Hiring Tips for Engineers: Know How to Sell Yourself

When you’re on the market for a new job, one of the key things to remember is that you are the product. That means that you need to be able to sell yourself when it comes down to interview time. For those that are not natural-born salespeople, which--if you’ve chosen to go into engineering--you probably aren’t, this is easier said than done. Luckily, the Rivi team has plenty of experience coaching interviewees, and we’re here to help. Technical Recruiters Aaron Ho and Joseph Yeh have the following advice.

Know Yourself

Start by reflecting on key contributions that you have done at work, school, and or side projects/hackathons. Understand your own motivations, and what you are looking to achieve in your career. Have a definable goal; for example, know that you want to have a product that touches 1M users, make $150,000 for your base salary or make an impact on a social cause that affects students for a certain locale. It’s also a good idea to have some thoughts on how you would measure these goals.

Be sure to also pinpoint five strengths and three weaknesses, as these are popular interview questions. We’ll have more on how to address such questions in our next installment, which dives further into interview prep.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You should be able to share your experiences with others in the form of a “story.” Find situations from school, internships, freelance projects and/or hackathons and be able to share the technical problem, the solution, the steps you took and the results in a two-to-three minute time window. If there is a personal connection to the project or this is your life-long interest, people love to hear about that, too. Practice telling your story at work and social gatherings.

Additionally, you may want to practice speaking in a public environment. Toastmasters and volunteering to speak at tech events are great ways to practice “selling.” You can also share what you’ve done by mentoring another engineer; practice sharing your code, talking about your startups and so on.

Finally, practice pitching your background to your mentor. If you don’t have a career mentor, we highly recommend finding one. Alternatively, you can practice pitching to another engineer, hopefully someone who is an interviewer at his or her company.

Stay tuned for our next installment, Sell yourself!, which will give more in-depth advice on how to prepare for an interview.

Hiring Tips for Engineers: Beef Up Your Resume (and Network)

There are a lot of engineering jobs out there, but that doesn’t mean that a job in the field is just going to land in your lap--especially if you are particular about the company you want to work for. The good news is that we here at Riviera have loads of experience in this area, so we know what it takes to land the job of your dreams. The first step? Making sure your resume--and your network--are up to snuff.

Know What You Want

Make a top 30 list of targeted companies in three domains (for instance, Payments, Big Data, Quantified Self) and research those companies. Be prepared to create slightly different versions of your resume for each position. Keep versions of your resume in the cloud so you can easily tweak it on-the-fly if need be.

Include The Most Valuable Info

Hiring managers at engineering companies tend to care about your ability to solve hard technical problems. That means it’s important to showcase your technical accomplishments. Winning hackathons, contributing to open source projects, answering questions on Stack Overflow, learning new technologies and building side projects outside of work all indicate that you really care about improving yourself as an engineer. It’s also great to highlight any hard technical problems that you’ve solved, such as scaling the backend for a site with millions of users. This shows the hiring manager the potential you have to solve their technical problems.

Create Content, Consume Courses

It’s a good idea to have your own personal website or blog where you can showcase projects and accomplishments that you won’t be able to include in a resume. You can include a link to that online portfolio though. Also, it‘s a good idea to read and watch online trainings and videos from the likes of Coursera, Udacity, Udemy and iTunes U. You never know what might be be worth including in your resume. Also, there’s a whole host of training and certification courses for engineers; find the ones that will best enhance your current experience--and look good on paper

Network, Network, Network

It’s important to show interest in other people, companies and products. Connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Hiring managers will look at the resources when considering setting an interview or making an offer.

Also, be sure to contribute and participate in your local meetups, hackathons and other tech community events. Some examples include Meetup, Hacker League, TopCoder and LAUNCH. This gives you an opportunity to not only connect with others in your industry, but also to share your insights with and ask questions of other tech folks.

Become comfortable and practice speaking to Engineers, Sr. Engineers, VPs of Engineering and Product, VCs, and CEO’s about the industry and share your personal story. Socialize with the engineering, product, sales, marketing, human resources, and operations team, by absorbing information about their passions and the company, and share your ideas about their products.

All of this is great practice for when you meet someone from your targeted company, as you’ll be able to talk confidently about industry happenings and share personal stories relevant to your career. Before you know it, you might have just ‘networked’ yourself to your dream job!

Once you’ve strengthened your resume and network, it’s time to work on the next step: Realizing you  are the product. Stay tuned for our next tip, which will offer advice on how to sell yourself.

TechWeek Los Angeles

This week, Riviera Partners will be participating in the 2013 TechWeek Los Angeles event. Representing our company, Partner Eric Larson will be attending the conference and expo during this exciting week celebrating the Southern California tech ecosystem. If you plan on participating or know someone who is, we encourage you to come talk shop with Eric and learn more about Riviera while we learn more about the local startups!


About TechWeek:

TechWeek brings together a mixture of entrepreneurs, visionaries, and thought leaders for a week long celebration of all things tech. Their approach is to bring together an entire tech community under a single 7-day big tent and then shine a global spot light on this ecosystem. Learn more and participate in the action - http://techweek.com/losangeles/

2013 Q3: Software Engineering Salaries in Silicon Valley

We dove into our data from last quarter to get a glimpse of the state of engineering salaries within the Bay Area in 2013. Following the trend of the first two quarters of the year, average engineering salaries in Q3 continued to climb. As prefaced in a variety of recent tech blogs, even junior engineers are cashing in on the demand for tech talent and are earning six-figure salaries. October has already passed and we anticipate a strong close of 2013. Check out our findings in our analysis below:


November Drinkup at Riviera Partners

We’re hosting a Drinkup in our San Francisco office and we’d love for you to show up. If you’re part of the tech community come on down and join us at 185 Berry Street Lobby 3 Suite 2400 (the office with the Bay view) at 5:30pm on Thursday, September 5th and enjoy some great conversation and craft cocktails by award winning bartender, Ethan Terry (AQ, Heaven’s Dog, Alembic)!




5:30 – 8:30 Thursday, November 7th


185 Berry St, Lobby 3, Suite 2400