A few weeks ago, I had a local cable company’s technician at my house installing my cable. Â He mentioned that he wanted to switch to a computer technician job. Â He said that the only way to get a job like that is to know someone in that business.
I was intrigued because he should have been qualified. Â He was installing my cable and cable modem after all. Â I was wrong. Â I asked him a few more questions about what he had done to learn about networking and computers. Â He had not done anything.
That brings me to my point. Â Getting a job requires initiative. Â One shows this initiative before, during, and after the interview process. Â My cable installer showed no initiative before the interview and probably would not get the job. Â Simple interview questions would show he had not put the time and effort into learning what he needed.
What about during and after the interview? Â Taking initiative during an interview is more difficult. Â I have found it is more a matter of paying attention. Â If there is a technology that you do not know about or have not checked out, make a mental or written note of it.
There is often a disconnect between what the engineers doing the interview and what the job posting said. Â Along the way, things are added in or taken out that made the job description stray from what the job really is. Â This often prevents you from knowing or researching the technologies they are using or are interested in. Â I have been in interviews where the job posting was for a regular software engineer. Â What they really wanted was a software engineer who knew distributed systems and needed to know about specific Java concurrency packages.
After the interview, take the initiative to research those technologies. Â Once you have, E-mail back and say that you checked them out. Â I was hired another time because I did this. Â I did not know about the specific packages they wanted (java.nio and java.util.concurrent). Â I took the initiative to learn them and create a non-blocking client and server. Â I E-mailed back talking about how I read more about it and wrote a client/server.
Throughout my career, I have found that taking initiative is one of the most important ways of getting hired. Â It shows you know what you areÂ talking about. Â It shows you can get work done. Â More importantly, I think it shows you can pick up a book and learn about a technology.