This post is about how I got a job in Big Tech with no experience, along with 6 tips that can help you in your job search. These tips are tried and true, because I’ve used them!
Here’s how I got my job in Big Tech with no experience.
This is me! Taken senior year in college, for LinkedIn. It’s very important to have a good LinkedIn profile. Chances are that your recruiter will check it out!
I graduated with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a dropped desire to pursue medical school, and no job. I had zero internships in an office space, and had no prior experience working for a tech company. Even so, I knew I wanted to step into the tech and corporate world. Six months later, I accepted an offer from a Fortune 50 company.
I spent the first three years of college as a pre-med student. I majored in biology, conducted research, finished my pre-reqs, and took the MCAT. The whole time, however, I was struggling. I didn’t enjoy research and I dreaded shadowing doctors. It wasn’t for me. And so the search began. Here are some tips I learned along the way.
Not gonna lie–I hated this word. I always associated it with a bunch of fake people talking to each other and trying to get something for themselves out of it. I now see networking as an opportunity to meet different people and learn their stories. It doesn’t make it any less nerve-wracking!
You already have a network!
You don’t have to start off by cold messaging strangers just yet. Tap into the network you already have! Friends, family, professors, managers–they will be the most responsive and willing to help.
Because I was in the “exploring” phase of my job search, I started off by reaching out to tons of people and asking about their careers. By speaking to them, I got a better sense of what I liked and didn’t like.
I was also ghosted a lot, but almost all of my successful coffee chats came from friends, alumni, friends of friends, or professors.
This should be your go-to for all things career-focused. I used the one-month Premium free trial and took advantage of it to directly message people in roles that interested me.
Reach out to your college alumni, even if you don’t know them. They are much more willing to help you than a random person that you share zero connections with. It’s also a great way to open a conversation!
Check out: 7 Ways to Polish Your LinkedIn Profile
I was terrified of cold messaging at first. I think it took me hours to draft my first message, and I ended up getting ghosted anyways.
BUT REMEMBER: The worst thing someone can do, is say “no.” Or ghost. And you’ll still be where you started, albeit a little tougher. This changed my mindset and helped me jump the hurdle into cold-messaging.
Here’s the secret: People love talking about themselves.
I used to be stuck in my little bubble of social anxiety, but what really helped me is when I realized–everyone is a little obsessed with themself. It’s natural. Use that to your advantage.
Ask if they have 15 minutes for a quick coffee chat or phone call, so you can listen to them talk about their career path. It’s 15 minutes for someone to talk about themselves, and help you. Chances are that they’ll say “yes.” Don’t forget to thank them for their time!
2. Polish That Resume
When you don’t have internship experience, you’ll want to leverage anything you can. And trust me–you bring a lot more to the table than you think. Just make sure your resume is catered to the job you’re applying for.
Here’s a list of experiences and skills you can add to your resume:
- Leadership roles
- Event-planning, group discussion facilitation, project management, etc.
- Tutoring/Teaching assistant positions
- Volunteer experience
- Class projects that fit your role
- Adobe Photoshop, Project Management, Marketing, HTML/CSS, Microsoft Office, etc.
If you’d like, feel free to check out my post with tips on making your resume stand out.
3. Make Your Own Experience
I had no internship experience–so I made my own. A few months after I graduated, I was desperate for something to do. As a side-hustle, I started my own publishing business through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. For free!
I designed, marketed, and sold notebooks and journals through my company, The Written Co. When it comes to design, I used a free trial of Adobe Photoshop and later moved to Canva (which is free, and easier to use). For notebook and journal interiors, I made tables with a ton of rows on Google Docs. All it took was a few days to set it up, conduct niche research, and design, and I’m still making a little side income every month.
The great thing is that you’ll learn so much along the way, and you can make it however big or small you want. You can even place yourself down as “Founder” on your resume! In every interview, I was asked about this experience. It’s a very small business, but on your resume, it shows resourcefulness, scrappiness, and creativity.
4. Customize Your Cover Letter
I didn’t go as far as to create my own website, but I did use a Photoshop trial to edit a series of cover letters for various companies and roles. While I didn’t hear back from every company I applied to, I got interviews with some!
5. Prepare For Your Interviews
When you don’t have a lot of previous internships, you’ll want to make sure you can leverage what you do have in your interviews. This is where you want to shine.
Check out my Ultimate Interview Guide!
While interviewers are trying to gauge your skills, they’re also trying to figure out if they want to work with you.
At one of my previous interviews, one of the candidates, in an attempt to be remembered, introduced himself to the manager three separate times. Don’t do this! He was in such a frenzy to ensure that he was remembered that he didn’t even try to remember who he was meeting with. I later learned that he was definitely remembered, and not in the good way.
Do Your Research!
If you’re trying to get into tech, why? If media/entertainment, why? Keep up-to-date on the latest news in the industry, and follow what your company has been up to recently.
What are your company’s missions and values? Do they align with your own? How so?
Not sure how much you need to know? You’ll be better off over-researching than under-researching.
Practice Makes Perfect
In my notebook, I wrote out a list of most-asked interview questions and my responses for each of my interviews. You won’t have this for your interviews, but by writing everything out, you’ll be able to organize your thoughts in preparation. I had a mental list of scenarios and answers that I could fit into a variety of interview questions.
Make sure you got the STAR method down. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Remember, job interviews are a chance for you to interview the company as well. Ask yourself: Will I be happy working here?
Check out my Ultimate Interview Guide for tips on how you can best prepare for your job interview!
6. No Internship Experience–No Worries. You’ve Got This.
Just because you don’t have internship experience doesn’t mean that you don’t have any experience at all.
If you’re trying to get into Big Tech, one of the beautiful things about the industry is that they value diverse and unique backgrounds. Even if you don’t have previous internship experience, you’ll bring a different perspective with you. That makes you valuable.
I know it isn’t easy right now, but you can do it. You have so much more skill and worth than you might think. Don’t sell yourself short. You’ve got this.
I was able to get a job without internship experience, and this is what I have learned along the way. You can do it, too.
Check out: 5 Investments To Make In Your 20’s