Preparing for the Job Hunt: My Experience with Springboard’s Career Services
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Career services are an essential component of any educational program. In today's highly competitive job market, having access to career services can provide a significant advantage over other applicants. From career planning to LinkedIn guidance, resume writing, interview preparation, career technologies, and networking opportunities, Springboard's career services have helped me navigate the complex job search process.
Establishing My Career Goals
Career support starts early within Springboard. I met with a career counselor in the first month of the software engineering bootcamp. On this call, they introduced me to the career support program and reviewed my career strategy and preference plan — a worksheet composed of questions designed to help me start thinking about what industry I would like to work in, what size company is a good fit for me, what my target salary is, and more. For a career transitioner like myself, this immediately meant doing some research. Thankfully, this session did help orient my job search and even my capstones (larger individual projects that demonstrate your skills).
Now that I had a clear understanding of what my career goals were, I was tasked with creating a simple but effective elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a well-crafted 30-second to two-minute persuasive speech that aims to spark interest in a topic; it is often used to begin networking. After using a recommended framework, I was able to craft a 60-second introduction about myself, my previous experience, and my current career trajectory.
I then met with a career coach and a small group of other students in my career track. This was helpful because I not only got a chance to practice my introduction but also had the opportunity to listen to others. We shared live feedback and were able to make the elevator pitches conversational, which is best for real-life scenarios and networking.
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Revamping My LinkedIn Profile and Resume
As I learned from my career counselors, a very important factor in finding a job is networking. Networking can significantly shorten your job search if done correctly. As you may have guessed, LinkedIn was my next career step.
LinkedIn is a key platform for professional networking and career development. Prior to Springboard, I thought LinkedIn was easy — you just post your experience and apply for jobs. I soon came to find it was more complex than that. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. There are specific ways to job hunt, share your experience, and connect with other professionals.
I completed a full LinkedIn revamp and then met with a career coach. Having someone with a background in recruitment in the tech industry take a look at my page was incredibly helpful. They scrutinized everything from the language I used to my LinkedIn profile picture to ensure the page accurately reflected my professional experience and my growing educational achievements. My LinkedIn was polished, but I still needed to tackle my physical resume.
Working on my resume was perhaps my favorite career support step. My coach gave me valuable feedback and provided detailed reasons why certain things either worked or did not work. They were also able to provide a sample resume that worked well for the applicant's target role. This helped me identify how to outline my experiences in a way that matches the job description.
Additionally, we were able to clarify transferable skills from previous roles into my target roles. This is an important step for anyone looking for a new job, but especially for someone transitioning fields.
Sharpening My Interview Skills
Springboard provided me with current articles and videos of the different types of interviews I might participate in. This also included a take-home assignment to complete a task or solve a problem. This mimicked the real-world interview process, as I've had a few take-home assignments to complete in my current job search.
Students who follow the job-guarantee program with Springboard go through four mock interviews including coding, whiteboard, a project walkthrough, and a behavioral interview. These are optional for non-job guarantee students, but they mirror real-life scenarios and can help new developers gain confidence and practice live coding, which is a very important skill. I personally gained valuable feedback from my coding interview and learned a few new interview-answering techniques when I went through my behavioral interview.
Managing My Job Search
As I neared the end of the curriculum, I was introduced to additional Springboard career technologies. This included a Springboard web extension that assists with tracking the jobs I've applied to and what step in the interview process I have moved onto. Additionally, I can keep track of each job description, which has proven helpful when jobs are removed from LinkedIn.
Finally, the extension helps me keep track of informational interview discussions and contacts I've had the pleasure of connecting with. This helped my overall organization and gave me confidence in approaching new people. As I mentioned before, building connections was an important skill Springboard's career team not only taught me but practiced themselves.
As part of the career support offered to current students and alumni, Springboard provides employer partnerships. Springboard partners with a few companies to announce any upcoming or current jobs. Students receive a weekly email including job listings.
Additionally, students have access to job board platform partners, some of which even give students money back if hired on through their app. These have been especially helpful because it helps bootcamp graduates find their first job.
Finally, I had various opportunities to network through seminars and social hours that allowed students and graduates to gain industry knowledge.
Overall, given how many resources are made available (many of which were not named here) to Springboard students, the nine months I worked with the career support services made a positive impact on my job search. The interviews are rolling in!
Meet the Author
I am a first-generation college graduate and a bootcamp student. I attended Sacramento State University and earned a BA in sociology. Postgrad, I worked within association management but soon realized it was not a long-term career I wanted to pursue. I chased the opportunity to continue learning and find new challenges that would energize me and even stump me. I found this in software development.
Years ago, the topic alone may have terrified me. Today, I am a software engineering student who aims to join a strong team of developers and provide support and a voice for the bootcamp community.
Note: Lazaro is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Freelance Student Network.