How to [Fail to] Get a Job at SEP

May 13, 2013

Missing the Mark
When we go to college career fairs, professors will often ask us to come give talks to their classes about something useful. After one of these requests, I was contemplating giving a talk on “How to Get a Job at SEP” (due to some of the experiences that day). Given that it is unlikely I’ll actually give that talk, I’ve decided to use it as fodder for our latest Blog Battle instead.

So, how can you fail to get a job with SEP?

  1. Don’t do any more coding than you have to for your classes (or current job). We look for people that are interested in solving problems they see. Whether you’re just working doing something extra on your own, working on a little project with some friends, or contributing to a global open source project. If you’ve got a github account (or similar), let us know.
  2. Don’t advertise the things you do. I’ve been surprised at career fairs by the number of people whose resumes do nothing but list classes they’ve taken or jobs they’ve held. But upon talking to these people, I often find that they’re involved in some interesting things that they never wrote down. If you’ve got a passion for something, let us know.
  3. Know nothing about SEP when you first contact us. “I think you do something with software” is unfortunately something I hear too often at career fairs. This shouldn’t be too surprising given the size of our company. But please make sure you’ve done a little homework on us. At least read through our website. (bonus points for reading my blog)
  4. Only talk to us once. It doesn’t hurt to be on our radar before you’re looking for a job. If you’re a student, show up to career fairs and info sessions and talk to us whenever you can (unfortunately, this advice is only likely to help Rose-Hulman and Purdue University students). But if you’re local to Indianapolis, look for us at events like Indy Software Artisans. Not local? Follow Chris Shinkle and see what conferences he’s planning to attend.
  5. Do nothing but code. While we love to see people that code, we know that coding isn’t everything. We’ve got people with a wide variety of interests here, and hopefully you enjoy doing more than coding day and night. Are you a black belt in a martial art? Cool! Love board games? Awesome! Manage a softball team? Great!

None of the above will eliminate you from a job outright. But each of them lowers your chances that we’ll get past looking at your resume.

But what if I don’t want a job with SEP?

While SEP is the only place I’ve been involved in the recruiting process (being a part of the recruiting team for around 5 years), I do chat with recruiters from other companies. And while my advice is unlikely to work if you want an accounting job at a Fortune 500 company, it is likely help you at any mid-size software company.