tell her story in a compelling way.

This package included 4 simple steps prior to her interviews:

  1. Providing Lucy with 25+ of the Most Common Questions Asked (predicts 98%+ of all questions asked)
  2. Guiding Lucy on How to Answer the Questions The Right Way
  3. Editing Lucy’s Answers Hands on In the Google Doc
  4. Providing Lucy with Mock Interview(s) Each 1-1.5 Hours Long with Feedback

Lucy was able to leverage this package and ace her 14 interviews. She was way less nervous and avoided getting “caught off guard” since we were able to predict all of the questions. 

Most importantly, she was able to be more personable, make fun conversation, and stay present with her interviewers instead of constantly thinking of what she should say next.

She aced her interviews both onsite and on video conference, a total of 6 interviews at Facebook and 8 at Netflix. She successfully got into one of the two FAANG tech companies after using my techniques and switched from being an Analyst in a Real-Estate Company to a Data Engineer in Facebook/Netflix.

More importantly, she was able to get a 2X salary increase and a few weeks of holidays before starting her new position

More questions? Book a free call with me at inyour20s.com/free-call

In Lucy's Own Words:

If you want to watch/listen to it in video you can by clicking the links below. The video is 3min total. Otherwise you can scroll down

  • Intro: 0:00
  • Lucy's Testimonial/Own Words 0:53

"My main challenge was looking for a structure to answer the behavioral questions and to organize my stories in a way that can fit any scenario."

Before working with Bessy, my main challenge was looking for a structure to answer the behavioral questions or to organize my stories in a way that can fit any scenario.  I found Bessy through the website from Ramit Sethi. 


I guess at that time, I was looking for someone to help with preparing my preparing my behavioral interviews and help me comb through my answers and bring out my best stories.

I reached out to a few people and Bessy had the most personable approach which I think really helps. She also works in a tech company so she has a lot more insight on the interviews so that's why I chose to work with Bessy.

"Bessy had the most personable approach which I think really helps. She also works in a tech company so she has a lot more insight on the interviews so that's why I chose to work with Bessy."

Bessy, she really took the time to  get to know my background and stories and my goals. This is unlike other people I've talked to, they just provide the very generic solution for your problem

After working with Bessy, I felt a lot more confident when answering my interview questions (for Facebook and Netflix). And a lot less nervous. I was able to think clearly when I was speaking to my experience and using a more structured way (that Bessy provided) to answer the questions for Netflix and Facebook.

I ended up getting an offer for one of the companies and getting 2x in my overall pay. I was finally able to work in a company I like, a FAANG company ,  and one I've been dreaming of working at for so many years!

I would recommend Bessy for anyone who are looking to get into technology and had worked in traditional industries.

If you're working with Bessy, she would provide you with the very detailed structures. You should expect to do your own homework and dig into your past experiences because you know your own experiences the best. She will provide you (hands-on) guidance and answer any questions you have.

More questions? Book a free call with Bessy at inyour20s.com/free-call

1

How to Productively Manage Your Job Search While Working Full Time

Job searching is probably one of the hardest things to do while you're at your current job. 

On one hand, you're frustrated. So you apply to anything you see that’s “interesting” and hope that you’ll get a response. 

In reality, you've been applying to this “black hole” for a while now. 

Then, you still have to go to your day job in "survival mode”, coming home drained from work and still needing to hunt for a job.

What if I told you that nothing YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW will get you to YOUR DREAM JOB?

I’ve been where you are before, frustrated… knowing that tech is right for me, but not knowing how to get there. 

Worst of all, I didn’t know how to manage my time. I was writing cover letter after cover letter, application after application. 

I felt anxious, hoping that any company would give me a callback and give me a chance.

But there was silence.

After 10 months of hundreds of applications, I knew that something had to change.

So I transformed everything I did; 

  • focusing on outreach instead of applications
  • talking to people instead of submitting my resume
  • figuring out their business challenges instead of focusing on ME ME ME!

As soon as I tweaked my approach, I got 7 interviews within a week, 2 of which were tech companies and I got offers to both of them.

Fast forward to now, I’ve been in the tech industry for 6+ years and started this blog to help people like you speed up this frustrating process.

This is also why people come to me for 1-on-1 coaching - to help them get into tech companies like Facebook and LinkedIn and to manage their time strategically so they don’t burn out. 

By teaching my approach, I get emails from my students all the time saying:

"Thanks for checking up on me ! ^.^ I'm doing well (which...has been a first during this job hunt)...I feel like your task assignment was perfect because it showed me how much energy would be "enough" for me to put in throughout the day and not feel guilty when I want to go read, listen to a TED talk, or code, or just hang out with my family. A big thank you for that! <3" 

Hilary*

From:  Neuroscience Academia

To: Referral in Tech Startup in 2 Weeks

"I finally have a structure I can follow. Now I don't need to stress so much and can actually enjoy the process!"

Lucy*

From: Finance/Banking

To: Offer at LinkedIn 


Here are the exact strategies you can use to manage your time and not get burned out:

The 6 Surprising Stages of Getting into Tech

When it comes to getting into tech, these are the 6-steps that really matter.

DO THIS:

  1. The deep-dive (identifying past projects that match a natural entry point in tech)
  2. The resume
  3. The outreach (talking to those in relevant roles to understand their business challenges)
  4. The referral
  5. The interviews
  6. The Final offer

AND NOT THIS:

  • “Researching Glassdoor online”
  • “Applying to companies I think are cool”
  • “Applying to anything I see out there and see what sticks”
  • “Talking to random friends who work in tech because their jobs seem so cool”
  • “Writing 100+ job applications for months and not hearing back”
  • “Checking jobs out on Google’s career page”
  • “Responding to recruiter inMails on LinkedIn. Even though they aren’t in the industry you want to get into”

Find out if you’re fit for a job in tech through my FREE 7-day email course here!

Why Is This Important?

Because your energy and effort are important - we want to work smart instead of just “working hard“

The result? You’ll..:

  • Get referrals in 2 weeks instead of applying to 100+ jobs in 6+ months
  • Skip the line against 1000+ “applicants” by having a sponsor in the company instead of “being in the dark” after applications
  • Go deep in 1-2 companies that really matter to you vs 15 different companies “on your list”
  • Get 100% satisfaction in the job you go for vs wanting to switch jobs within 3-6 months of working at your new job
  • Approach the job search stress-free and actually enjoy the process

  • Earn potentially 2 to 3X your current salary JUST by being in tech

Wouldn't that be nice? The best part is, it’s doable!  My students have done it, and so can you. 

A No-Brainer Way to Split Up Your Week

Now that you understand what the 6-steps are, next we need to find out the best way to structure these steps in a simple schedule during our work weeks.

The goal is for us to not burn out or feel guilty if we want to relax. 

Overview

Weekdays are meant for outreach and “informal coffee chats.”

And  Saturdays and Sundays are meant for “researching” & “building.”

job search

Why does it matter what day of the week I do things?

People are not available to chat about work stuff on the weekends

On weekdays (Monday to Friday), people are on LinkedIn, social media, and ready to chat about their company while they’re at work. 

When they are out of the office, they are less likely to want to talk about work stuff. In addition, they might not have access to their laptops or internal system to refer you. 

If you reach out to them during the weekend, they might say, “Okay sounds great! Let me do this when I’m back in the office on Monday”. 

Guess what happens within 24 hours?

They forget.

And it really isn’t their fault. They’re busy!!

You don’t want to play a game of tag on LinkedIn. You want to be strategic so that you can reach out to them in the most convenient time possible.

Hubspot says that the highest engagement times on LinkedIn are between Tuesdays and Thursdays early in the morning, during lunch, or early evening.

As someone already in tech, I witness this phenomenon in my life given I have back-to-back meetings on Mondays and fire-drills on Fridays before I wind down for the weekend.

The Strategy

So on weekdays you should be following the 6 stages outlined above:

  • Stage 1 & 2: Talk to coworkers or past colleagues who’d have access to data points or project results

  • Stage 3: Reach out to cold contacts or relevant people in your network

  • Stage 4 & 5: Chat with previous contacts for insights and advice for interviews

  • Stage 5 & 6: Chat with the hiring manager and do interviews

Then, weekends are for researching and building things like cover letters, and interview prep docs instead of being on LinkedIn for outreach or on the phone/Google Hangouts for calls.

“It was painful but during lunch hours and after work, I would reach out to people on LinkedIn - it worked out because I would reach out to around 20 people each week. On the weekends, I would put everything together including cover letters.  I eventually chat with 20 people in total and got the referral and offers” 

Lucy*

From: Finance/Banking

To: Offer at LinkedIn 


Now that we know what the general weekend/weekday guidelines are, how do these apply to each stage of the job process?

Stages 1 & 2 -Find your Natural Entry Point in Tech and Write a Stellar Resume

Overview

In the first two weeks, you’re putting in time for Stages 1 & 2 of the job search: 

  • Stage 1: Deep dive into your history 

  • Stage 2: Resume revamp

Just like any successful SMART goal format, you’re going to have smaller goals the ladder up to your larger goals of getting transitioning from a non tech job to a job in tech. 

by the end of these first weeks, you’ll want to have a finished/polished a 1 or 2-page resume.

A lot of people ask which is better, a 1 or 2 page resume. The secret is, it doesn’t matter!  Either way, just don’t go beyond 2 pages.

PS feel free to email me your resume at bessy[at]inyour20s.com to take a look!

As you can see in the chart above, on the left and right sides you have the weeks, stage, and success metrics for the week.

In the middle, we have the actions broken down by Sunday, Weekday, as well as Saturday. 

Sunday

On Sunday, you should spend about 3 to 5 hours diving deep into your background to gather experiences and projects that you’ve done before. It can help to start all the way back from high school or college if relevant because those experiences are easier to recall.

How can you sit for 3 to 5 hours straight? Trust me, you can! 

Have your favorite snacks on your desk, a great cup of tea or coffee, a fresh Google Doc page and your most recent resume in front of you. 

Wear comfortable clothes and set a 3 to 5 hour alarm on your phone, and don’t touch your phone until you’re done!

Once you have the blank page open, ask yourself:

  • What projects did you do? 

  • What organizations did you lead? 

  • What roles have you held? 

  • What events did you host or run, what happened, how many people attended, what were the results?

  • What grade did you get or did you get any awards?

  • For internships - what were 1 or 2 cool projects you worked on? Ask yourself the 5 W’s + H - who was on it, what did you do, where was it, when was it, why did you start this project, and how did it end up?

Do the same for your current job with the goal of breaking out 3 to 5 different projects from work. 

  • What was your role?

  • Did you help out in any “fun” events or even “side projects”? 

  • How did your role change or evolve in the past 2 years? 

  • What were some of the things that people have said about you?

  • What were the results of those projects/your role? In revenue, attendees, number of excel cells you worked with (if you’re going for an analyst/data engineering role)

Once you’re done, you should end up with a 5 to 10 page document full of paragraphs highlighting all of your great contributions. 

Don’t worry about constraining your words or sentences yet. At this point, you should be expanding and listing out everything you’ve done as much as possible.

Monday to Friday

During the weekday you’ll want to reach out to any resource that would have information on results from your previous experiences.

One of, if not the biggest challenge for a lot of my readers, is to quantify results or data in your resumes. This is the most important focus area for a successful resume!

A student of mine said during our Resume Revamp coaching session:

“I know I need to use data and numbers... I've struggled for a long time to use results in my resume but i think it's really hard to quantify.  I previously wouldn't think the number of events would be a data i could quantify, i thought it had to be revenue"

Lucy*

From: Finance/Banking

To: Offer at LinkedIn 


These are some examples of numbers you can use:

  • 150-person attendance with 4.9/5.0 satisfaction rating
  • +51% y/y growth in revenue
  • +20% increase in website clicks
  • Analyzed 250K units of data in excel with 15-columns/variables
  • Reached 10M users
  • Decreased operational errors from 50% to <10%
  • Launched 15 products in 3 months for a $4M revenue
  • Started 15-person class now expanded to 250+ attendees
  • Launched first-ever campaign..

And here are some examples from the work I’ve done with my students:

STUDENT 1

Before:

After:

STUDENT 2

Before:

After:

STUDENT 3:

Before:

After:

Have the data points you need in mind. Then email your past coworkers or colleagues during the weekdays about the projects you worked on together. Ask them whether they could get those specific results/data points for you.

Here is a sample email or message with a request for data

“Hey Janice! 

Hope you’re well, it’s been a while since we’ve talked and worked together! I really enjoyed our time working on the white claw lime flavored project, and when I heard you ended up transitioning to a different product role that you’ve always wanted I was so happy for you! 

By the way, I’d love to ask you for a small favor if that’s okay. I’m currently in the process of transitioning to a new role and wanted to get some data points to have as results of the white claw project we worked on. If you have access to that data and have time, may I ask when you compare May data to April data of 2017, how did the users and engagement increase or change?

Thank you so much for your help again! Really appreciate it”

Make the message warm, the connection personal, and data-ask clear and specific.

Then you’ll be able to get data points for all of the projects you listed out before. By the end of this process, you might have too much data to work with. But no fret, even if your “original resume” ends up being 5 to 10 pages with additional data points, some of that work can actually be on your LinkedIn instead.

In the end, it’s better to have more data points and project-work first before you cut anything down.

Saturday

Lastly, on Saturday you’ll build your resume. 

Look through the 5 to 10 page document you’ve built. This document is your “original resume” where you’ve gathered additional data points, projects, and job experiences together.

Notice a theme of what you really liked or excelled in amongst your past 3 to 8 years of experiences (including school).

Once you notice the theme, you’ll be able to search up job descriptions with the particular title in a relevant tech company and understand what “keywords” and experiences to have in your resume.

For example, if you’re an analyst in your company right now, you’d have something similar to below:

  • Stakeholder Management: worked with CEO and CMO to identify 5 key product opportunities for the business by analyzing key market trends, current product sales data, website analytics, and both quantitative and qualitative customer research.

  • Analysis and Insights: Analyzed 150m lines of data amongst 5 variables through SQL. Presented key insights to Head of Sales with 2 other teammates. Resulted in +101% y/y growth in sales.

In addition, you should be linking decks and presentations into your resume (eg. on the word “Presented key insights”) so that the hiring manager or recruiter will be able to see your presentation/visualization style. 

Be mindful though, some role titles are not translatable. Eg. I had a student whose title was Performance Manager but her transferable title would be Sales Operations Manager. I had another student who had a Project Engineer title but her transferable title would’ve been Analyst.

Ultimately, when you transition into tech or in fact transition in any career, you want to focus on only changing ONE variable amongst these four:

  • Location

  • Title

  • Company

  • Industry

In our scenario, you’ll be switching companies into tech, but your industry would ideally be the same (eg. marketing analyst in insurance company switching to marketing analyst in tech company managing insurance clients)

Stages 3 & 4 - Get Your First Interview Through Informal Chats and Referrals

Overview

In weeks 2 & 3, you’ll focus on the 3rd and 4th stages:

  • Stage 3: The Outreach
  • Stage 4: The Referral

According to JobVite, more than 50% of hires are through referrals. 

According to the undercover recruiter, referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate, quickest start date, and highest satisfaction. 

That’s why companies always prioritize referrals and that’s why you should too -  ultimately you’ll have a higher chance of getting into a tech company by getting a referral than just applying online.

It seems counterintuitive, but none of my students who go through my coaching program EVER apply to jobs online.  Learn to kick start your informal chats with free PDFs, scripts, and contact trackers here!

my students get offers and interviews in companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, L2 Gartner, Salesforce, Startups and more with a 95% success rate.

What do we do if we don’t have a network in tech though?

We want to be able to reach out cold on LinkedIn, in our network, and through mutual friends on LinkedIn.

Then, we chat with relevant contacts in the 1 company you’re targeting to learn more about their experiences in the role, what they do on a daily basis, and what the team’s business challenges are.

Then throughout these conversations eventually get referrals. Recent students even got referrals to LinkedIn, Google, and Headspace within 2 weeks of doing these outreaches.

Sunday

On Sunday, we want to “build” our outreach list as well as outreach scripts.  

Use this LinkedIn Hack (Video) I found while on a coaching call with my student in order for you to find the right people on LinkedIn without reaching the search limit. This way, you don’t have to pay for LinkedIn Premium!

You want to build a list of 20+ contacts in a Google Sheet. Subscribe and write out exactly what you’re going to write to them. 

The script goes something like the below:

“Hey [Name]! 

Hope you’re well – I’m [Name], a [title/role] in [industry]. I saw that you [some mutual and specific trait/experience that you both have]. I’m hoping to get into [xyz industry] w/ my [relatable background]. Would it be okay if I picked your brain for 15m after 6PM M-F/anytime weekend? I’d love to learn more about you [desired company that he/she is currently in] too!- 

[Name & Phone Number]”

Remember, you only have 300 characters to reach out to someone cold on LinkedIn so try to get to the point as quickly as possible.

And FYI the script would look a bit different if it were for your friends or mutual friends.

Monday through Friday

Once you have the “target list” or “outreach list” built out on Sunday, on Monday you’d be set to reach out to those contacts. 

We want to aim to reach out to 10 to 20 people during the week and get 3 to 5 chats confirmed per week. 

A few of my students would do outreaches during lunch time. Some would block of an hour or two in the afternoon. 

The key is to have the LinkedIn app downloaded on your phone so you can do these seamlessly.

During the week, you’ll also be on calls. If you don’t know what to ask about during these informal chats, watch my video here 

Saturday

Saturdays are great to use to prepare for informational chats. This means creating a prep document to jot down notes on the person’s background, listing out the 3 to 4 most relevant questions to ask them based on their experiences. 

Don’t know how to reach out or what to say? Email me at bessy [at] inyour20s.com or get the free PDF kickstarter guide and Google Sheet trackers here

For example, for someone who’s been in the company for 6 years, you can ask about the various teams, business challenges, and overall very in-depth questions about the company’s structures. These are things you can never find online.

You can also ask them to refer you to 2 to 3 contacts in the end who may be relevant for you to learn more about the team you’re targeting near the end of the conversation as well.

On the other hand, for someone who’s been in the company for 1 year, you’ll want to ask more about their personal experiences transitioning from X industry to the current company, what the onboarding process was like, what was their biggest challenges as X role in the team or company.

Ultimately, by the end of each week you’d want to have sent out 10 to 20 messages for outreach and confirmed 3 to 5 chats. By the 2nd week of doing this (or overall week 4) , you should already have a referral.

My students on average get referrals within 2 weeks of starting the outreach process. 

For my student who got referrals from LinkedIn and Google - it took her about 2 weeks, 25 outreaches, and 5 informal chats before the referral.

For my other student who got a referral for HeadSpace, it was also about 2 weeks after the Resume Revamp, 22 outreaches, and 3 informal chats.

Stages 5 & 6 - Stay confident and stop the nerves during interviews

Interviews usually happen in these stages:

  1. Round 1 Screening: Recruiter

  2. Rounds 2 & 3 Behavioural Interviews:  Teammates

  3. Round 3 & 4 Team fit or  Role & Responsibility: Manager and possible External Manager

  4. Rounds 4 or 5: Last round: Director or Panel

In the 1st round or initial screening, you will be on the phone with the recruiter talking through general questions such as “Tell me about yourself, why do you want this role, what are your experiences with XYZ skillsets/responsibilities.”

In the 2nd or 3rd round, you’ll be meeting with teammates to walk through some  behavioral questions amongst 4 topics: 

  • Solving Problems

  • Leadership

  • Team Fit

  • and Roles & Responsibilities. 

In certain cases, 1 interviewer will be focused on interviewing one topic with you. In other cases, 1 or 2 interviewers will be in the same room with you but they will cover all 4 topics.

In the 3rd or 4th Round, you will be interviewing with the hiring manager about roles and responsibilities. 

In another round, you may also be interviewing with another manager separately from another team. This is to eliminate any biases and ensure objectivity. 

The last round may be with the Director of the region or team. This round may be similar to others in a conversational setting, or it may include a presentation. 

In order to not burn out, your goal is to have 1 to 2 weeks time before your interviews so that you can have enough time to prep. 

  • List Element
  • List Element
  • List Element

Prepping for an interview would mean:

Sunday

You would be building an interview prep doc, doing mock interviews, and writing cover letters to ensure that the interviewers know your intention and why you’re a great fit.

Monday through Friday

On the weekdays, you’ll be talking to people and reaching out to relevant employees within the company to learn more about the interviewers’ style, how the interview process is, any tips, and most importantly what business challenge the team is specifically looking to solve. 

You’ll also be having your interviews during the week since hiring managers and recruiters will be off during the weekend. 

How do you attend interviews while employed? Well try to have interviews during off hours - in the morning before 9 or 10am, during lunch 12 to 2, or after work around 4pm onwards. You want to be respectful.

Often times, you will have full day interviews if you get into tech as well and they will fly you to Mountain View or whereever their headquarters are. 

When that happens, feel free to take a personal day on a Friday that will occur 2 weeks later. You don’t need to tell your employer why you’re taking a personal day, but a Friday or Monday is generally less suspicious.

Saturday

You would be reviewing the interviews you’ve had in the previous week, prepping for the next interview by adding questions they’ve asked in your prep doc, and continuing to build your outreach list to get unanswered questions answered.

By the end of each week in this stage you should have:

  • Written a cover letter for each job
  • Built an interview prep doc for each interview (1 week prior)
  • Did a mock interview for each interview (3 weeks prior)
  • And aced interviews - since you would have had 5+ chats prior to your very first interview to understand what they wanted!

What Should You Do For The Rest of the Time?

If you have 3 to 5 hours spent on Sunday and Sunday towards building and researching , then 1 to 2 hours each weekday towards outreaches, then what should you do the rest of the free time?

RELAX!!

Interviews and outreaches should be a fun conversation. If you don’t do anything outside of your job or your job search, would you have anything fun to talk about during those conversations?

I once had a conversation with HR prior to the last round of my interview with the CEO for 45 minutes. She said“this is amazing, I am just so engaged with this conversations!”

The best part about living life outside of work is that you have time to rejuvenate.

If you’re too stressed, too tired, too busy, or too focused on “getting the job”, you won’t have time to gain experiences outside of this setting nor be able to truly reflect and understand whether that job was right for you in the first place.

So make sure you have this schedule in place and set up non-negotiable time in your calendar to complete the tasks above. Other than that, have FUN during this job search. 

And like my coaching students, you should be able to land a referral within 2 weeks and job offers to companies like LinkedIn and Facebook in no time.

How are you going to schedule your approach differently based on what you learned? Tell me in the comments below!

Need Experiences for Your Next Dream Tech Job? No Problem!

Have you ever struggled thinking "I don't know how to get into tech. I don't even have experience in the field, where do I even start?"

No fret! More often than not, we forget that there are a lot of opportunities while we are in our current job or company to gain experiences and skillsets that are relevant to our next role.

For example, as a(n)

  • Analyst in your current company, you can gain R or Python skills during your job and on personal projects to become an Analyst in tech
  • Marketing Coordinator, you can do a 20% project for the marketing team to help launch new marketing campaigns leveraging Facebook, Google, & other platforms
  • Marketer, you can do a freelancing project for a previous company you were at or personal project for your senior management to "sell" Facebook Ads . Then you can become an Account Manager/Sales Rep for Facebook Ads

This type of experience is also important when it comes to gaining experience and also feeling challenged in your role.

For me, I find satisfaction in my job not only because of the industry that I'm in or the salary that I earn from it (6-figures by the age of 24), but also the impact we bring, community that we have, and career that we can build.

Working in tech for 6+ years has allowed me to find this satisfaction and feel challenged beyond my role.

By taking advantage of the flexibility, transparency, and autonomy that working in a tech company brings, I’ve also managed to get unique experiences in 7 different areas of work, move abroad, and get access to C-level within the 100K+ people company that I work in.

That’s why today, I wanted to share 5 strategies that you can use to gain relevant experiences for your next career jump:

1. Network with a Purpose

A strategy is to share your goals and passions internally. However, you need to do this with a purpose - both with the right people as well as with the right intention.

First, you can talk to people who have been in your company for 4+ years. These people may know of specific people, projects, and roles you may not have heard of before but could benefit your cause or passion.

For example, when I knew I wanted to move abroad, I talked to my ex-manager who has been in the company for 10+ years and asked him if he knew anyone who worked in the US. This allowed me to gain trust through this 2nd degree connection and get hired abroad.

Secondly, you can search for people who are working on specific projects or fields that you’re interested in learning more about. Companies (even yours!) always have a directory or internal network where you can search for anyone in the company, no matter where they are in the world.

Reach out and set up a 30-minute coffee chat to talk to them and learn more about their experiences. At the same time, share your relevant experiences and skillsets as well so that they can socialize your impact within the company and possibly craft an opportunity to work on a project with them.

2. 20% Projects or Rotations

Google allows employees to devote 20% of their time, or essentially a Friday, to work on “20% Projects.” This was how engineers created Gmail and Google Maps, this was also how I gained experiences in 4 different areas of work across Learning & Development, Marketing, Product Specialization, and Strategy & Operations within my company.

Sometimes, this is also called “time-share” where you share a portion of time within your week with another department or team internally.

Sometimes, this can also be a “rotation” where you work on another team 100% of your work days for 3 months.

These 20% projects are awesome because it allows you to (a) gain tangible skills/experiences in case you wanted to pivot to another career (b) make an impact based on a challenge or problem you see and (c) work on something you really care about.

Get coffees with other teammates in different departments, leading with, "Wow! I saw your project on XYZ and it's super cool! If I set up a time on your calendar for 15minutes to learn more about your personal experiences in this, would you be down?"

Set it up on the calendar and take as many notes as possible. Try to even use some of the informational interview tactics I taught (Video) to learn more about what you should ask.

Make sure to work with your manager and the other team you’re working on the project on to define your work scope. Then socialize your projects with surrounding teams to gain internal support and maximize impact.

3. Start a Side Hustle

39% of working millennials have a side gig according to a CareerBuilder survey. While 7-in-10 of them don’t want to turn it into a full-time gig, side hustles can boost your creativity, technical skills, and leadership experiences - all of which are essential for a successful and happy career. In addition, you can leverage your side hustle to earn extra money on the side.

Side hustle can range from building a product (eg. an app or consumer product) to freelancing (eg. coaching or marketing on Upwork) to working on fun projects (eg. growing a social media page or writing).

Ultimately, a side hustle helps (a) solve a problem in the community and (b) leverage your unique skillsets to serve that need.

For example, I started my site helping people get into non-tech roles in tech just because my friends and acquaintances frequently asked me for advice. This allowed me to challenge myself, dabble into a new field, and stand out amongst other peers on LinkedIn while working in my 9-5 job.

Want to start a side hustle? Find out what you’re uniquely good at, what you’re known for, and what you’re asked a lot about from your friends and coworkers. It’s definitely a plus if this skillset is something you can get paid for!

4. Transition to a New Role

Transitioning to a new role can be one of the most challenging things to do but also an awesome and meaningful way to craft your own career within your company. Almost all tech companies allow employees to change roles internally just because it’s a great strategy for retention.

According to LinkedIn, 56% of employees stay in their current companies because of opportunities to work on a new challenge.

Transition to a new role could mean taking a marketing class to transition into marketing or working on a 20% project to transition from operations to recruiting. The general strategy is to first gain relevant experiences, either through a 20% project, rotation, or freelancing.

Then, network and share your experiences and goals. This way, you can build strong relationships so that when headcount open up, you will be the first to know!

5. Have Fun!

Gaining relevant experiences can also mean just having fun in your current role! Many times, if you’re too worried about your next career jump or role, you’ll lose sight of the impact and creativity you can bring to the projects right in front of you.

You might be facing a decision paralysis because there are such smart people in your company, you are scared of consequences, or you simply don’t know what career to pick. My thought is: trust your gut instinct and do it all! The more you take action on your vision and the more you can get support from others, the more you can craft your own career like a boss.

ONE Small Job Search Tweak That Landed Me Google (Against 50+ Candidates)

I know you've been applying to a lot of jobs. I know that you've opened hundreds of tabs in your browser throughout work just to research different companies and understand what they're looking for. 

Job descriptions, potential jobs.

Sharing My Journey Getting Into Tech


Hi everyone. I'm Bessy Tam, founder and the coach of www.InYour20s.com. I help smart driven creatives get into the tech companies so that they can get the lifestyle that they want and the career that they deserve.

So today I actually want to talk a little bit more about why I started this site. So for those of you who don't know, I'd been working at Google for quite some time, 4 or 5 years now. And I moved from Google Hong Kong here to Google Chicago.


I'm always super excited because there's just so much that I can do [in tech and Google] and I really want to talk a little bit more about my journey and struggles getting into tech from a marketing job of two years and what this job in tech provided me for my lifestyle and for my career towards my next steps.

"Things were very status quo... and people I worked with didn't have a lot of drive"

Before I got into Google, I was actually in marketing in Boston. I was helping a school  market themselves.

It was super small because it was a smaller business school and I was in their marketing office amongst maybe around 20 people.

 A lot of the people who were there would actually like leave very early. There's not a lot of drive. And to be honest, looking at who's working there now, it's still the same. So it's been a while, quite a while that they would just stay in the same job.

I see this a lot in my students as well [when I talk to them]. [Their companies are] just very status quo and the way that we approach things is very repetitive.

I didn't really have freedom to have, create new ideas, new campaigns or anything that a marketer would really want to strategize. And I think I found that as a clear struggle because I got back to Hong Kong to be closer to my family and I saw the situation amongst a lot of the different marketing companies that I saw.

As long as we tell you what to do, you don't really lead specific projects or really have a lot of opportunity to do what you want to drive, want to learn and to be super creative. 

"No one really teaches you how to get into the job search process.. within 10 months I applied to 100+  jobs"

It actually took me about 10 months to research and apply online.

No one really teaches you how to get into the job search process, right?

As usual, I would make my resume and then I would ask friends to take a look at it. Actually a huge challenge because  they weren't [working] in the industries I want to be in.

I think within 10 months I applied to 100+  jobs throughout these 10 months. Like it's just not the jobs I wanted.

And it was really frustrating because I know I have so much to offer and I just know that my potential is a lot bigger than [what the jobs offered]

"I just spent so much of my 24 hours waiting for responses... There wasn't even a no.. or rejections, it was just silence"

But thankfully my, I was staying with my parents (and that's pretty normal in Asia) [so that I didn't have to pay rent].

My parents didn't really rush me in, which I'm really thankful for. I was just rushing myself, being next to my phone all the time, seeing if I would get a call, checking my email like every day and having so much anxiety, so much.

I was, I was just miserable. And so that's why I started like working out and trying to find different ways to, to spend my time because I just spent so much of my 24 hours just waiting for responses, seeing my applications got any responses. 

There's not even a no... there wasn't even rejections. It was just silence. And it was super frustrating for me.

"I don't want people to go through the same thing...all of this could have been done way earlier if I had the right person to talk to and the right person to actually coach me through this."

And I finally figured out actually how to write cover letters and resumes that really speak to the audience because towards the end of the 10 months, around month nine, I got pretty much seven interviews within two weeks because of my approach.

The reason why I started the site is because I don't want people to go through the same thing. I don't want people to waste 10 months of their life like looking for a job because it's just so tough when in fact all of this could have been done way earlier if I had the right person to talk to and the right person to actually coach me through this.

More importantly, someone who was in the industry, specifically in tech.

"I didn't know that I wanted to be in the tech industry in the beginning because I never thought of myself as a technical person and never thought of myself to be smart enough to be in Google."

Actually I didn't know that I wanted to be in the tech industry in the beginning because I never thought of myself as a technical person and never thought of myself to be smart enough to be in Google.

Throughout 10 months, I actually applied online to Google twice!

But you know what? I applied to the wrong positions. Looking back into my email, I saw that it was like industry manager positions, which by the way takes like 10+ years experience.

I didn't know what to apply for [or what jobs are natural entry points for me into tech]. 

And then I met someone who actually used to work in Google and he coached me into: what they were looking for, what the culture is like and what exactly to say.

And that's when I realized you actually really need someone who's in the industry, who can actually guide you. So that's how I kind of, you know, teach my students to find someone who is in the company to talk to. 

So towards the end of the, the 10 months, like it became a way for me to restart.

"I would have been in a completely different space if I didn't have someone who knew me well, who knew my background, knew my experiences to be able to tell me these things. "

I only applied, I say "apply" but it was technically like a referral to two roles, and I got both of those just because I spent 10 months researching and tweaking and finally meeting these people to get me into these jobs.

But in the end that all of that could have been done within a month or two.

And that's what frustrates me the most. And that's why I started this site to help people have the tools and strategies. Most importantly, to find this specific job that really fits their profile, what they wanna do and is able to link that to a tech company.

And then I would have been in a completely different space if I didn't have someone who knew me well, who knew my background, knew my experiences to be able to tell me these things.

 That's like my story, my struggles.

"I know it's frustrating. I know that you're thinking about this every day, morning till night, dreading to wake up in the morning and in survival mode."

 If you really want to speed up your process,  I know you've been applying to a lot of jobs.

I know that you've opened hundreds of tabs in your browser throughout work just to research different companies and understand what they're looking for. Job descriptions, potential jobs.

I know it's frustrating. I know that you're thinking about this every day, morning til night, dreading to wake up in the morning and in survival mode. I know that and I, I've been through that in the beginning of my process.

[All I] want is to help you get to the job that you really deserve. 

Get Clarity on Your Strategy in 30 Minutes

If you're seriously ready about this, I would suggest you to book a call with me. You know, just to understand your situation, your challenges and plan it out.

 I can help you get some clarity. What are your next milestones? What should you be doing on a weekly, monthly basis in order to get to your goal.

So book a call!

I'll link the calendar below so that you can, you can look, check out some times. Honestly, it's going to be 30 minutes, an hour, however much time you want.

And of course if you like what we talk about, I'm always here to help coach you because I have a lot of students who get referrals and jobs from Lyft, Facebook, Google, Instacart, all these different places and get interviews as quickly as in 2 weeks.

And I've seen this happen without them even applying online because it's so strategic, such an awesome way to approach this and only applicable in the tech industry.

So make sure you check it out below. There is a specific link to do that. Even you can even email me at bessy@bessytam.com.

I'm here to help. 

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll see you in the next video!

2

30 Smarter Questions You Can Ask the Interviewer (and Why)

Interviewing is like playing a friendly game of tennis.

You get served the ball by your friendly opponent hoping that you can return it back well. 

What does it mean to hit a great response back?

  1. The Recruiter/HR Manager actually enjoys the game
  2. The Recruiter/HR Manager can actually play the ball back
  3. The question or answer you're hitting back is intriguing and has material he/she can react back to

Imagine if the hiring manager or recruiter is "carrying the weight" of the game, hitting a great ball to you, giving you a great entry point to answer, but you're only able to "receive it" and not respond back with substance. 

Wouldn't that be boring to the hiring manager? Wouldn't that create a disproportionate weight on you just "answering questions" vs making it more conversational?

Why People Fail At Tech Interviews and What to Do

That's why it's important for you to ask quality questions - to be able to actively play a friendly game of tennis. To show curiosity and hold a 50/50 relationship and a 50/50-weighted conversation. 

Previously, I talked about how curiosity is the #1 reason  people fail at tech interviews. I know this because I've interviewed dozens of candidates in my job at Google. And I also know this because I've truly tested my methodologies personally as well, which got me 100% interview to offer ratios for tech jobs.

You can show curiosity by:

  • Doing your homework - research about the role, the company, and the interviewer that you will meet with
  • Actively listening  - lean in during your interview on the edge of your seat and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Don't slump back on your chair, it just makes you look uninterested.
  • Taking notes - remember what the interviewer says and write down notes. Not only will it show the interviewer you're truly interested in what they're saying, you can also write down the 'keywords" that they say so that you connect your answers back to what they said.
  • Asking the right questions - you'll usually have time to ask questions at the end. You can also ask questions after you answer one of the interview questions if you see that there's an opportunity.

Don't Let This Small Thing Undermine Your Chances

The challenge is, if you don't do any of the above, especially  asking great questions, the interviewer might think you're not that interested or not prepared.

Questions like - "How are the benefits at Facebook?" just won't cut it.

That was actually the worst question I've ever gotten as an interviewer and I immediately decided I didn't want her.

It just shows you're not strategic in your ways of working. In my mind as an interviewer, I wonder - how does this translate to his/her work in the workplace? Are they just a data monkey and just does what they're told? Or are they proactive and curious?

It also infers that you don't care about solving the company or team's problems  (which is why a person is hired anyway).. You only care about getting a job.

When in the Interview Prep Process do you prep your questions?

Now that you know why it's important, when are you supposed to prep your questions?

When I prep my students for interviews these questions can be written down after we have a full 25 to 30-page prep doc done. 

This 30-page prep doc includes information about:

  • Who we're meeting
  • Interesting traits of those people for talking points
  • Information about the company, role, and culture that we need to keep in mind
  • 25+ interview questions and answers that can predict 99% of what the interviewer asks - I call this the "Plug and Play" approach
  • and lastly questions we want to ask for each interviewer.

If you want to learn more about the 5 Most Common Questions that Tech Interviews ask and How to Answer them, subscribe below. This is ONE section out of my 7-day FREE Email Course if you're interested.

ANSWER THE TOP TECH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
ERROR-FREE AND WITH CONFIDENCE — EVERY TIME

7 Smarter Strategies to Make You Stand Out Against Competitors

The key is to think through your strategy:

  1. What are the most important 2-3 things you need to learn about this role in order for you to make an educated decision about this role? You usually only have 30 minutes with an interviewer. 
  2. How can you distribute the 1-2 things you need to learn among different people you'll be interviewing with? You'll typically have 3 to 4 interviews that are back-to-back for tech with different managers, people in that role, one HR/Recruiter, and maybe one person who sits outside of that hiring team but works closely with the role.
  3. Who is it that you're talking to and who can best answer that question? Eg. Don't ask questions about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role you're going for to the VP or senior manager of the team. 
  4. Make sure questions are open-ended like "How.." "Why.." "Can you tell me more about...". That's how you keep the tennis game going instead of a "yes or no" question.
  5. Say "Out of Curiosity.." or give a short reasoning before you ask a question if you feel the question is too abrupt or interrogating. The last thing you want is for the interviewer to not be able to answer a question or think you're too aggressive. Giving a reasoning can help soften your approach.
  6. Use follow-up questions - Don't go through a laundry list of quesitons for an interviewer. Those only provide surface level answers. Instead, ask follow-ups like :"You mentioned XYZ. Would you mind elaborating more about that?" or "Tell me more about.." or "Why do you say that?"
  7. Use follow-up answers - Don't just let the interviewer answer your question and let the ball drop (literally and figuratively!). Write down the key points that the interviewer said and match those back to your experiences. For example if you're asking them about traits of an ideal candidate for the role and they mentioned they wanted "someone with experiences influencing both A-level and C-Suite clients." After you've asked follow-up questions and gotten more depth (about 1 to 2 minutes), you can then respond back "that's interesting, because I've had experiences influencing both A-level and C-Suite clients too!" Then you proceed to tell your example or story by using the STAR Method.

In the end, you want to ask questions because it shows that you're curious and also because you want to make the best educated decision about a job. Job descriptions only tell you <5% of what a job entails. 

The last thing you want is to join a company in a job that isn't what you expected (very common), thus waste your own time as well as the company/team's time, and need to look for a job again.

What you want is a job or company that you can work in for 4 to 5 years, to be able to grow you career and learn.

The 30 Smarter Questions You Can Ask An Interviewer

  1. How does the success of this role ladder up to your role?
  2. Can you tell me what a typical day looks like in this role?
  3. What does an ideal candidate look like for you?
  4. If you were working with a [Title of Role], what's one advice you would tell him/her to succeed?
  5. What does success look like for a [Title of Role] ?
  6. How do [Title of Role] often fail in the company? 
  7. What's the #1 Challenge the team/business/company is facing?
  8. What's the biggest opportunity the team/business/company foresees in the next 2 to 3 years?
  9. How do you think the culture of this team or company is different from other tech companies?
  10. What do you like best about working for this company?
  11. Out of all the candidates you've interviewed or seen in the system, what's one thing that makes me stand out and one thing that I may lack or need improvement on?
  12. What are the next steps in the process and is there any information you would need from me to help you make a better decision?
  13. What are your goals for the next  half-year and how does this role contribute to those?
  14. Given what you know about me, is there anything missing in my portfolio or experiences that may hinder my opportunity to move forward as a candidate?
  15. Do you have any feedback for me?
  16. I know you've worked at XYZ company before, how has your experiences in this company differ and what prompted you to make the jump?
  17. I know you've worked as a XYZ role before, how has your experiences in this role differ and what prompted you to make the jump?
  18. I know you've worked in XYZ country before in the same company, how has your experiences here differ and what prompted you to make the jump?
  19. Tell me about a great  [Title of Role] you've worked with, what made working with him/her amazing?
  20. What is the structure of the team like and how do the different roles ladder up to the wider goal?
  21. What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
  22. What does the first 30-60-90 days look like in this role?
  23. Given how rapidly the industry is changing, what are one or two things you wish you knew or had skillsets for when you first started in your role?
  24. Out of curiosity, why did the previous person who filled this role leave?
  25. Since you've been in different teams in the same role, how is this team different from others?
  26. I know this team/company/role/office is new - what prompted this creation and what are the expectations for success for this team/company/role in the next few years?
  27. Who do you work with on a day to day basis and how does your role ladder to their successes?
  28. How do you foresee your role as well as this role change in the next few years?
  29. I read about XYZ news, how has this impacted your role, the business, and the wider company?
  30. How has this role changed in the past 5 years?


Tell me, which of the smarter questions did you ask in your tech interview and what was the result?

ANSWER THE TOP TECH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
ERROR-FREE AND WITH CONFIDENCE — EVERY TIME

VIDEO: The Perfect Cover Letter

I get this question a lot - Do I need a cover letter? What does a great cover letter look like?

Intro

Today's topic is about cover letters. What is a cover letter? What is inside of the cover letter if you need to write one and the exact process exact on how to research and build the perfect cover letter.

And this video actually screenshares one of the coaching calls that I have with my student, Angela, to prepare for her a referral into Square. She got the opportunity to get a referral from one of the informational interviews that she had gotten through the strategies that I taught her.

So first off, if you want to learn about that, feel free to go back to my channel, to search for informational interview or the five questions you should ask for informational interview in order to understand that process.

Why Should You Listen to Me?

I've  helped a lot of students get referrals, interviews and job offers at companies like Lyft, Facebook, Google, L2, Uber, and you name it. This is something that  I'm super passionate about not only because I'm in tech right now, seeing first-hand how applicants and friends struggle to get a job in tech. But also because this is something I actually went through myself before, moving from marketing into tech.

So if you like the content today, please make sure to subscribe below and get the very special bonus I saved for you - the exact template I use to teach my student how to create a cover letter. and two real life cover letters I helped my students write that got them interviews (beyond recruiters phone screens) in those specific roles.

Subscribe to Get the Exact Template to Write the Perfect Cover Letter and Get 2 FREE BONUSES.. Real-Life Cover Letters That Got My Students Their Interviews:

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is basically the introduction that you send to the hiring manager or recruiter or anyone who is the actual the recipient to decide whether or not they should do a phone call interview or the initial screening with you.

This can also work whether it's after the first or second interviews just because they want to get to know you.

Essentially it's an introduction and an email for you to say, "Hello, I am Bessy, I'm an Account Manager at Google and I specialize in these, these, these areas in marketing or in finance, whatever field you are in. And then you can showcase different traits as to why you're a perfect candidate."

Do you Need a Cover Letter?

So one of the few misconceptions that my students or anyone that I talk to would have is whether or not you would need a cover letter. 

First off, you make an impression to somebody within 6 seconds. And this is a scientific fact, someone actually makes a judgment of you within 6 seconds. Most people actually don't do cover letters and I've seen that when I interview candidates both when I was in Google Hong Kong as well as here in Google Chicago. I see that and it gives me an impression that they weren't willing to go to the next step, right? They weren't willing to kind of customize their approach and tell us why they're a great fit. Maybe they're just blasting their resume, I don't know.

But when you do have a resume and a cover letter, it really leaves a great impression even though it's only a six second view of the candidate or six second view of you.

Secondly, that's why I always say that with my strategies. You actually don't need to apply to a hundred different companies and blast it, and basically wish that your interview will come in. That's really tiring, right?

With my strategies, it's always a very strategic approach where  my student Angela would basically get a referral opportunities and therefore craft a cover letter based off of those conversations. So if you haven't seen those videos, make sure you do that. it's on my channel to talk about why you should have informational interviews and different questions that you can ask during information interviews. So using that information that you've learned about the company and basically in the, in the next 15 minutes or so [in the video] you'll be seeing exactly how I walk through with Angela on how to research and use the information that she got from the information interview as well as information online to craft the best cover letter.

My Advice For You

In the end, it's very important to customize your story through cover letters because every company and every team are very different. So your cover letter has to be directed specifically to that role and specifically to that team. If you don't it, the recruiters can feel it and they can see that it's a, it's a one size fit all approach and they don't really have idea that you understand what they want or that you're really into the job by itself.

By doing the research (like I do in the video)  you will be able to save yourself a lot of time and also be able to ensure that you have a very, very high chance of getting the interview, even passing the interviews because you know exactly what they want and what the company is about.

So without further ado, you've learned about what it is. Why is it important, why it's important to do research. Watch the video to see exactly how I walked Angela through the research process. Again, make sure you su you do to stick around to the end so that you can get the exact template that I provide my students on making the perfect cover letters.

Subscribe to Get the Exact Template to Write the Perfect Cover Letter and Get 2 FREE BONUSES.. Real-Life Cover Letters That Got My Students Their Interviews:

VIDEO: 6 Questions To Ask In An Informational Interview

Informational Interviews are important is because you want to use this opportunity to not only get a foot in the door to understand more about what the company culture is like, what products they are using, what kind of candidate that they want, but also for them to get to know you a little bit more.

Informational Interviews will also save you months, even years of agony working in a company and role you didn't actually want. It was also save you hours of useless research online by allowing you to learn exactly what the company and team is looking for.

Transcript:

Hi, this is Bessy Tam from InYour20s.com, a career platform and coaching service to help you get into tech. So today I will talk a bit more about the 5 or 6 questions that you can ask in an informational interview.

So What is an Informational Interview?

It's not an official interview that you have with the company, but a conversation that you can have with someone who's on the team or even the hiring manager of the desired position that you're going to go for in this company.

Now, the objective of this chat or sometimes I would say coffee chat is for you to learn a little bit more about what they mean, but also for them to get to know you a little bit more as a friend or acquaintance in a casual setting before you even go into the formal process.

The reason why this is really important is because you want to use this opportunity to not only get a foot in the door to understand more about what the company culture is like, what products they are using, what kind of candidate that they want, but also for them to get to know you a little bit more.

We all know that a tech company really values referrals and there's always a finite amount of, of referrals that a friend of yours, let's say in Facebook or in Google can refer you, right?

So informational chats will allow you to get into the process or get in front of the teammates without really wasting your referral or application. And then once you know it's a good fit and understand what the team wants, then you can maybe get a higher chance to get into the team or the company through the formal process.

The Reason Why this is Really Important

The reason why this is really important is because you want to use this opportunity to not only get a foot in the door to understand more about what the company culture is like, what products they are using, what kind of candidate that they want, but also for them to get to know you a little bit more.

We all know that a tech company really values referrals and there's always a finite amount of, of referrals that a friend of yours, let's say in Facebook or in Google can refer you, right?

So informational chats will allow you to get into the process or get in front of the teammates without really wasting your referral or application. And then once you know it's a good fit and understand what the team wants, then you can maybe get a higher chance to get into the team or the company through the formal process.

So I have a little story to tell you before I jump into the questions to ask in the informational interview itself.

Informational interviews are actually the way that I got all of my jobs after my very first job.

And from what I know out in the market, the best career navigators and the most successful people actually don't really apply. They don't apply after the first job that they have in the market because no matter what it is, it's all about the networking and the people that you know.

So, instead of going through the route that everyone else goes through, search online, to find the right jobs, to find the right company and just apply and be amongst a thousand people, they would actually talk to find a way to talk to the right teammates, right people to understand more and then cut the line. And that's what informational interviews are here to help you for.

So that happened to me, especially when I was interviewing for a digital marketing position that was managing  the Asia Pacific region, which is a huge deal. That's 7 different countries I would have managed! Also when I actually moved to Google Chicago for this role that I'm doing right now.

And, just a disclaimer, you know, everything was video is based off of my own opinion, not of my companies, but I, I'm really passionate about helping people because I know how much informational interviews actually helped me.

"And for both of those jobs that I got offers for, I was fighting against candidates that were both internal and external of about 50 to 100 of them!"

So before I got into Google Chicago, or before I got the offer for the first job, I actually did informational interviews with probably 4 or 5 people on the team to understand more about what they want. And for both of those jobs that I got offers for, I was fighting against candidates that were both internal and external of about 50 to 100 of them!

If you think about it, I moved from Hong Kong to Chicago. There were other US candidates that were here for this job, ready to start! Instead, I got it and my manager had to wait 4 months for me to arrive to the US just because I have the exact skillsets and I built the rapport to showcase what I can do for them and for their business.

The 5 Different Questions that you can ask during informational interviews

So without further ado, I'm going to teach you 5 or 6 different questions that you can ask during the informational interview to really understand the wider landscape and questions of the team. 

Introduce Yourself

So first of all, you're going to introduce yourself. This is super important and you have to approach it the same way that you would approach an interview. My general rule is each introduction should only be 30 seconds to a minute. I've interviewed people before myself and I've seen some very terrible, introductions. Some even went over 40 minutes, which is crazy.

So what you want to do is say, Hey, I'm Bessy Tam. I'm currently an account manager at Google Chicago. I specialize in x, Y, z. So I would say, um, measurement as well as brand marketing for large companies in the hotel and retail space. 

And then you can break down exactly what you do. Um, I currently work on such such such projects. Then you talk about, what you're looking for. So I, I'm looking to take my skill sets on a wider level, um, and focus on a large client and help grow the business. Um, I truly think that Google has a great fit and I'd be able to apply my sales, marketing as well as measurements, product experiences to the team. 

So essentially by the end of it, you want to focus on the role and what you're going for so that you can showcase how you can help them instead of just focusing on yourself.

Question 1: "What is Your Ideal Candidate Like For This Role?"

So the first question you could ask is, um, what is, what is your ideal candidate like for this role? So assuming that you have a role in mind that you're going to talk about for this informational interview, this is a question that you guys can to the different teammates in the company, in that specific team for that role. 

Don't ask someone else who is outside of that role, just so you can understand more about the specific qualities that they're looking for or skillsets. The reason why this is important is because they'll probably list out three or four qualities that they want. 

For example, when I went for the previous role that I got an offer for that regional, they were saying that they needed someone with a very broad digital background, they needed someone who had ecommerce experience and then they also talked about, someone who, who can collaborate really well and influence others both on the c level as well as on a day to day level.

So during the informational interview, if they say that, then you marked down those three qualities and then you can explain to them, "oh, that's great. I'm glad you're looking for someone who has global experience. And also e-commerce. I actually happened to have those experiences. For example, my previous client was x, Y, Z and I helped them grow the ecommerce websites, revenue from this number to this number through search marketing, Facebook marketing as well as video advertisement overall." 

It's like a game of tennis, you want to be able to hit the ball back to their court after they tell you what they wanted so that you can kind of keep it a conversation and instead of them just talking the whole time. 

Question 2: "What is the Team Dynamic Like Within the Team? What Other Teams Do You Work With?

Second question you can ask is, what is the team dynamics like within the team and what other teams do you work with?

So the reason why you want to ask this is because you can follow up with specific questions later on. What is the working styles of the teams? How does your role different from others in various countries? What is the different working models between different groups and then most importantly, the last question you should follow up on is how does this specific role ladder up to your success and various teams' successes.

The reason why is you want to be able to pinpoint how this role fits into the larger picture of the different team dynamics and understand in a social ladder or influential setting, how important and how, how this role can solve their business challenges and collaborate well with others.

"So this is a very important question I asked when I talked to both of the offers that I got and is exactly the reason why I didn't take the first offer"

So this is a very important question I asked when I talked to both of the offers that I got and is exactly the reason why I didn't take the first offer was because I understood that the digital, the regional role didn't have as much power as or as much, um, decision making power the as I wanted to have in order to make the projects I had in mind happen for the countries.

So these are little things that you can ask to understand more about their dynamics and how you can influence in this role.

Question 3: "What Is Your Current Business Challenge?"

Then of course, the third question you can ask is what is your current business challenge? 

The reason why you want to understand this is you want to showcase that you're here to think about the business as a whole. You're here to understand them holistically and not only just go for the role by itself. 

For example, if the business challenge is something that is very specific and you feel like you cannot make an impact or is very hard to change, then it might not be the right thing. So, for example, if you're going for a company that is clearly dying like a Blockbuster or something and you understand that their business challenge is the industry is changing, then your follow-up questions would be, are there new products that are, you are trying to launch for or how are you solving these issues?

On the other hand, if you think that the business challenge is actually very interesting and something you can solve for you can talk about your experiences doing the same thing. 

For example, you can say that I have a similar experiences solving your business challenge of growing an e-commerce platform. And then you can talk about your experiences, um, and match it back to them the same way you did in the previous question. 

Question 4: "What Do You Think Are the biggest opportunities for the business?"

Next question. The fourth question would be, what do you think are the biggest opportunities for the business?

The fun thing about this question is they'll probably identify 2 or 3 biggest opportunities, and you can kind of understand how your position or your experiences can help accelerate those opportunities.

You can even ask follow up questions that would include how are different teams contributing to these opportunities. "Are there specific roles or a specialization within the team that helps ladder up to these opportunities?"

For example, when I did the informational interviews for this role in Chicago, I understood that they wanted different teammates to have products specializations and what they were lacking with someone who had measurement experience. And therefore I could say, "Oh, that's great!  I've actually done something that's similar to that opportunity. Would you want me to share more about it?" Actually, don't even ask them. Just tell them I've accomplished something like that before in x, Y, z experience in the past. And in the end, the result was this. It was awesome."

That's one way you can hit the tennis ball back to their side

Or there's a 2nd way to do so saying, "Hey, actually I have some ideas about those opportunities! Here are a few things that I was thinking about when I was looking at and doing some research on your business and the company."

So by pitching your ideas you can be more proactive and showcase sort of a plan that you're thinking about to make sure that they understand that you're really forward looking and you're trying to here to help solve their business problems. 

In the end, an employee is there to help solve business problems. Just the same way as the company is, is solving the individual's problems by giving them a job, right? And giving them something to really interesting to work on in these tech companies. 

Question 5: "Based On What You Know About My Experiences, Is there anything you think is missing where I can fill the gaps?"

And then five, I think this is super important question to ask. A lot of people are hesitant to ask this in other companies. For traditional companies I would say aren't necessarily as open to this specific question.

But then in tech companies, I would say completely go for this because tech companies want to know that you are very willing to learn. 

So the question would be, based on what you know about my experiences, is there anything you think is missing where I can fill the gaps? So this showcases that you are very aware of what you have and that there's always improvements for you to grow and that you're essentially open to feedback because tech companies love it when their employees are in a great team environment that can ask for feedback and continue to grow. 

So if they identify with those specific traits, then you can hit the ball back to them and say, that's great to know. Thank you for the feedback. I actually thought of the same thing before and I've signed up for this certification to get that product knowledge or I've actually done this, this, this, and these projects and plan to grow those skillsets in the company if I were a teammate of yours or if I were to go through all the interview processes to grow in this, these three steps. 

So it shows that you're very proactive but also willing to grow. And it just shows that you're laid back and not necessarily defensive or frantic about your position in the job market

So it shows that you're very proactive but also willing to grow. And it just shows that you're laid back and not necessarily defensive or frantic about your position in the job market, that you're a very secure person and it's always nice to talk to someone in that way in an informational interview especially to give a good perception or understanding. 

Question 6: "Are there Other people within the team or within the company who have similar roles that I can talk to?"

And lastly, what you want to get out of the informational chat is to get more chats. So by the end of it, once the 20 or 30 minutes is done and you have good notes, you can say, you know, is there anything more that we're missing or we should chat about? Then you can also say, most importantly is there, are there other people within the team or within the company who have similar roles that I can talk to, to understand more about the specific role that I'm looking for or that we're talking about here?

The reason why is because you want to be able to get a holistic understanding. Informational interviews are only one-sided as long as you only have one person. So ideally you would have three to four people that you chat with on that team or in a similar role to understand.

So one of the things that I made a decision on with the other offer that I got for the regional role was I asked actually for someone who had a similar title for me to chat with. And that particular person who was managing the European market. I talked to her and understood what she was doing on a day-to-day basis. What was her role like? How does her role ladder up to the wider team business challenges as well as opportunities? And therefore, I can visualize exactly whether I want it to be in her, his or her shoes, you know, for this specific role that I was applying for.

And I eventually understood that I did not want that. And it gives you a clearer picture instead of jumping into the company and deciding that, "Oh my gosh, this is like not exactly what I wanted. I need to find a job again." And that's just very, very stressful for you. 

Conclusion

So I hope this was really helpful!

Please comment below what specific questions you have asked in in informational interviews or any questions that you have for me. I always read the comments. 

Otherwise, feel free to jump to inyour20s.com to subscribe and get my free 7-day email course. Then I can walk you through more tips and tricks such as: Resume Revamp worksheets, interview questions that are mostly asked in tech interviews, as well as a career exploration worksheet that you can understand more about whether tech is right for you, so make sure you go to InYour20s.com or comment below.

I always look forward to seeing you guys in the following video!

VIDEO: Why you didn’t get the job & what to do about it

It hurts. You didn’t get your dream job and you’re wondering why?!

You KNOW you have the right credentials.

You KNOW you will do 3X better than anyone this company hires for this position.

You KNOW you’re made for this position - blending in with the company culture, acing the work itself, matching the team dynamics, or fitting in with what the industry needs.

And that’s why it’s so frustrating when you didn’t get the position.

I’ve been there before… and I remember like it was yesterday, as if I got punched hard in my stomach.

I basically got a manager/operations role at a PR firm when I got back to Hong Kong, after I’ve done 2 years of PR/SEO/Marketing in Boston. I got the role and was even going to manage people. However after a week of bliss and celebrations, the job got revoked without any reasoning at all. And I was once again “jobless.”

I was devastated.

"I felt ashamed."

And I definitely felt a mix of emotions:

  • I felt ashamed - not only because I might’ve announced my job to everyone that I knew, but also because I really thought I had it. I was going to kill it at this new position.
  • I felt like I didn’t get a good shot at it - it’s like.. I didn’t even get a chance to show them all the amazing things that I could do for them!
  • Most importantly, I thought I was doomed - because I couldn’t get this position, I felt like there was no chance I’d get any job better than this.

Luckily, I always trusted that things happened for a reason and listened to my dad’s advice (who was a business founder and CXO).

He said, “If a company rejects you, it’s not a reflection of how qualified you are. In fact, it’s opposite, it’s a reflection of what they’re looking for at that very moment. This has nothing to do with you at all.”

[translated from Cantonese.. And probably not an exact translation but you get what i mean haha]

“If a company rejects you, it’s not a reflection of how qualified you are. In fact, it’s opposite, it’s a reflection of what they’re looking for at that very moment. This has nothing to do with you at all.”

I really took it to heart because I respect him so much. And this really paid off within a day or two I got back up on my feet as if nothing happened. This perspective and these crazy experiences only led me to something better.

Within a hard 5+ month journey looking for more jobs, I learned that tech was a great fit for me and eventually landed my job at Google.

I’ve interviewed dozens of people since I’ve started working at Google and have built this platform InYour20s.com to help people get into tech.

Most importantly, I wanted to share behind-the-scenes why people don’t get the jobs they want - both from my personal experiences applying for jobs as well as my professional experiences interviewing candidates in tech.

2 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job and What You Can Do About It:

#1 There’s a specific set of skillsets that the team needs that unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to offer.

Let’s say you’re going for an Account Manager role in Facebook and there happened to be one open role that served retail/e-commerce clients.

Looking at the job description, it may seem like a “normal Account Manager role” servicing clients. While tech companies love people who are well-rounded and showcase different skillsets, the team might be looking for something specific to balance out their team dynamics/specializations.

For example, the team might be looking for..:

  • Someone who has extensive retail/e-commerce experiences externally.
  • Someone who has extensive Facebook advertisement optimization experiences from an agency.
  • Someone who has a particular skillsets or specialization in performance marketing
  • Someone who has experiences in brand marketing
  • Someone who has a background in TV advertisement
  • And the list goes on...

The key takeaway here is that you JUST WON’T KNOW what they’re specifically looking for unless you talk to them! There’s a slim chance you can “guess” your way into a job. And you can only do that if you have all-the-above checked and be able to wiggle your way into it.

But that only happens if you’re already in the industry or already in tech.

Before I went through interviews for Google Hong Kong, I had informational interviews with the vendor company (I was hired as a temp/contract worker) to understand what the company was looking for. This was scrappiness, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a huge willingness to sell.

He was able to lay their needs out for me before I went through 4 rounds of interviews.

Before I went through interviews for Google Chicago (yes, you have to interview formally even when transferring internally), I chat informally with 3-4 people on the team to understand what they needed. This was a specific marketing measurement knowledge and experiences selling/influencing large customers.

They were all able to lay their needs/challenges out for me before I went through 4 rounds of interviews.

That’s why I always tell my students you HAVE TO talk to the people on the team and get information interviews!

Learn more about how to Ace your (tech) interview

#2 Your timing is off.

Jobs are increasing in the tech market. 67% of tech and engineering hiring decision makers said they want to increase headcount in 2019 (Modis).

While this is the case, getting the right candidates is harder than ever. Tech companies have to ensure they’re still rigorous and specific in their interviewing process in order to hire the right fit and maintain retention, but also be able to fill the open role ASAP.

The key to this is to be ready when openings come up. It’s almost too late when you see your dream tech job opening online.

Why?

1) A pipeline is already being built before the job was posted externally - Tech companies usually open roles to the “internal system” first. This way, they can see if there are enough people looking and interviewing for the job before they get a huge wave of candidates with scattered skillsets. 

When I finally went through the formal interview process for Google Chicago, I was one of 50 internal candidates applying for the job.

2) They might have a particular person in mind - The people who succeed in getting into tech would have talked to dozens and dozens of people in various tech companies before roles are open.

It’s not about what you know, but who you know.

You need to be top of mind and have made a lasting impression for them to consider you among the 100+ “pieces of paper” aka resumes they receive.

I met my Google Chicago manager through having a coffee 6 months before I formally went through the interviews. The same way I had my informational interview before joining Google Hong Kong.

3) The role has just been open for too long - I helped someone go through a tech interview process recently but another candidate was just too far down the interview process.

If someone is a 75% fit that is in the last round of interviews vs another person who is a 99% fit just applying, there’s a high chance the company or team cannot wait for 2+ months before getting someone on board.

Hiring is the #2 most difficult thing tech companies face (Forbes). We faced the same thing when we had to fill 50% of our 9-person Google Chicago team. It took us 5 months. And I was doing 2-3 people’s jobs while recruiters and our managers were scrambling to find the right fit with complementary skillsets.

Every team goes through a 3-4 year cycle of teammates leaving, this is normal. But when the time comes, we just have to make a decision.

If timing is your issue the case, what should you do about it?

Start your “referral process” early! If you have people you’ve chat with through reaching out on LinkedIn, friends of friends, or the alumni network, you’ll be able to find out exactly what the teams’ need and when they’re hiring.

I knew about the 2 Google Chicago roles opening 6 MONTHS before the roles even EXISTED.

Headcount in a tech company is almost like a value that is gifted from the managerial “gods,” especially in large tech firms. You get headcount like you get gold stars in middle school - you know when they are given, and why - whether it’s because of a client need (aka your parent talked to your teacher during the parent-teacher conference) or whether it’s because you did well.

This way, you can get the inside scoop instead of getting the generic external messages after you’ve applied like this one:

You’re like WUHHHH??

Instead of not knowing what exactly they’re looking for, why you got the message, and who the team even IS.

You can get someone inside to talk to the manager/team directly and find out what exactly the team is looking for quickly. See example below for someone I was looking to refer:

You find out exactly what they need and might be able to hop on the phone with them too.

Only the team will be able to tell you what they need. Only the team will be able to convey their current business challenges and how this role would help them. And only the team will be able to communicate whether your background is exactly what they’re looking for. If not, they’d at least have you in mind or refer you to another team that might be a better fit.

I know it’s easier to just apply and go to the interview hoping you’d get it. But I can promise you, the hours of preparation and chatting with people months before the interview is worth it.

This way, you can match your experiences and answers to exactly what they need during the interview, instead of shooting in different directions within the 15-30 minutes of time you have with the interview and hope for the best.

I can almost guarantee you, you can even get the job without applying with this method.

Tell me, if you’ve ever had an experience getting rejected. Why do you think YOU didn’t get the job? Comment below.

Love,

Bessy

PS Did you know you could get direct help from me  instead of reading dozens and dozens of articles, not knowing where to START your job search process? Schedule a free assessment here with me so that we can get you the dream tech job you deserve ASAP!

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