Vanessa Wallis, a Computer Science graduate student from UC San Diego, became the newest engineer at Shoprunner only a month after joining Whitetruffle. She is excited about technology and brought that excitement with her to job search. Vanessa maintains a personal blog and wrote a fantastic entry from March 2012 about job search, continuing education, and how to make sure a company is a good match. These are all things we care deeply about, and Vanessa was kind enough to let us share her thoughts:
“I would consider myself pretty well-versed in the job-applicationing process. It takes a lot of time. I’m not just looking for any job–I want a great fit. For each position I look at, I want to understand the business, the mission of the company. What services do they provide? What’s the value to the user/customer that sets them apart from their competitors–what is the most compelling aspect of their offerings? I try to figure that out so I can identify and espouse upon it in my cover letter.
[Also] integral to your job-searching and applying process, which is certainly a waiting-game most of the time, work on gaining new skills or honing existing ones. *Always be getting better* is how I might put it. The hard part is how to balance the focus for that with the researching and applying parts. I have found that you just have to do it. The balance will figure itself out. When you’re not seeing progress on the getting-a-job-front, at least you’re seeing progress on the learning-new-stuff front. And that in itself helps build confidence for great things now, and great things to come.
Now to address the title of this post: Living the Core Values. One of the more recent online applications for a company included some “creative thinking questions” after the standard form fare. I really enjoy it when I see something that makes a company stand out during this part of the process. In particular, the inclusion of these questions really shows (1) how important their core values are to them; (2) how important it is to find potential employees who also share them; and (3) inherit to the inclusion of the questions, they are demonstrating accountability to valuing and practicing said core values. Getting to answer these questions showed me that they appreciate and value self awareness, which is a very important aspect of my life. I feel confident that this company would be a good fit for me. The paraphrased application question follows, along with how I answered them. There was a text box for each core value: Open, Engaged, Innovative, and Accountable.
“Our core values help us live our mission, to make [our company] a better place for our Customers to do business and our Colleagues to work. How are you living these values every day?”
- Open - I make a concerted effort to live my live from a point of openness. I have been practicing Mindfulness for a few years now and have experienced the open space it allows for creativity to flow freely without the burden of the proud or neurotic ego’s jamming the air with its own agenda. With those thoughts quelled, I can live freely and openly in the *Present*, allowing of possibilities from a place of non-judgment, non-reactivity, and non-attachment. I also employ techniques from Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) book on how to empathically communicate with others.
- Engaged - I read about technology, startups, psychology, human behavior, effective communication techniques, design, and others’ insights on these things. I share that information with others in effort to engage with others in the conversation or participation of that material.
- Innovative - Out of my interests in startups (the R&D of business!), I signed up for Twitter and organically grew sources of information to read and share. From there I’ve found out about new startups and beta tests –so I’ll sign up for those so I can provide feedback about the user experience both for the fun of it and as a networking opportunity.
- Accountable - Inherent to the network of people I have built, friends and colleagues know what I am up to. I make a point to surround myself with people who want to see good in my life who also value that same sentiment I share for them. Ultimately I am accountable to myself–to upholding my personal mission to live my life according to the two things that bring me joy in this world: (1) learning about anything and everything, particularly technology and people; and (2) sharing that information with others in whatever form or means I can to help them. One of the ways I do that is through sharing information online through Twitter, which doubles as a public record of accountability.”
We are so excited for both Shoprunner and Vanessa - and glad that we could match someone who is clearly so passionate about her work with the right company!
Joining Whitetruffle can be a great way for students to find jobs in software engineering and web design. We can easily connect you with companies interested in you - but convincing them that you are the right fit is up to you. The first step is to create a glowing profile. Here’s what to include in a profile if your experience, thus far, has been more academic than professional…
You know what you know - so make sure everyone else knows that you know it! Make sure your work history field includes projects you’ve worked on, advanced courses you’ve taken, and other applicable experience. What languages and tools did you use? What have you built?
Omit the Unconnected
You may have been the best darn dishwasher at Denny’s ever - but it has nothing to do with software development. Nobody cares. Take it off your profile.
Enthusiasm for the Field
Whatever you lack in work experience - make up for it with your excitement and enthusiasm. You’re driven, passionate about what you do, and are determined to succeed. Communicate this in your description field, and you are much more likely to have companies interested in talking to you.