Jeannie Evans, a Turing School alum and Full Stack Software Developer, shares 5 ways she kept a positive mindset and tackled her job search.

The nature of the job search can be extremely discouraging. You will send out dozens, even hundreds, of job applications and hear back from only a few. Most of these responses are going to be immediate or eventual rejections. How can it be possible to stay positive during this time? Keep reading to learn some of the ways I managed to get through my job search while staying motivated, positive, and engaged.

1. Get Involved

You do not need anyone’s permission to be in tech. Without a full time position, imposter syndrome can creep up easily. Getting involved can mean networking, volunteering, or part-time/contract work. While the scope of “getting involved” is large, my point is this: when you find your community within tech, you will feel like you are part of the greater industry. Taking on a volunteering role, engaging with a meet-up group that you enjoy, or teaching kids how to code after-school, are just a few ways that will allow you to speak confidently to tangible technical experiences - these are extremely accessible opportunities to you as recent grads and will make you stand out in the applicant pool.

2. Make a Passion Project

Building out a passion project could end up being where you have the most fun as well as your most important talking point. Your excitement for this project is going to be genuine and infectious. It is something I have received a lot of positive feedback for when talking about my own passion projects. Don’t be afraid to take your time and put it on your resume as a project in progress. This is where you showcase what you can do and what you’re interested in. Get a buddy to code review.

3. Highlight Reel

Just like professional athletes have their own highlight reels, make one for yourself. I keep mine in the back of my notebook, with characteristics I am proud of, things I know I am good at (technically and non technically), and projects that I feel were successful. While the creation of the highlight reel is a good exercise in positive thinking, the point is to review it. I have found it most helpful to review right before a behavioral interview, refreshing myself on all the points I want to hit.

4. Have a Mentor. Be a Mentor.

Have a mentor, have many mentors. These are people you can rely on for support and be a sounding board in this process. Your mentors could be people who are just ahead of you in their career, established in the industry, or even peers.

Have a mentee, have a couple mentees. When you are the one teaching and supporting, you will find yourself on the other side of the power dynamic. These experiences have deepened my empathy for the employer, making me feel more at ease networking and in interviews. Developers of all skill levels don’t have all the answers but are really good at figuring it out.

5. Check-in

You now have time to check-in with yourself and those you’re close to. Catch up with your family and friends, reconnect with some of your old hobbies and passions, learn a new language/framework, or learn something that has nothing to do with tech; this will very naturally support positivity.

Make sure to check-in with that mind-body-soul connection as well. If the job search feels like an overwhelmingly negative experience, confront the notion of why. I have found, and really believe, how someone will feel about their job search boils down to circumstance and attitude. Circumstance is something that you hopefully planned for in the pre-enrollment process. If you are less prepared than you thought you’d be, make sure to reach out to your support network - alumni, Turing job squad, family, etc. In terms of attitude, if you feel like you “should have a job by now” or any similar sentiment, this is an opportunity to challenge why you feel that way. You may find that whatever the reason is, interferes with other aspects of your life.

Some days are going to be discouraging and even feel a little bizarre, but there are tangible solutions that will support you in making the process successful. You have the rest of your life to work; taking advantage of this unique period in your life will give way to feeling more fulfilled, interested, and overall positive.

Credits: I did not come up with these alone! There is some Turing job squad advice in here, along with specific pieces of advice from individuals I met in my job search… A panel discussion put on by Women of Color in Tech inspired a great deal of my own positive thinking, especially Jenn Johnson who was the one to share the idea to make our own highlight reels. Chris Hough met with me to talk about cats and gave me countless pieces of advice reflected in the above. Martin McGovern, my job search coach, reminded me that I don’t need to wait around for an offer to get involved.

Jeannie Evans is a software developer and graduate from the 1906 (June 2019) cohort of the Turing School of Software and Design's Front-End Engineering program. While attending college for a specialty in International Affairs and Peace Studies, she became interested in international development, as well as the theory of peace education where, as her thesis, she designed and implemented a peace education curriculum for young children. After graduating, she went on to wear many hats as an English language teacher, AmeriCorps member, and Montessori educator. What attracts her to software is the ability to build applications that provide resources to support others in doing their jobs with greater efficiency. Jeannie currently works as a full stack developer for an organization that educates companies on how to transition to clean energy; she looks to continue her career as a full stack developer working for organizations that utilize the power of technology in global development. She also enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time in some of Denver's incredible parks.