Tech sector hiring is at an all time high despite the media’s portrayal of hiring freezes and mass layoffs. At School16 recruiters reach out on a weekly basis to inquire about hiring our students in large part because there is a major shortage of talent right now in tech, making it easier for people looking to break into the tech industry from other seemingly unrelated fields like education and healthcare.
The disconnect is caused by news of slower hiring from tech giants like Meta and Amazon who over-hired in the past, however for the average job-seeker this is not relevant given the thousands of other growth stage technology companies that are rapidly looking to hire in the coming year.
Even in a recession many are able to start new careers or thriving businesses simply by targeting industries that are less likely to suffer from an economic downturn. The key is getting specific with the types of opportunities you look for, how you position yourself, and what you do to stand out from everyone else.
Targeting The Right Industry For You
If you’re thinking about a career change it’s easy to feel like you have to start from scratch. However, after speaking with dozens of career transitioners the most common thread we’ve identified is that each of them focused on leveraging expertise they already developed in an unrelated industry.
Let’s take breaking into tech from a non-tech sector as an example. If you’re a teacher, you should search for growing companies in the Education Technology niche that are looking for teachers as users and customers. These organizations will value the fact that you already know how to talk to their customer base, and who the right decision makers are in a school.
If you work at a hospital, look at Health Tech companies that will need your expertise with hospital operations. They can easily train you on how to talk about their software, but they may be lacking talent on the team that truly understands how the hospital system works, which takes years to develop.
This is a critical step that most career transitioners miss. Out of thousands of job applications reviewed by our team, less than 1% of applicants targeted opportunities that are clearly related to their transferable skills or knowledge. If you do this, you will automatically be in the top 1%.
Rapid Upskilling To Fill Resume Gaps
You don’t have to get a Masters Degree or an MBA to break into an industry like tech. This sector has drastically shifted to hiring talent from non-traditional education backgrounds. Short term certificate programs like the ones offered at School16 focus on rapidly developing skills that will help you position yourself for a non-technical career in tech in as little as 4 months by providing guided live online education with expert mentors that can teach you the ins and outs of the industry.
You can also supplement live education with self-paced certificate programs offered by tech giants like Google and LinkedIn to bolster your resume. While self-paced courses typically can’t replace live online classes that offer project based work with real-time feedback, they do add credibility to your resume that can help you stand out at a low cost.
Develop A Network That Gets You A Job
Looking for opportunities during a recession means that you have to stand out. If you’re just applying to jobs listed online you’re missing a big opportunity to differentiate yourself from everyone else that’s doing the same thing.
The top candidates we’ve spoken with use two critical strategies to stand out from all other applicants. First, they only apply to jobs that are relevant to their background or domain knowledge. This makes it very easy for them to follow up directly with hiring managers after they apply to show their interest, instead of passively waiting for a response. These hiring managers often welcome direct follow ups because it saves them time trying to guess who are the most proactive candidates they can speak to.
Top candidates also stand out by narrowing their focus on a few companies (5-10) that they’re very interested in instead of blindly pursuing every opportunity they see. This strategy allows them to network with employees and leaders within their target list of companies before and after they apply.
Economic downturns are cyclical and most of us will experience at least 2 or 3 of them throughout our career. But they don’t have to feel intimidating. Microsoft, Airbnb, Groupon, and even Burger King all got their start during a recession. You don’t have to fear looking for new opportunities when the economy is on a down cycle. You just have to pursue industries that are still healthy, and learn how to separate yourself from the crowd to reach your goals.