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Ask HN: Advice on entry level job search for someone self-taught? [ON, Canada]
1 point by Karsteski 67 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments
I'm a Chemist that has been self-teaching programming for about 2 years now. I'm full committing to switching careers now, and I'm based in Ontario, Canada. I had an interview in March through a connection I made in the C++ community but the company decided to go with someone else. Also too I just had an interview for an internship at a startup but I failed one of the technical questions (It was based on a doubly linked binary tree). Hence I've started doing a leetcode question a day, since it's clearly something I need to work on.

Is there any more I can do to improve my chances of getting interviews, or getting through them? I'm also having my friend mock interview me every now and then just so I'm fully prepared for next time. I've been doing what the person in the thread below did but I've only gotten 2/30 responses so far lol...


I have a few projects on my GitHub (GitHub.com/Karsteski) but with practicing Leetcode and doing job searching, I barely have time to work on my current project, which is an OpenGL rendering engine. Makes me sad.

Anyways, here's my anonymous resume as well if you'd like to critique it.


Any feedback welcome, thanks in advance :)

You should add a personal statement/goal section to the top of your resume explaining that you’re intentionally looking to make this switch. If I saw this resume come across I’d think you were just shotgun applying to every posting you can.

Also consider removing detail from your chemist job description, because frankly no hiring manager for a software job will care about it.

I don't understand though, why would you assume I'm shotgunning my applications? I feel like from my projects it's clear that I've been working on a career switch. But yes perhaps I can be more explicit.

Also, it's a bit hard to take resume advice since everyone has such varying opinions... But I do feel like you may be onto something about the detail in my job description, I'm just not sure what I would put in place of that...

Regardless, thank you for the reply!

I would make that assumption because your education and career experience have nothing to do with the job posting. (Granted, I have not done a lot of entry level hiring.)

As a hiring manager I basically begin by reading any personal statement then I go straight to career experience then formal education. By that point I have probably decided whether to proceed or not. You also need to understand that you are probably not making it past a lot of internal HR recruiters/first round screens because they only care about formal education credentials and career experience, plus keywords (certain programming languages etc) It was not clear to me from your projects that you were making a switch. Frankly I tend to gloss over sections like that on initial pass, I didn’t even notice it to be frank.

Yea I understand that a lot of hiring is based on formalism rather than ability. It's why I try to get my resume in front of devs or technical people higher up in a company.

I will add a personal statement, what you've said makes sense. Perhaps then it doesn't make much sense to apply through job portals unless they are also looking for someone with chemistry knowledge? I'm wondering if my time can be spent in a wiser manner. I've done a lot of LinkedIn messaging through adding connections, but I should probably just get premium for direct messages at this point...

Job portals are more likely to get to hiring managers than LinkedIn. They will generally go into the Jazz hiring system queue or whatever.

I would just get annoyed if someone randomly hit me up on LinkedIn. Not that I check it.

What would you recommend for someone in my position? I'm thinking to focus entirely on startups, internships and chem/biotech companies that need software devs.

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