Many software engineers find it hard to jump back into tech after a recent career change or personal circumstances pulled them out of the industry for a period of time. It’s a tough spot - you may find that your experience gets you rejected for lower level roles, but your knowledge is out of date for more senior positions.
Senior tech recruiter Rob Levine is an industry professional with over 20 years of recruiting experience. When he was recently featured on our Sabio Speaker Series, Rob gave 5 tips to reboot your software engineering career after some time out.
1. Be open about your career switch
Rob pointed out that it’s “not an uncommon circumstance for people to have an interruption in their careers.” For various reasons, whether professional or personal, many people do take some time out of the tech industry.
Because it’s so common, many recruiters and employers will be understanding of your situation. Design your CV to clearly explain the reasons for any gaps, and be open and honest in interviews about your career change or the path you’ve taken.
2. Upskill with a coding bootcamp
If you’ve got industry experience, but your career switch and time out of tech has dated your software engineering knowledge, a coding bootcamp can be a great way to polish those key skills.
Sabio Bootcamp is a good first step back into the industry. For those with time on their hands, diving into the full-time program may come instinctively. While more flexible 2-days per week and night programs allow you to swim without totally throwing yourself in the deep end.
3. Move through the ranks
Rob recommends that “if it's practical for you, one effective method is to take a lower-level role, prove your ability and move quickly up to the ladder.”
Once you’ve finished up at bootcamp, focus on getting a job at a great organization, even if the role is junior level. With your skills and experience, you should be able to quickly prove yourself and move into more senior positions.
4. Try creative methods of outreach
Software engineers who have taken time out for a career switch may find themselves getting auto-rejected for junior positions. If this is the case, it can be helpful to get creative about how you reach out to companies, and try some backdoor methods.
You can network with people you met at bootcamp to build connections, cold pitch to businesses, message recruiters and companies on LinkedIn, and pick up the phone!
Rob says “it's amazing to me that everybody just depends on only texting and emailing or using Slack these days. The telephone - it’s an amazing tool.” Calling a recruiter for a quick chat is a great way to get your foot in the door.
5. Be persistent
“If it's an organization or an opportunity that you think you really are appropriate for, be more persistent,” says Rob.
If you’ve applied for a software engineering position you really want and haven’t heard back, be sure to follow up with an email or phone call to remind them of your interest and put you on the recruiter’s radar.
The Sabio Speaker series is a moderated conversation between Sabio and industry professionals to provide opportunities for industry professionals to interact with the Sabio community and build long term relationships.
Rob Levine is a Senior Technical Recruiter with over 20 years of experience. He now recruits for Slack and has recruited for other amazing companies such as LucasFilm/ILM, Pandora, Autodesk, Apple Inc., and Twitter. He's a proven professional that will find, engage and recruit the right high-quality talent.