Practice Your Interviewing Skills
This is a big one: at some point in your job search, you’re going to find yourself sitting across the table from an HR staffer or hiring manager. And if that interview goes well, you could find yourself in a technical interview, which may require you to diagram some core concepts on that most high-tech of tools, the whiteboard.
Before the interview, take the time to research the company’s interview setup. You should also parse through the company’s Websites, blogs, and other materials in order to figure out all its lines of business; you never know when an interviewer will ask for your opinion of a new product or a certain division’s work.
For many tech pros, one of the hardest aspects of the interview process is explaining complex concepts, especially if the interviewer is not technically inclined. Before heading into the interview, sit down with your application materials and break out your most successful projects. On a separate piece of paper, diagram each project’s goals, resources, timeline, collaborators, and results. That top-level approach will help you boil down your work into a pithy, jargon-free explanation that will (hopefully) satisfy any job interviewer.
If you advance to a second or third interview round, and find yourself locked in conversation with a more technically inclined manager, you can (and should) get into more detail about your technical background. But for the initial stages, keep things simple.
And if you do find yourself in front of a whiteboard, don’t panic. Writing the question at the top of the board helps; so does talking through your work as you write. Even if you can’t solve the problem at hand, working through it as far as possible can still impress an interviewer with your critical-thinking skills.
Applying for a new job isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Keep in mind that rejection is part of the process; just because a company opts to hire another tech pro doesn’t mean that you’re unskilled or bad at what you do. With a bit of care and hard work, you can make this summer a memorable one for your career.