I’m starting a new job hunt after my break tomorrow. Even with a pretty good resume and reputation, it’s scary. I’ve seen jobs I thought I’d be perfect for and didn’t even get a call. I’ve also had a ton of calls for jobs I couldn’t see myself in. But if I was asked what my #1 tip for a new coder is, I’d tell them “say yes.”
What does that mean? If a recruiter approaches you for a role, don’t automatically look at the big laundry list of skills on the job description, then tell yourself “I don’t have the right skills for this job, so I’m going to say no.”
It may well be that the recruiter was just spamming a keyword and you’re totally not qualified, but they may have seen something in your resume that really did catch their eye. Talk to them, be open about the bullet points you don’t meet, and let them say no.
Job descriptions suck. Either the person writing it doesn’t know the tech and what it requires, or they do and they’re bad at expressing it. There have been lots of times I’ve looked at a job description, either in a posting or sent to me by a recruiter, and just didn’t see myself in the description.
When I look at descriptions now, I try to look at the narrative part about what I’d be doing. Does it sound interesting? Does it sound like something I can do? If the answer is yes, then I don’t worry if I don’t tick all the bullet points.
I’ve learned C# and ASP.Net on the fly. I’ve figured out a little Python to get a contract done. I’ve been handed broken customer code in languages I knew and languages I didn’t. But because I took on the attitude of saying yes, I just dove in and figured it out as I went.
I’ve turned down roles where I didn’t want to ramp up on a skill or a stack, but never turned one down because I thought I couldn’t. Not everyone has been as cool as that Microsoft manager. Sometimes they’ve been cooler. But for more than a dozen years, I’ve qualified my abilities rather than disqualifying myself. Rather than saying “no, I can’t do it,” I learned to say “yes.”
It’s made for an interesting career.