On job searches and my experience at General Assembly

Some months ago, I re-entered the job market following a round of layoffs at my previous company. The initial weeks of this unplanned job search not only taught me about the job market but also shed more light on my distinctive qualities. Several unconventional aspects make my career journey a little different.

  1. Though I’m now in Customer Success, I began my career in technical support, a role often viewed as the go-to help for various teams. Internally, technical support handles the tasks that other technical teams may prefer to avoid. Otherwise, treating product issues and taking care of customers when things don’t go right. If you excel in this role, there’s often encouragement to continue along that path. While this approach has its challenges in the bigger picture, it’s not without its merits. Not everyone can adeptly navigate the emotional aspects of the job. For those who can combine empathy, human connection, technical expertise, and present a compelling experience for customers, this remains a rewarding career path.
  2. I don’t have a college degree. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of my learning journey is that I thrive on practical experience and learning from my mistakes. I can read and structure concepts from theory, but it’s not my preferred learning style. While I’ve developed techniques to improve as an adult, I consider my approach a strength and have chosen to embrace it. I prefer structuring ideas in my mind through mental models I create from personal practice, and then validating my assumptions with theory after practice. This approach also suggests that a traditional college degree may not be the most effective method of learning for me.
  3. My typical tenure at each company has averaged around 2 years. I didn’t fully realize the significance of this until I unexpectedly found myself in a job search. Conducting interviews in the past, I hadn’t regarded it as a problem, especially when other strong signals on a candidate’s resume were present. However, before a candidate even reaches the interview stage, recruiters and hiring managers frequently place significant emphasis on their past job tenures, with broader context only considered in exceptional cases. The key to standing out is achieving exceptional status, and those of us in my situation have various approaches to accomplish this. Ultimately, it all boils down to passion.

These three factors combined create a unique aspect of my job search experience, even though it was unintentional. My initial step involved enrolling in online courses to refine skills I had developed but hadn’t used recently. I also consider myself a programming enthusiast at best which led me to participate in General Assembly’s coding bootcamp. This decision had a profound impact on my learning journey, as I thrive on hands-on practice. Coding bootcamps prioritize project work, are guided by course facilitators, and offer access to experts during office hours to assist with project challenges.

General Assembly turned out to be an excellent fit for me, providing all the resources I needed to boost my confidence in programming projects and technical interviews, even though the latter are not typically required in most cases. If you’re curious, General Assembly stands out in all respects, boasting exceptional faculty, a robust alumni network, and a unique support program for job searches after completing the program. Enrolling at General Assembly was a crucial step in reaching exceptional in my job search, and ultimately, for my career journey.

P.S. I’m still on a job search. If you’re hiring, here’s my Calendly.

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