Case studies

5 Tips for Getting Matched to Your First Mission, According to the Experts

In a team sport, no matter how individually talented a professional athlete may be, it’s the talent of the entire roster that determines their championship odds. While next-wave marketplaces like Mission offer independent software engineers a convenient and supportive way to take advantage of a cutting edge collaborative model, a member’s first challenge is no different than the athlete’s: making the team.

How can you improve your odds to find a role on a gifted squad that will take your game to the highest level?

We’ve surveyed professionals in the field of matching independents to missions and boiled their advice down to five key tips to help you put yourself in the best position to make the cut:

1. Read the Mission Description — Carefully

Cast a “smart” net, not a wide net. Read each mission description very carefully and make sure you don’t miss crucial details like the “Must Have” skills we’ve listed. As the label suggests, if you don’t have them, you won’t get the role. So double check to make sure your expertise is reflected truthfully and accurately on your profile, that it fits the mission at hand, and if those are aligned — go for it! If not then keep searching, and we’re sure you’ll find several that fit you just right.

2. Confirm Your Availability

If you’ve read the description carefully, you’ll notice it has a start date. Obvious, we know — or so you’d think. Our Member Experience team suggests you make sure you can make yourself available to work within 1–2 weeks of the mission’s proposed start date. That’ll ensure you’re able to get started early, or participate in early meetings to get aligned with the squad.

3. Check the Tech Stacks

You’ll see we’ve listed required tech stacks for each role. It’s important you’re not only familiar with those stacks, but have worked with them recently — think the last 6–12 months! Once a mission gets going, it’s too challenging to learn or relearn the tech, so make sure you’ve engaged with the stacks at a point that’s not too far back in your CV.

4. Timezone

At Mission, we always aim to provide Squad and Tech Leads in the same timezone as our clients, and we require a close overlap for contributors, for the obvious benefits and convenience of this arrangement. So make sure you’re extra mindful of that timezone when reading over a mission. We are sometimes willing to accommodate unique work schedules outside of the mission’s timezone: we’d just need a note from you explaining your singular setup. But as far as improving your odds go, lining up the timezones is your best bet.

5. Aim for Growth

We know you’re eager to get building, so you may be thinking one project is just as good as another for your first. However, we strongly suggest you choose a mission that’s going to help you grow professionally, with the kinds of challenges that truly excites you. Mission’s not another labor market. We nurture careers and self-development, and curate our mission board toward this aim. So take advantage of that and look for a role that’s going to push you forward. If the one you’re looking at seems status quo, move on to the next until you find one that stands out to you! By the way, this might make for great material for your cover letter. More about that in a future article.

A bonus tip: Make sure everything you’re sharing is written clearly and with proper grammar and punctuation. Free tools like Grammarly can help you improve on this front even if you’re not a native speaker. You can even enlist an affordable freelance writer to help you craft a CV and cover letter. If you’re not confident in communicating in a certain language, this extra step is well worth it.

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