Tech companies are attractive employers in many industries and ready to offer young talents remarkable growth opportunities. However, getting your first job, in a start-up or otherwise, might seem daunting. How to stand out from the other candidates? How to present yourself to a recruiter? 🤔
To find answers to all those questions, we interviewed Giedre Dubisevaite, People Manager at Whatagraph, which is a SaaS platform for collecting and visualizing marketing data gathered from many channels. She is a perfect interviewee because Whatagraph has been on a bit of a hiring spree lately, tripling its team to 60+ people in 2020 with ambitious plans for 2021 as well.
The interview is divided into two parts: this article will cover what recruiters look like besides the work experience, how to make your application stand out, and how to build a professional LinkedIn presence. The second part focuses on everything that happens after you have been invited to an interview.
🔵 The summer is nearing, which means people are out there eyeing a new job, maybe their first job ever. Suppose you are such a person without a lot of industry experience. Do you really have a chance in the job market at all when every job seems to require previous work experience?
Absolutely, the beginning of a new season tends to summon the longing for change, right? The good news is that Whatagraph already has several entry positions open, and we will have a lot more in the next few weeks. It’s enough to have strong motivation and interpersonal skills to apply for entry positions – we invest heavily in new people and make sure they receive sufficient training to succeed.
Of course, there are positions where experience is a must, like leadership roles. And having worked in similar positions is always seen as an advantage. That said, when we are recruiting for junior positions at Whatagraph, experience is not the only thing we look at, but also things like internships, volunteering projects, courses, and life experiences that might have developed the skills needed.
🔵 Could you give a specific example of what you look for in candidates applying for junior positions? Besides the relevant work experience, of course.
Sure, let’s take our Partnerships Development Executive (PDE) role as an example. It is a junior sales position, so I do not expect people to have a strong B2B SaaS sales knowledge. Instead, I look at:
LinkedIn profile. PDEs will be communicating a lot with our leads, so it is crucial to have a LinkedIn presence. Is the profile filled out? Is it professional? Does the person know how to sell himself or herself? If yes, then there’s a huge chance he/she will know how to sell to others as well.
Life experience. You can gain the skills needed to excel as a PDE anywhere: Customer-facing positions, fast-paced environments, even leading a school committee – all these experiences tell a story. When I read ‘a waiter’, I see a person who is most likely used to working long hours under pressure. When I read ‘studied abroad’, I see a person who is not afraid of challenges. These are all super beneficial skills when working in our Sales team at Whatagraph.
🔵 There’s, of course, truth to the fact that your first job might be one of the hardest to get, even if you have been active as a student. How should you present yourself as a junior to be seen as a serious candidate by recruiters?
1️⃣ First, put the effort into the application. There’s nothing worse than getting just an attached resume in an empty email. Spend some time saying hi, explaining why you are interested in this position and what makes you a good candidate. It doesn’t have to be too long – a few accurate and witty sentences are more than enough.
2️⃣ Second, show that you know the company. Do your research. Offer solutions/ideas. For example, we had a developer applying for a position where instead of sending a resume, he researched our website and sent a list of possible improvements. Guess what? He got invited to a job interview and was hired soon after.
3️⃣ Third, adapt your resume to the position. Look through the job specs – what skills are we after? Try to showcase them in your resume and application letter. Tell a story of how you have gained these skills through previous experiences.
4️⃣ Fourth, make sure your social media presence shows the best side of you, especially the LinkedIn profile. Don’t just leave it empty and thus open for interpretation.
5️⃣ Fifth, and probably most important, show your motivation and excitement to join a company like Whatagraph.
🔵 You mentioned building a LinkedIn profile, which is a fascinating subject in itself. Do you have any tips on how to present yourself professionally on LinkedIn? Are there any red lines that the candidate should avoid at all cost?
There are so many things that make up a good LinkedIn profile! We could do a separate interview just on this. 🙂
First of all, if you do not have a LinkedIn profile already, create it. An up-to-date LinkedIn profile works as your resume, so in many cases, it is enough to apply for a job at Whatagraph.
Your profile photo leaves a first impression. It will do you a favour if it’s recent and professional. Avoid cropped images where your face is invisible as well as too distracting accessories.
Your LinkedIn headline is also one of the main fields that make up the first impression when someone lands on your LinkedIn profile. It should be quite generic but still reflect what and where you do.
Make sure your experience section it’s updated regularly and matches your resume. Mention things like the organizations you have worked or volunteered in, add a list of specific responsibilities and note your main achievements.
The number of connections shows your social presence and reputation in a sense. If it’s 500+, you’re doing a good job. But if you’ve just created your LinkedIn profile and have two connections, I’ll tell you a secret – some tools automatically send requests to connect with people without you lifting a finger.
🔵 If a person has already covered the LinkedIn profile basics, then what are some of the advanced features?
Write an “About” section. It should introduce you professionally in a few sentences and cover a couple of different things:
- What is your speciality?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- In what industries have you worked?
- Your achievements, ideally reflected in numbers. We love data.
Licences and certification. If you have something to add – do it, it does give a sense of credibility. Also, use a custom LinkedIn URL – it looks way more professional than default-full-of-random-digits URL that LinkedIn automatically generates.
That’s it for this time! Check out Part Two to find out how to nail the interview and the rest of the recruiting process.
🔵 However, if the previous answers left you wondering about a career in Whatagraph, what open positions do you have right now? Do you have any entry-level opportunities at the moment?
Absolutely! Our hiring plan is ambitious, and we need a lot of people to jump on this train with us. We have openings in Engineering, Product Design, Marketing and Sales teams.
Check out Whatagraph’s open positions on MeetFrank:
We have already started scaling our Engineering team, so we are looking for Backend Engineers, Frontend Engineers, Engineering Managers and QA Specialists. By the time this interview is out, we’ll have settled in our new Klaipeda office overlooking the Curonian Lagoon with the perfect view for our weekly tech breakfasts. Having grown the engineering team, we’ll definitely need additional hands in the Product Design team as well.
We are also growing our Marketing team, so we are searching for Outreach Specialists, which is the perfect entry position for those looking to advance their skills in SEO. Other open positions in Marketing include PPC Specialists and Influencer Managers.
The Sales team will welcome Client Partners and Partnerships Development Executives, the latter is the perfect entry position for anyone looking to kick off their career in B2B SaaS sales.