Want to Work at Meta? How Budding Entrepreneurs Can Build a Tech CV in College. Seven strategies to highlight your qualifications for the fast-moving sector -- and other industries as well.
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Facebook's rebranding to Meta and the prospect of a new chapter of tech development around the metaverse concept is the latest reminder of why the tech sector is among the most exciting, best-paid and highest-growth destinations for college graduates.
Jobs in tech aren't just for software developers or at behemoth companies like Meta and Alphabet, Google's parent company. Tech is increasingly central to employers in all industries. On top of that, large tech firms are seeking talent in non-tech areas like marketing, HR and communications.
In a tight labor market, it's tempting for students to assume that they'll be able to stroll into a good role in the industry just by completing their degree. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Tech companies can still afford to be choosy and are prioritizing graduates who demonstrate a proactive approach to gaining the specific skills needed for tech jobs.
Here are seven strategies students can use to maximize their chances of landing a job in tech. What's more, the quicker they're hired, the quicker they can pay off student loans.
Use your college's career resources
Too many students view their college's career counseling center as a resource to be tapped only in the latter stages of their degree, if at all. Instead, they should be knocking on the career counselor's door early and often as a source of information and support. It's part of a counselor's job to keep abreast of tech industry hiring trends, know how to craft a resume and have connections that can help lead to internships and other opportunities for students. Don't be one of the 58% of Americans who regret not taking advantage of career services.
Make your coursework tech-relevant
Tech employers want to see a track record of coursework in subjects that are relevant to the role you're applying for. Students interested in technical roles who aren't at the required level in math, for example, would need to boost their credentials in that subject by taking additional elective courses to build their skills.
Augment your degree with external training
Tech employers like to see evidence that applicants have taken extra steps to fill gaps in their knowledge. Fortunately, there's now a plethora of external options that enable students to do that through providers like Coursera, Udacity and LinkedIn Learning. A forthcoming survey by BestColleges finds that 29% of students have either completed or plan to complete a self-paced online learning course, with 23% focused on technical or vocational training programs and 10% opting for a technical bootcamp. This process of constant upskilling and reskilling is especially important to stay relevant in an industry as dynamic and fast-changing as tech.
Aim for internships
Internships remain one of the best ways to gain exposure to the tech industry, not only for students to build skills and connections, but also to see whether the reality of the job is a good fit for them. Remote internships are now common, reducing the potential cost and upheaval for students of moving to an expensive city. Meta, for example, is currently advertising more than 300 internships, some of them remote.
Building connections within the industry is as important as earning credentials. While in college, explore your passions related to the tech industry by joining different groups and trying new things. Joining industry organizations, such as ACM or CompTIA, and attending professional conferences can be a great way to meet people working in the industry and find out how your skills match companies' needs. Students can also try collaborating on open-source software projects as a way to find mentors and expand their networks.
Build a portfolio
Creating a portfolio to showcase your relevant work is a valuable means of supplementing your resume. This is especially the case for students aiming for tech jobs with a creative element, such as user experience (UX), user interface (UI) or technical writing.
Work on soft skills
Contrary to the popular belief, tech workers aren't just introverted keyboard warriors. Tech firms are increasingly looking for recruits who can demonstrate soft skills such as communication, decision-making and problem-solving. These skills are essential for roles on IT help desks, for example, and to take on more management responsibilities.
Whether the current boom in tech jobs continues in the coming years or starts to cool, students who explore these strategies can put themselves in a strong position to enter the industry.