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This past week, some folks from the CircleCI team were honored to partner with Maven Youth, a Bay Area nonprofit focused on supporting LGBTQ+ youth interested in tech, for a morning of fun and skill-sharing as part of their Maven Youth Camp. We chose to partner with Maven Youth because of the strides the organization is making for the queer youth in tech, as well as our desire to do impactful work in the larger community as we build our own internal LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) here at CircleCI.

Maven Youth Camp features daily field trips to local tech organizations and partners with guests and volunteers from an impressive array of top tech companies (Autodesk, Netflix, et al). Our recruiting coordinator, David Lopez, had been in touch with the group’s founder and CEO, Monica Arrambide, to ask how we could best support the youth during this program. Through their conversations, they came to the conclusion that one program the youth could really benefit from was a workshop on resume building and interviewing. Every one of us could remember our professional beginnings and how intimidating it was to write our first resume, so we were happy to come along and share our perspectives as more seasoned tech professionals.

During our time with the youth, we engaged in some great conversations about how to craft a resume that paints you in your best light but still feels like you, tips for talking to recruiters and what questions to ask, and how to know if a company supports your values. Some tips from our team included:

  • Do think of resume writing as a creative endeavor: include sections that highlight the most important, meaningful and impressive aspects of your experience, whether from school, part-time jobs, or personal projects.

  • Do your research! Make sure you understand what the product does, who uses the product, and what differentiates the product from its competitors. Youtube is a great resource!

  • Do show up on time for your interview (Monica, Maven Youth’s founder, shared a story of showing up 2 hours early for their first interview!). Make eye contact, shake hands, and thank the interviewer for speaking with you.

  • Do have an elevator pitch ready. Know, and be able to clearly articulate, what you’re there for, why it matters to you, and how you can be of service to the company’s mission.

  • Do be prepared to answer typical interview questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?” (In our team’s experience, this isn’t meant to be a trick question– but rather an opportunity to show your self-awareness about your weaknesses and how you use your strengths to work around them.)

  • Don’t be shy about asking what the company’s values are. Folks who are interviewing candidates should be able to tell you. If they don’t know their values, it might not be a place you want to work.

  • Don’t forget that the person interviewing you is also a human being: you can be real, try to relax if you can, and be yourself!

We’re so appreciative to Monica, the Maven Youth campers and youth leaders for having us, and look forward to working with them again soon! You can learn more about Maven Youth at their website, follow their adventures on Twitter, and explore mentorship opportunities!