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Hackernoon logoFrom Payless Source to Information Technology by@miketechgame

From Payless Source to Information Technology

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@miketechgameMike Wolfe

Software Developer, Tech Enthusiast, Runner.

When talking to people who are new to the world of computers (and who are hoping to land a job), I like to share my story of how my career began. I don’t do this for bragging rights or to make them envious of me. Rather it’s so that they may find some inspiration in what I have to say and be able to see that anything is possible once you put your mind to it.

The story begins in the summer of 2016. I’m sitting on my grandma’s swing in the backyard of her house, scrolling through job listings on Stark States job board. At the time, I was employed at Payless Shoes as a part-time sales associate. Having hated every minute of working in retail, and a few failed interviews for positions in IT, I was becoming desperate to find a position in IT. Scrolling through the listings, I saw one for a Software Developer Intern. Not really thinking, I clicked on it, viewed the skills required, and immediately thought I would be denied. The only programming experience I had was one class and some stuff that I taught myself. Feeling frustrated I closed out of the listing.

A few days later, I received an email from a gentleman at Stark State’s Career Development Office. He told me that he thought if we made a few changes to my resume, I could make a good candidate for the software developer intern position and asked if I was still interested. Gaining a sense of hope, I immediately responded and told him that I was interested. A couple of days later, he sent me back my resume, with some modifications and instructions to send it to the Human Resources Director mentioning his name. Before sending the resume, I took it to a friend of mine who was a Marine Corps veteran. While serving, one of the many things she had done, was help Marines with their resumes. After making more modifications to the resume, I sent it to the HR Director.

A couple more days had gone by and I received a call from the HR Director.
She said that they were definitely interested in talking to me and we scheduled an interview. When the day of the interview came up, I was obviously nervous. However, I remained rather clam during the first part of the process and my confidence was high. Yet, during the second part, I had to answer “no” to a lot of questions regarding experience. Soon after, the interview ended and I left feeling discouraged that I probably wouldn’t get a callback.

Eventually, I realized that my luck was beginning to change. One of the people I used as a reference received a phone call from the company I interviewed with. Soon after, I got a call from that company saying they would hire me for the intern position. For the first few weeks, I went home every day thinking I would get fired. The reasons I came up with ranged from everything from no experience to poor performance. Yet, at six months in, my boss came up to me and asked if I would like to work full-time and go to school in the evening. I didn’t immediately accept, because I wanted to think it over. It would push back my graduation date, but it would be a nice boost for the career. In the end, I accepted the position.

To sum things up, the one thing that I learned from this whole experience was that you need to be a hard worker and willing to learn. My advice to someone struggling to find that first position to kick start their career would be those two things. Managers do notice the people who try their best day after day. It might take time for that full-time position to be offered, but don’t worry. Rome wasn’t built in three days either. Continue to grow and continue to learn and I guarantee you, you will have a fulfilling career. Cheers!

Also published behind a paywall: https://medium.com/@wolfetechhacks/beginnings-in-it-7ab5d9e53167

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