Many students of Information Technology have their sites set on mainly one thing – landing a job with one of the giants in the tech industry! This would include the likes of AWS, Twitter, Google, Netflix, etc. In this post, I will provide some guidance from top engineers that have succeeded in this very lofty goal.
This post is warranted because of the simple fact that so many of your peers are attempting to do the exact same thing, at the exact same time. I am reminded of the story of Ryan Kroonenberg, who desperately wanted to work at AWS, but did not get hired after a lengthy (and stressful) series of interviews for a position. Of course, his story ended very well as he decided to start A Cloud Guru with his brother, Sam.
Ryan should certainly not feel bad. And this is not because he went on to establish a very successful company of his own, but because we are talking about as few as 0.1% making the cut at some of these tech giants!
But don’t despair, and certainly don’t avoid trying to make your mark. Here are some pro tips for giving yourself the best possible odds of success:
Determine exactly what specific role you want to fill within one of these large organizations. You should also do plenty of exhaustive research so that you know exactly what that job entails and you can demonstrate excellence in that specific role. For those of us in pursuit of certifications, this is one of the reasons we love the migration of certifications to “role-based”. We see this with more and more big certification vendors like CompTIA and Microsoft.
Tailor your resume to be a great fit for the position you are after. Remember, a really long resume that includes everything you have ever done in IT can really hurt you much more than it can help you!
Use your resume to tell the story of how you can implement your technical skills to help the business achieve their business goals. This is one of my hot buttons. I have always seen companies get caught up in implementing cool tech because it is cool. They never stopped and thought “now wait a minute, how can this cool new tech actually help us to achieve our business goals???”
Consider a cover letter if you are really “green” in IT and you need a place to describe why you believe you are an excellent fit. While cover letters started fading out of usage (especially in tech), they can still serve a very powerful purpose.
No degree or not many certifications? Don’t let that stop you from trying! You can always start with projects of your own to demonstrate your skills. For example, consider a coder that just creates some really cool stuff on his or her own and then shares their masterpieces with the world to enjoy. This is personal to me, as when I was writing my first AWS textbook, I decided to spin up an actual public web site using an S3 bucket (as I was writing about at the time). Sure, I may never finish the little lab project at awscerthub.com, but I could always describe the process and show it off if someone doubted my ability to quickly implement low cost solutions in AWS. And who knows, maybe I will be offered $1,453,294 for the domain some day. 🙂
Be sure to also emphasize those important soft skills. These might include the participation in or the founding or professional organizations, communication, time management, meeting management, and your ability to work on a team in general.
I hope this post serves to excite you and motivate you. Remember, “the only thing to fear here is fear itself. ” Thanks FDR!