Each time you log into LinkedIn, it seems as if another large tech organization is laying off thousands of employees, with many people posting #opentowork. As graduation is soon approaching, entering the tech job market may seem daunting.
We sat down with Corinne Snell, assistant dean of the Fox School’s Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), to discuss what the current job market really means for upcoming graduates and the steps students should take during their job search to land a career in tech.
How should students go about navigating their job search in the tech industry?
Snell: What you hear in the news can sound overwhelming. It is the larger companies that had major increases in employment during the pandemic and are now cutting down employee numbers.
At CSPD we are not hearing anything that is causing us actual concern from employers which whom we work closely. There are still many job opportunities in the tech industry, and we are telling students to take this time as an opportunity to figure out what they are passionate about and what exactly is important to them in a career.
Tech jobs are not just found in major household name organizations like Microsoft, Meta and Twitter, but can also be found in smaller companies. For example, there are many fulfilling tech jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, or even in companies that deal with financial advising.
How should students vet employers prior to applying to a company?
Snell: Instead of taking the traditional route and just navigating through the company website, look at their social media or networking pages, like LinkedIn. You could go through the LinkedIn page and see if any Fox School or Temple alumni work at the company.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and network with alumni working for the company you want to apply to. Ask them specific questions, like how the changes in hiring have affected the organization. Networking could also include reaching out to your peers who have done internships at these organizations. Oftentimes, websites like Handshake have testimonials on the company page where you can hear from other employees working or interning for that organization.
How can students gain a competitive edge during their job search?
Snell: Keep in mind that you as a recent graduate bring a fresh perspective to the table. Companies might be looking to hire people that they can train. Focus on what you can offer, given the fact that you are coming into the job market with the most recent education and knowledge of the newest technology.
Figure out how you can package your experiences in the classroom, past internships, or things you have learned as a member of a student professional organization (SPO) that relates to work experience. Think about all the personal and transferable skills you have gained during your time as an undergraduate student and really market those to employers.
What actions should students take prior to applying for a job?
Snell: Before applying to a job, we tell students to “decode” the job description. They should identify keywords and competencies listed in the job description. Students should then ensure their resume incorporates relevant industry language to align with those skills the employer is seeking.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are widely used to scan and weed out resumes that do not match the job description. It is important that your resume is optimized for the ATS. If selected for an interview, students should then be prepared to share examples of how/when they demonstrated those skills highlighted in the job description.
What are some ways students can expand their network?
Snell: Make sure you don’t just get involved in SPOs as a member but use the time in those meetings to take the extra step and network with your peers and the guest speakers.
Networking doesn’t have to be scary. Speak to family and friends that work in the industry you are interested in. Start with the close circle and build beyond that. The more people you speak to the greater chance you have of landing an interview!