Emma Flanagan, Global Analyst Relations Manager for ITOM & Vertica at Micro Focus, looks back on how she broke into the tech industry, and offers best-practice recommendations for others seeking a new opportunity.
A gamut of “breaking into tech” stories exist out there; so here’s mine in hopes of both educating and inspiring others to seek professions they truly love. Was it the glamorous free corporate swag that brought me to where I am today? Or the business casual work attire? While Tik Tok and other forms of social media tend to share the shiny aspects of the technology industry, follow along to learn why I chose a career in technology and best practices for job seekers interested in this industry.
As a graduate from The Catholic University of America with a major in marketing and minor in strategic operations and management (quite the mouthful, I know) my career aspirations evolved as I gained new professional experiences and mentors along the way. Thanks to a myriad of internships in college, I learned both what I valued most and also what I didn’t want in a full-time career. While not all lessons were easy, I’m very thankful for each experience guiding me to where I am today, as the Global Analyst Relationships Manager for ITOM and Vertica at Micro Focus.
Long story short: I’m truly passionate about technology and enjoy being at the center of interesting, forward-looking discussions about the ever-changing world with leading industry analysts.
Not who you know, but who knows you
First things first: I can’t stress enough that it’s not about who you know, it’s who knows YOU. That being said, networking is truly quintessential for all professional careers and is something that can often open new doors and opportunities.
For those early in their careers, I understand that the thought of small talk with strangers can be daunting. My best recommendation is to leverage the professional resources and individuals in your community for best practices. During college I found the professional guidance from my business school’s career development office very helpful. They provided me with the foundational knowledge and expertise to feel more empowered and confident in networking settings.
How to write a standout resume
Did you know the average recruiter only spends six seconds reviewing each resume on their desk? This statistic emphasizes the importance of making a strong first impression. As a former Career Development Intern for 700+ business students at my university, my best resume tips are the following:
- Keep your resume content short and sweet.
- Quantify the value you bring to the table.
- Maintain a chronological and organized resume format.
- Gain feedback from trusted members in your professional network.
Interview best practices
When it comes to interviewing for your next opportunity, my best advice is to always dress to impress and arrive prepared. Whether your interview is virtual or in-person, making a strong impression by your attire always goes a long way. Being prepared comes in many forms, and I often do so for interviews by doing the following:
- Do your research on the role and company.
- Prepare 3-5 questions to ask at the conclusion of the interview.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes early for the interview.
- Dress to impress.
- Bring a padfolio to take notes on.
- Purchase a set of thank-you cards in advance so you may handwrite a note to your interviewer(s), the receptionist, and other relevant individuals at the conclusion of the interview. If virtual, a timely email afterwards is always appreciated.
After the conclusion of an interview, I always recommend following up to maintain the interview process momentum and express your continued interest in the opportunity. An example of this may look like:
“Hello [insert interviewer(s) name],
Thanks again for taking the time to consider me for [X company’s] [insert role title] role. I truly enjoyed discussing [insert topic mentioned during interview] and sharing how I can bring value to the team by [insert quantifiable value task(s)].
At this time, I’ve remained very interested in the opportunity and look forward to learning next steps.
[insert your name]
The best is yet to come
In summary, I have no doubt that you can and will accomplish anything you set your mind towards. My door is always open to support those in their career journeys, and I wish you all the best in the new year ahead.