8 Career Tips from NYC’s Hottest Tech Companies

How do you negotiate a raise? What can kill your resume? At the kickoff to a career fair in Brooklyn, job seekers got plenty of advice from companies like Google and Oath

Alluding perhaps to unicorn symbolism in the tech world, a presenter holds forth an an earlier Uncubed conference (Photos courtesy of Uncubed)

Searching for a job might be the quickest route to an existential crisis.

Where do I want to work? What do I want out of life? Why aren’t hiring managers responding to my LinkedIn request? Can they see me? DO I EXIST?!


That’s why the career platform Uncubed wants to make the job hunt more human. This is the first year the New York-based company is bringing their career fair to Brooklyn—and “it’s about time,” said co-founder and chief creative officer Tarek Pertew at Monday night’s kickoff event at Brooklyn Bowl, which gathered higher-ups from companies like Google, Oath, and Stride NYC to offer advice to tech job seekers. (After the talks, there was beer, bowling, and a tribute to Tom Petty. How very Brooklyn!) These companies and many more will be at Uncubed’s job fair at Industry City on Thurs., Nov. 9. (Readers of The Bridge can get a 50% discount on admission by using the following code: TheBridgeBK50.) Meanwhile, here’s the best career advice from Monday’s session, distilled into eight key tips.

1. Highlight what's different about you

Forget downplaying your out-of-the-mainstream experience or history, says LaShanti Jenkins, senior manager of talent acquisition at Oath (parent company to Yahoo and HuffPost). “Difference truly is a superpower,” she says. Companies don’t want an entire staff with the same competencies or capabilities, because that’s not the way to build brands people can relate to. Modern companies “need people from all walks of life,” she said, highlighting an article written by an intern discovered at Florida International University which ended up being the most-trafficked story in Yahoo Lifestyle’s history.

2. Consult instead of react

So, how do Google people build relationships? They start by pivoting from a reactive mindset to a consultative one, says Connie Gold, manager at gTech Professional Services, one of Google’s client-facing groups. “The more we are partners with customers, the more they thrive–and Google thrives,” she says, and that’s where not only technical skills but emotional intelligence comes into play. “We need people who can connect with other people,” in order to build trust with partners, she said. Sounds like it wouldn’t hurt to put EQ under “skills” on your resume.

3. Ask for a bit more than you want

“Most people are not great negotiators,” said Debbie Madden, co-founder and CEO of StrideNYC, an Agile software consultancy, who said the acronym PEEC can help anyone during a negotiation: Plan, Exchange, Exchange, Commit. Before going into a negotiation, make a plan and identify the other person’s “pie”–what gets them excited and eager? You should also know your BATNA: Best Alternatives to Negotiated Agreement. If your negotiation fails, what’s the plan? Will you quit? Move? Knowing your negotiation persona is key—do you tend to compromise, avoid conflict, or immediately jump into competition mode?

Then, during the actual negotiation, get to talking. Madden says the best negotiators spend 38% of their time asking questions. You should also “anchor high,” which means coming up with the number that satisfies you–whether it’s for salary, budget or other issue–then go a little bit higher. Finally, you should commit to a deadline. Asking “what can we do by Friday of this week?” will get the ball rolling faster than an open-ended query. Madden also pointed attendees to her Twitter account, where she published a helpful cheat sheet of her negotiation tactics.

4. Find a coach

Getting a few words of encouragement at an Uncubed conference

Jeremiah Ivan, v.p. of engineering at Merrill Corp., had advice about building a tech start-up inside an enterprise company, which extends to anyone growing a company or looking to develop their skills. “Encourage quick decisions,” he said, because “one of the biggest things that stops people from adding value is limiting the number of bites at the apple.” He also urged managers to look for outside support. “Steel sharpens steel,” so you should find the best people to learn from and don’t hesitate to get help.

5. Get your resume right–and to the right person

There’s a reason everyone says to spell-check your resume: few people actually do. Jeremy Snepar, founder and CEO at NYCDA (New York Code + Design Academy), said the job-search process is an opportunity to show your character and resourcefulness. “When most people approach the job search, they take the path of least resistance,” he says, clicking on web sites and blindly submitting resumes into the wild. What you should do is find the person who would be your boss, figure out the person’s email address (that’s the resourcefulness part), and send them a clear, direct, succinct email and cover letter. “The resume is the firm handshake of the job search process,” he says—and don’t be afraid to follow up.

6. If you're an introvert, own it

“I reject the idea you have to be a Tony Robbins-type to lead,” says Martha Dreiling, head of analytics and corporate operations at the insurance disruptor Attune Insurance, who gave tips for introverts to manage effectively. Planning your interactions by putting things like “walk the floor and chat” into your calendar can help establish personal relationships, and focusing on small groups during office hours can build one-to-one relationships. Scheduling quiet time after meetings can recharge your emotional batteries, and researching topics you’re not familiar with (like, say, sports) can create genuine engagement and spark new conversations. “Listening is your superpower,” she said. Often an introverted executive can be more effective than a brash person leading the charge because they’ve worked to earn the trust of their employees.

7. Build your (big) brand

The mid-stage startup Dataminr is growing so fast the company had to stop and consider how they were telling their story. Frances Cooperman, executive v.p. of marketing and communications, described how they built a new website and content program that told who they are–and their impact on the world–in a fun and creative way. After a few weeks, their new content, including case studies and thought-leadership articles, is driving 40% of their website traffic. This is a good reminder to company owners and job seekers alike to think seriously, but not boringly, about the stories they’re telling to the world about their work.

8. Uncover your values

Vivek Sharma, CEO of marketing software company Movable Ink, shared advice for high-growth companies trying to define their culture and values. First, they should look at their current superstars and figure out a pattern. Sharma found employees had three qualities in common: curiosity, empathy, and grit. They asked questions (about everything, not just their own jobs), they listened, and they felt like nothing was impossible. Instead of searching elsewhere to find your values or your strengths, start by observing what’s already in front of you and what’s working.

Kara Cutruzzula is a writer living in Fort Greene. Her articles, essays, and plays can be found here.