Mohammed is a mobile developer, who was born and raised in Egypt. He now lives in Germany.
Despite 8 years of solid experience, he had been rejected by several companies for about two years until he received two offers from companies in Berlin. Mohammed didn’t rest before making his dream come true and now he shares with us the 3 major steps of his strategy.
Job applications can be significantly different from one country to another. If you dream about a career abroad you must learn what those differences are and adapt yourself.
“I thought I was good enough. I didn’t get why they rejected me. So I realized that success comes from practice. You need to learn from your mistakes, then you will become really good at what you do”.
1. He built a strong application. Mohammed participated in the Imagine boot camp and applied our advice to his CV and LinkedIn profile.
“Imagine helped me with structuring my resume. I learned before that I should shorten it to a single page, even though I continued to be rejected. Imagine helped me to know in which areas I should concentrate on. Its recommendation letter also helped me to get seven interviews out of ten”.
Instead of a 3-pages CV full of fluffy and tech words, a single-page resume, specifically tailored to the job description is the best choice to show you as a perfect match for the job. Let the job description dictate which information and keywords you should write on your CV. When it’s ready, do the same for your LinkedIn profile. Plus, make your CV stand out among other applicants by mentioning your passions and accomplishments.
2. He improved his technical skills. Even though you are a senior developer, a master in one or two technologies, a company outside your country may use different technologies than those you have been working with. Or they may adopt practices that are not part of your work routine yet such as test-driven development (TDD), CI/CD, and design patterns, just to mention some commonly used in start-ups here, in Berlin. This means that you have to understand the market where you are seeking a job, identify eventual technical gaps, and fulfill them.
“I thought my architecture was perfect but I learned that I had to improve it. I subscribed to courses and websites and learned how to do a clean code. In Arab countries, we usually don’t focus on how to solve algorithms problems. I took some exams and failed. Then I read two books on how to solve algorithms and practiced on hacker hank. Self-learning was my best strategy to learn because in my job I had no opportunity to learn or use those technologies. I learned how to write testable code as well and how to make the code more robust and independent”.
3. He invested a precious amount of time in preparing for job interviews. This was the hardest part of his journey, according to Mohammed. During the interviews, you should present yourself in a summarized, straightforward way that shows you as a perfect match for the job. So talk about experiences and projects you worked on that are related to the job. Besides, be prepared to answer questions about your motivation to apply for that job and join the company. You also will be asked behavioral questions, for example about your teamwork and problem-solving skills. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your interviewer asks “tell me about a time you failed”, “how do you handle stress and pressure?”, “describe a difficult work situation/project and how you overcame it”, or even “what irritates you about your co-workers?”. After each interview, Mohammed took notes and enhanced the answers over time. One interview after another, he took notes of questions and answers, kept answers that worked well, and changed the ones that failed. Each interview was an opportunity to improve himself.
“I researched on the internet for the best answers and adapted that to my situation. For someone doing the same preparation, I would recommend YouTube videos and the website quora.com. I wrote a document with 15 questions and the best answers I could give to those according to my work experience and personal attitude”.
I got to know Mohammed in June when he took part in the Imagine boot camp. Only four months later, he wrote to me “Dear Fernanda, thank you for your email and sorry for the late reply. I’ve landed two job offers from Berlin and I’ve accepted one”. I could not be happier after reading his message. If you asked me what makes him special, I would say that he is as special as you are, plus resilient and open to learning. Those are two traits you have to have if you start the adventure of applying for jobs abroad. He didn’t allow the rejections to stop him from achieving his dream, on the contrary, each failure was a boost to improve himself.
“Understand that you will get rejected several times. I was rejected several times. Try to keep yourself positive about this, learn what you can improve in your skillset, and never, never give up on your goals. Every goal needs hard work to be reached”.
I’m sure that your journey will inspire many others all over the world.
Thank you for sharing it with us, Mohammed.
That’s it. We hope you enjoyed the read. Now it’s time for action. As always, we are rooting for you. Keep us posted.
— Your friends at Imagine
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