On June 2019, I graduated with a Computer Science degree from UC Santa Cruz. I didn’t have a job lined up, so I went back home and started applying. I wouldn’t consider my path to be traditional one, but I did learn somethings along the way that I’d like to share.
Working while job hunting
Within a couple weeks after graduation, I started working in construction. Before my first day on the job, my boss knew that I was a recent grad and was looking for a job in tech. He was okay with it, and simply asked me to give him a notice when I was ready to move on.
In construction, I usually worked 8–10 hours a day. Once I was off work, I would spend my evenings doing coding challenges, practicing interviews, and applying to software engineering jobs.
I did this for a few months, till an opportunity came up for me. 60 applications later, and with the help of friends and mentors, I got an interview at Accenture.
My introduction to Accenture was through a referral from a friend. I spoke to him about my career goals, and he told me about his experience at Accenture and what they do. I saw myself growing at Accenture, and I liked the work culture he described. It was also a good match for me because I enjoy working with people and tech. In consulting, I’m able to do both.
A couple of my friends supported me by helping me through the interview process. But in order to get my foot in the door, I needed to put in the work myself.
I spent hours a day prepping for each interview. The first two were about getting to know me, my career interests, and how I see myself fitting in at Accenture. My third interview was a behavioral one, and I practiced the STAR Method for that. The fourth was a Case interview. The final was a closing interview, which was a less formal in person meeting with a manager.
Consulting companies, like Accenture, do case interviews as a way to see how you would handle a business scenario for a client. When doing this type of interview, you should demonstrate problem solving and communication skills. What I mean by this is, show the interviewer that you are able to analyze the situation, come up with some suggestions for the client, and communicate your ideas. To study for this interview I read articles, watched youtube videos, and practiced by myself and with others.
There are a couple other things that helped me during the interview process. Because I was applying to a technical role, I talked about my internship with a small software startup. I also used class projects to talk about team work and software development. Having worked in customer service, I learned of the importance of delivering the most value to the customer/client. This is important in many places, especially in consulting.
When I think of my time in construction and hospitality, I wouldn’t want it be any other way. I see every job I’ve had, technical or not, white or blue collar, as an opportunity to learn.