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Breaking into Tech with a Non-Tech Resume?

Ever wondered how you might be able to break into the tech industry with a non-tech profile? We come across candidates pretty much every day, with different levels of experience, who all have one thing in common; an inner yearn to revolutionise their resumes in order to gain the upper hand in the race to tech. We have and still do get candidates like this all the time, candidates like Mark who recently sent us an e-mail asking how to break into tech. Mark, who pivoted from corporate finance into business development after doing an MBA, has a very formal and chronological type of resume, which states his duties and responsibilities in plain black Times New Roman text. Mark wants to know exactly what his chances of securing a job in tech are, so he could prepare forward for an interview process which might be improved through the use of lateral innovation to complement his profile.

Asking the Right Questions 

The first question Mark needs to ask is whether or not his immediate position has any intrinsic relevance to his future aspirations. Is there a convenient crossover which could create some interest in his profile? That could be in the form of specific knowledge of industry methods and even software and applications or maybe just a certification. Being able to understand code helps too, it actually goes a long way, in fact. As statistics show, upwards of 85% of job applicants (from a recent industry survey) have some sort of interest in becoming part of a professional community.

In addition to this, Mark might want to innovate laterally by creating his own unique responsive website with all his various projects included, using that as his profile online and on social media, but generally, what seems to always work is to also have a good old fashioned resume ready to send via e-mail or attach to applications. We actually downloaded and trialed a coding app called SoloLearn and found that upon completion of the relatively and comparatively difficult coding tasks, you're given the opportunity to connect online certificates of completion to your Linkedin page, which is awesome!

The Look and Feel

The second question Mark should be asking is what factors will affect the look and feel of his profile and suitability when his profile is initially screened. One thing recruiters love seeing is initiative being taken, as it shows lateral and innovative competences from the candidate, Mark can demonstrate that he has the drive and perseverance to make it into the perfect tech role by exhibiting these aspects in his profile. This might include things that may add a more relaxed look and feel or a new pizzazz to the traditional chronological document.

Colour Cordination

The third thing is colour coordination, for instance, is one feature of a great tech profile. If the profile is bright, whatever colour it may be, then reflects the mood of the candidate, Mark wants to join with ambitions of adding to his good influences and habits. Keep the colour coordination consistent and don't go overboard. Rainbows just don't make for clear and legible documents.

Be Professional

The mainstay of corporate strategists everywhere is generally their ability to see what others can't, so we would expect Mark to take an incisive guess at what the recruitment culture of the company is and plan accordingly. If with an MBA, you are sending highly contrasting resumes to tech and venture capital firms then this might be slightly unprofessional given that sort of context. Especially if the use of non-formal language is common in your profile. We have all fallen short of that type of trap, pretending to be down with the kids by using terms like "skills stack" instead of additional skills, which can be rather off putting if like Mark you are applying for a role in a late-stage startup as a senior strategy or business development person.

But at the same time, to many tech recruiters who witnessed the first wave of tech migration, about 4 or 5 years ago, we saw the benefit of candidates submitting profiles which used emojis, stars (instead of bullet points), and aggressive colourings, but as professionals, and with the rise of candidates like Mark, nowadays it is important that we mature and demonstrate some growth in our perceptions. A typical chronological CV isn't the worst thing in the world, especially if it includes all the document etiquette which you are expected to have in your day-to-day (no full stops on bullets, 12pt minimum font size and 1.5pt paragraph spaces etc).

Find Someone to Grind With

Discussing the specifics is almost impossible without context, so if you are interested in doing a complete and thorough review of your profile, and maybe even designing the branding strategy for your personal website, we highly recommend finding a careers consultant who will help improve your personal brand. Also, read some books. A good tip would be to read a book by Executive Search Consultant John Purkiss who recently wrote a book entitled "Brand You" (a play on the term Brand New), which comes highly recommended from us. Good luck with the grind, and we hope it all goes well. Thanks for reading.