We’ve trained thousands of individuals. Some of them had lots of experience and others had absolutely no relevant IT or cloud experience. Yet, they came to us looking to become System Administrators, Developers, or even AWS Solutions Architects. Despite their lack of experience, a number of these individuals were able to get a job in the cloud industry.
Those individuals took the right steps that helped their resumes pop out more than those of individuals with more relevant experience.
So how do they do it? What do the most successful ones have in common? Let’s find out.
The same tips apply for people who are currently in school or who have recently graduated. A lot of students and recent grads can’t get the 5 years of “required” experience since most jobs require that experience in the first place.
How to Get a Job with No Relevant Experience
The reason I would choose your resume over the resume of someone with seemingly more experience is proof of your work.
Resumes are easy to exaggerate. What isn’t easy to exaggerate is documentation, determination, and curiosity. Let’s break them down.
Even if you have absolutely no work experience to show, you can (and should) still build tools, services, or scripts in your free time. When you build them, you need to document your process.
For example, say you want to learn how to build infrastructure with Terraform. Even if you don’t have an impressive, custom application to host, find one on GitHub to download for free and figure out the infrastructure. As you work on it, document your process. How are you getting started? What issues are you running into?
Those mistakes you make that frustrate you and make you feel incompetent–those are issues that we all run into, especially when we first get started. There is no shame in that. You can use this to your advantage by documenting it.
Imagine a Hiring Manager going through your documentation. They’re reading about all the issues you ran into, but they keep reading. They start to notice that you’re getting past these issues and finding solutions on your own and with your own sheer will. If I’m that hiring manager, I’m going to be impressed.
Document your starting point, your issues, your progress, the end result, and what you learned.
This gives recruiters and interviewers visibility into your work, which is very important. When you do get a job in the cloud industry, you will have to document everything. Why not start now and show that you can do it?
As we just went over with documentation, proving you are determined to get past tough challenges (which everyone faces) is a strength. It tells me that you are willing to figure things out, even when you don’t have all the resources you need.
This is one of the character traits I put the most emphasis on when hiring. Why? Because resources are limited and sometimes we’re all required to figure it out with the tools we have on hand. Having a team of people who can solve problems in those situations is extremely important. If you want to get a job in the cloud industry, you’ll need to show that you won’t give up the first time something goes wrong.
Another important character trait to look for is curiosity. If I’m hiring for a long-term position, I’m usually looking for someone who, even if they don’t have all of the skills I’m looking for, is so naturally curious that they can’t help but research new topics.
That’s important for a number of reasons. One main reason is that it means they will grow their information base and they will grow their skills. They will end up telling you what needs to be created or improved and how. They will start telling you about solutions to problems you didn’t even know existed or had no idea how to fix.
If they’re not curious, they won’t grow into the position like you need them to. They’ll stick to what they already know and won’t branch out. For some positions, this might be okay, but today’s #1 challenge faced by tech businesses is the lack of necessary skills. Because cloud technology changes so often, a person’s skill set needs to also change. So, trust me when I say that showing curiosity will work in your favor!
Research the Organization You Are Applying For
When I first started hiring, I was frankly shocked at how few people even bothered researching the organization they were applying for.
This is one of the very first questions I always ask:
“Tell me what you know about our organization.”
The worst answer you can possibly give is “oh, honestly, I didn’t really have time to look at your website before this phone call.”
You want to show that you’ve done your due diligence. This not only goes back to showing curiosity, but it also shows determination. It shows you really want the job, instead of, “eh, this is another job interview I’m doing. They’ll either be interested in me or they won’t.”
Doing your research also helps you understand how to tailor your resume to the organization.
Let’s say that the organization you are applying to has an engineering blog where they describe some of the technology they use. If they use the technology you are familiar with and have been practicing (i.e., Terraform), you can focus your resume more on your Terraform experience. You can also ask the interviewers more questions about how they use Terraform in order to draw parallels to your experience.
If they use technology that you’re not familiar with, you can research it ahead of the interview. That way, when they ask you about it, you can at least avoid being caught without any answer.
For example, if they ask you about CloudFormation and you’ve only ever used Terraform, do your research on how CloudFormation is different. When they ask you if you have any CloudFormation experience, you can say, “no, but I have done xyz project with Terraform and I hear they have these differences/these similarities…”
When researching a company and learning what kind of employee they are looking for, you should also find out what kind of company is the right fit for you.
Combine These Tips
It seems as if everyone wants to get a job in the cloud industry these days, so you’ll have to set yourself apart from the crowd. Combine these tips together and you will increase your odds of not only getting your foot in the door but also getting the job.
These tips aren’t hard to implement, they just take patience and dedication. Or should I say, they take determination and curiosity?