I don't look for jobs that have been posted — my feeling is that jobs that make it to Reddit / GitHub / Craigslist / Monthly Hiring Threads, are all jobs that have been picked over by people working at (or close with) the company.
I make a list of the type of company I want to work with (I want to be paid $X, they should use this technology, I want to solve this problem or work on this project) and then I backtrace it and figure out which companies match those criteria.
Then, I contact those companies. I set up meetings when I can. My goal is to learn:
* What sort of projects they work on
* What challenges they're facing (geez, our biggest client needs _IDEA Z_)
* What skills they look for in new hires / freelancers
* Other companies in the area / tech / market
When appropriate, I tell them about my background and skills and ask who I should be in contact with to learn when new opportunities open up.
Then, I do two things
If they mentioned a huuuuge problem / pain point they're facing, I send them a follow-up email talking about the problem they mentioned, what I can contribute to solving it, and suggesting a time for another meeting.
I follow up with any other companies / people they mentioned and set up a quick coffee meeting.
Periodically, I'll check in with my contact. Nothing spammy, just an update about something relevant to their industry / problem.
Rather than fight over the same jobs that everyone else sees on 37Signals / Reddit / GitHub / HN hiring / Craigslist / LinkedIn / Etc, I want to be at the top of mind with the companies I want to work with.
Every job I've had — salary or consulting - has come from someone inside of the company calling me up, telling me about a position they have, and asking me if I want to interview. This bypasses the slog through submitting a resume and fighting against 20+ other candidates for a position. This gets me the positions I want working on the problems I want to solve.
(Thanks for asking! I'm about to meet with a client, so this is pretty stream of consciousness. If you have any questions, leave them here or shoot me an email at email@example.com!)
I pitch the meeting as an informational interview to learn about the industry. I let them know I'm active / looking to enter the industry and I have a few questions for a 15-20 minute meeting.
I'll check LinkedIn / my personal network / company website to find the name and title of the person that I want to meet. It's generally the owner (smaller companies) or project director / department director.
If their email address is public, I'll send them a short (~5 sentence max) email. If it's not, I'll use LinkedIn / Rapporative / Spokeo / calling the company to dig out their email address.
I'll send a short email saying something like:
(I do marketing consulting, but this has worked for my buddy who is a Python Developer, and my ex-girlfriend who does front end design)
Do you have 15-20 minutes free this Friday for a short informational interview? I'm a Marketing Strategist in town and I'm curious about the skills you look for in marketers in your industry.
Would you be free to meet this Friday at 1:00pm? (If that time doesn't work, just let me know when a good time for you would be).
If I don't hear back from them in 1-2 days, I'd do a quick follow-up call.
"Hey, this is Kai. I sent you an email a few days ago about setting up an informational interview. I'm curious, would this Friday at 1:00pm work or would there be a better time?"
If the meeting is set up, I'd write down the top 10 questions I have about the industry and bring the notes + a notebook to the meeting with me.
My goal is to keep them talking. My goal is to learn what problems they're facing as a department / as an industry, what skills they look for in new employees / freelancers, and who is the best person to know to find about open positions.
Not in my experience. I've used this to get a job at one big corp and interviews at several others. The key is to contact individuals, who are often very open to answering questions about their expertise.
This is similar to the approach recommended by "What Color is Your Parachute", I believe.
I've not actually gotten a job this way, but I have used it to talk to people outside of my field. When you're polite, and ask people who are good at what they do to talk about their work, people tend to be pretty happy to oblige!
I'm really intrigued by your approach. But doesn't this come across as nagging? I get the first email, and it's perfectly fine by me. I wouldn't mind receiving such an email. But the second one seems a bit spammy to me.
Can you share what kind of feedback you got from those emails? What is your success ratio?
The second one is a phone call, not an email. I'd refer to it as being 'forceful' or 'insisting.' I'm interested in setting up a meeting and sometimes the person I want to meet with, sees the email, but is buried under 100 more important things to do and doesn't get a chance to respond back.
Giving a quick, direct phone call
> 'Hey, I'd love to meet, I'm Kai, I emailed a few days ago, would meeting for an informational interview this Friday for 20 minutes work for you? (yes/no)'
can be a great way to get a direct response and fast.
What's the worst case? They say 'Sorry, I can't meet.' I'd rather have that direct answer than wonder about unreturned email.
My success ratio is high enough that I'm happy with this method. I don't have detailed records of how it's performed, but I'd guess that somewhere between 10% and 25% of the emails and calls I make turn into meetings. I'm really happy with that math.
Feedback is either 'Hey, we'd love to meet, how about <time>' or 'Sorry, I can't meet.'
If they say they can't meet, I either ask them if they know of a similar company they can direct me to that I can meet with or ask if they have time for one quick question (generally I ask what skill they're looking for in applicants and candidates).
I'm moving to Honolulu in November and I'm excited to double down on using this method again.
It's worth pointing out that Kai is a marketing specialist, and this is fairly normal (read: not bad) behavior when it comes to doing marketing. Keep in mind that he's spacing it out by a few days, which matters, and the follow-up actually demonstrates that he's (1) a human and (2) very interested.
I personally start by checking LinkedIn to see if I have any connections there - if not, then I go to my school's alumni network or ask my friends who work in that industry or live in that city to see if anyone can connect me.
That's an interesting strategy. I'd expect it to work better for relatively non-famous companies, rather than famous ones like Apple or Google. Having a candidate approach your non-famous company is quite a compliment to the company and a recommendation that the person actually wants to work there, and is not just looking for a paycheck.
The list of questions is good, too. It shows that you care about both the system and the work. Too many only care about their little piece of the pie and make everyone else's lives harder.
(This looks like a lot, but it usually takes me 2-3 hours all together)
I use a combination of Google Maps, LinkedIn, Googling, Virtual Assistants, and my friends.
Let's say I want to work for software development companies in Eugene, Oregon. I'd go to Google Maps and search for those (and similar) keywords. I'd make a list of companies in a Google Doc.
I'd go to LinkedIn and search for the industry in my area and see what companies match the size / description.
I'd Google for the industry and the location I want to work in. (Sites like http://siliconshire.com/ are great for Eugene).
I'd talk to my 10 closest friends and tell them the exact type of company I want to work for ("Hey Adam, I'm looking for a freelance Internet Marketing role with small (5-10) person businesses. I'm looking to work on Search Engine Optimization, Content Creation, and Social Media. I like companies that are focused on selling products, like organic soaps. Do you know of anything like that?)
I'd use a Virtual Assistant (like Fancy Hands) to automate some of this research.
Then I'd go through the list of companies I generate, visit their websites, read their blogs, and see 'Is this a company I want to work for?'
If it is, I contact them. If it isn't, I'm the wiser for researching.
I haven't looked for a job actively for about five years or so and I hope that I don't need to ever again. Instead, I get contacted regularly by recruiters, founders and other hiring agents who, unfortunately, I mostly need to decline. (Otherwise I wouldn't be getting any actual work done!)
Chasing listed jobs is a mug's game for two reasons: (i) you need to compete with a mountain of applications, and (ii) people often list jobs that they aren't entirely serious about filling. Even if you have a strong resume and put 30 minutes into writing a good cover letter for each applications, the odds really are against you in this case.
Factor (ii) is still a problem if you get an interview because many organizations put multiple random barriers ahead of applicants. For instance, if you don't pass some test or flub a question or one of the fifteen people who talk to you just doesn't like you on an animal level you've wasted all the time you've put into the process.
Anybody who's using a recruiter, on the other hand, really wants to fill the position. The odds are in your favor because the recruiter is going to walk if the company keeps putting candidates through the gauntlet and rejecting them.
So how do you get people to call you?
Be active on the web. For me that's meant developing a few side projects and also developing connections and adding some content to LinkedIn every day... Even when I'm not looking for work.
If you get yourself known you can quit wasting time looking at job boards.
I've actually had pretty decent success with listed jobs. I tend to be very selective about what sounds interesting, and I believe I'm qualified for. I've found I have an over 50% interview rate for applications and between 15-25% offer rate.
Personally I find recruiters to be annoying and they don't really understand software so I've actually put a good bit of effort into keeping off recruiter radars.
I'd also like to know why, mainly because I decided to finish off my LinkedIn profile during a lazy afternoon and for the past couple of days I've had recruiters from Google, Microsoft and loads of other companies sniffing around my profile and on my website/github profile.
Perhaps it was coincidence, or perhaps putting the right things in your profile tends to get you noticed?
In my case it was just a matter of playing the game.
I added people that I had interacted with at my previous companies as connections, I listed any articles I've written, put up links to personal projects/sites and reduced my skills to a small list of strong skills. I also joined a few small but known groups related to my work and made a couple of posts. Nothing too special, just a few posts here and there to answer some questions. Finally, I added my Stack Overflow reputation and any "out-of-work" stuff I handle. Basically, going from 30% completeness to 100% completeness on my profile.
A few days later I checked back on my profile and found that my profile views had gone from zero to around 10-15 a day. I tend to get a lot of recruiter spam on there but have had a few EMEA recruiters from Google, Microsoft and Facebook stop by my profile. No offers, but always nice to see people interested in reading about me.
It's an often repeated piece of common wisdom, but, for whatever it's worth, my experience is the opposite. I've had a number of jobs in my life, some of which I got through a friend and some by replying to an online job ad, and the latter kind were much better jobs, both by subjective feeling and by objective metrics I can think of (like, how much time I spent there before leaving, or how much money I was making.) It seems strange to me that people feel it's advantageous to restrict your employment options to companies where you have some kind of inside connection.
I mostly just go to reddit meetups in Boston, so my perspective is slightly skewed, but I find the biggest problem is usually the venue. Very few places can seat more than 6 people or so together comfortably.
Do you attend meetups just to grow your network, or is growing your network a side product of your enjoyment of going to meetups?
I think for people who aren't naturally social butterflies, networking should be thought of as one of, but not necessarily the best or most efficient of, the ways to force the job search process. For people who just like to socialize with people in their field, networking might be strictly the best way to find work.
I would have been inclined to agree with you in the past. I've had job offers as a direct result of my involvement with open source projects, and attending meetups. However, the job I'm currently interviewing for is far nicer than anything I've had before, and I just went through the standard process of applying via email. It's also nice to be able to apply for something that really interests you, instead of just relying on the opportunities provided by people in your network.
We're creating a more targeted platform than AngelList called EquityLancer, aimed at providing a marketplace where equity is used as a currency. In doing so, the jobs on our site are guaranteed to offer equity.
We've seen more than 90% of the jobs posted on our site also include salary. After reading many of the posts in this thread, I'm eager to expand the functionality of our platform's tools to include many of the methods described in finding a job outside the popular platforms.
I wish I knew more about the UK job scene....I'm in the US so I don't have any personal experience there. Are the big job boards the same there? (I'd guess Github, StackOverflow, 37s, angellist are the big established boards everywhere, but not sure.)
I found my current position via LinkedIn. I also searched with StackOverflow Careers, the HN monthly hiring threads (which weren't useful due to a lack of posts for my area), and the job pages of local companies. I probably would have used more sources if it had taken any significant amount of time to find a job.
My previous position was via a university career fair when I was still a student.
When I was looking for a job I would routinely go through:
- prospects.ac.uk (Though you need to have been a student to register)
- s1jobs.com (Mostly so I could have at least seen one ad a day)
Last time I was looking for a job, it consisted of posting an update on Facebook saying that I was back on the job market. I got six promising leads to follow up from friends in about 12 hours. And in most cases, it's from someone who works there, or even the person trying to hire.
(Sadly, the same trick doesn't work for boyfriends.)
One strategy if you're already in SF or SV is to figure out the places that tech folks congregate and passively get leads while doing other work. When I moved to SF a few months ago and was jobhunting I would go to Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission while I was writing my cover letters and doing recruiter correspondence. I'd make a point of talking to anyone who came in the door with a startup tee or hoodie on and tell them what I was doing.
This meant that my list of places to apply to actually grew every time I went to go and knock a few off my list. I met a lot of interesting engineers this way and generated a lot of leads that I wouldn't have found through HN Hiring or other boards. In some cases I found jobs that weren't posted online until after I found out about them in person.
This is going to sound arrogant and troll-y, but I assure you it isn't.
I don't look. When I want a new job, I stop ignoring recruiters and wait to see what comes along. I've never waited more than a few days to have a pile of interesting opportunities. (I also end up with a much bigger pile of bullshit talent-trawls, but that's beside the point)
I wish I could say this was a function of my being awesome, but I think it has more to do with the job market in my area (PDX). There just aren't enough senior developers to go around.
I found my previous job through a local Ruby User Group meetup. At least in Atlanta, pretty much every company that attends is always hiring. I currently average about three recruiters or hiring managers a week contacting me on LinkedIn, which is how I found my current job.
I have never really looked for a job honestly, but if I were going to here's what I would do.
Find the type of company you want to work for. Narrow your list down to about 5 of those companies you'd like to work at.
Now sit down and write a personalized cover letter for each of these companies and the role you'd like to play in said organization.
Now email each of the companies hiring depts, founders, etc with said letter and sit back. If you wrote a truly compelling cover letter (you should have if you are actually passionate about working for the company) you will most likely get some sort of response.
Rinse and repeat if no success.
As a multi-time founder and hiring decision-maker I always enjoyed a good cover letter and great interview more than a resume. Even when it comes to technical knowledge the most important thing to me is that if you did not know it you were smart enough and capable of learning it.
If you can knock it out of the park on a cover letter and show why you're excited to be a part of said company then they would be foolish not to hire you.
EDIT: Obviously you should still send a resume as well. But sending one without a cover letter in my opinion is the equivalent of career suicide.
I'm a freelancer, and most of my work comes via referrals now. Not always, but it's been the case for the past few years.
Wasn't much different back when I was looking for full time work though. Even though I only worked for 2 companies, I use to get interviews through referrals, or through past colleagues that left and wanted me to come aboard.
I recently graduated (at the end of August 2012), and I have been looking for a full time Android Developer position in SF Bay area since then. Here is what I did:
- Cleaned up my Linkedin profile. Set my title to my desired position (Android Developer). I worked on my resume and made it as detailed as possible but still fit in 2 pages. In the Linkedin "Summary" field, I put in my objective, goal and my "Professional Summary". Then I filled in the experience, courses and projects. I got endorsements and recommendations from my former colleagues. Next; I bought "Job Seeker" membership from Linkedin, put on the "Job Seeker" badge, and opt in for OpenLink. This made it easier for people to find me and message me. After all these, my profile views and search appearances skyrocketed. The next thing I am considering is, setting my Linkedin location to San Francisco (I am temporarily in Chicagoland) so that recruiters in SF can find me.
- I built a single page resume site (http://bit.ly/aydinli_resume), put links to my Linkedin, AngelList and Github. I also have Google Analytics. Nothing fancy, and mobile compatible. I also had business cards with a QR code linked to my resume site.
- Here is a list of websites I use to search for jobs (in no particular order):
+ AngelList jobs
+ Github jobs
+ Mobile development groups on meetup.com
+ VentureBeat jobs
+ Hacker News Who is Hiring xxxx 201x?
+ Reddit SfBayJobs
+ 37Signals Job board
+ JobScore jobseeker
+ Sometimes Quora
+ Directly from the websites of well known companies
Currently, I don't have any problems finding jobs to apply. I search for jobs, if the project seems interesting, I apply and ask for more information. The problem I have is; companies don't have to reply to your application whether good or bad. It doesn't matter if it is a giant company or a startup founder that gives out his/her personal email for applications, you rarely get an answer. Even with tools they have, like jobvite, resumator, jobscore, etc., they very rarely reply. I am getting used to it though.
I thought about doing that, but then I couldn't find any advantages. I can move there, change my Linkedin location to San Francisco, and that would bring more recruiters. I can try going to meetups in the area and try to network. Aside from those, what do you think I could do? I have a very limited amount of time to find a job.
See if there's a job-specific mailing list for the language you're interested in.
Get involved: speak at user groups and conferences. If possible, step up and manage. You'll get work sent your way, and once you've built up a reputation (like when people come up to you at conferences and know your name but you don't know theirs), you can often drop the idea of needing work on Twitter and get a good response.
I second this ... every job I've had (with the exception of my first programming job) has come through contacts made at meetups/user groups. Although, secondary to that has been keeping up a laundry list of secondary projects that I work on on my own personal time.
Yes, it was useful. I actually found an opening somewhere. What would make it better? A couple of suggestions:
- It defaults to Milwaukee. Maybe ask for a zip code?
- I like that it loads more as you scroll down, but it also loads the same things so there are lots of repetitions.
- No filter for android/ios/mobile
- Highlight the words that I filter for; ex: If I choose Android, color the word Android in the page yellow.
Thanks a ton for your thoughts and i'm really happy the tool helped you find an opening! To your points:
-I just added a mobile filter (includes all mobile dev) so take a look! hope this helps.
-highlighting filtered words is an awesome idea and it's now on my list.
-Obviously there are still some bugs in the geo-locating and scroll stuff - where are you located?
-I'd love to hear more about what kind of jobs you're looking for and why the opening you found was useful so I can understand how to make the tool better. If you have a second to respond here I'd really appreciate it, or you can tweet/email me @orrenkt/orrenkt at gmail
I've been working in the same place for 11 years now! I know it's startling but it's a pretty sweet place and I've moved myself up through the ranks so-to-speak. I have perused a few jobs on Stackoverflow careers a few times but never applied. They tend to have pretty decent places with interesting work.
ZipRecruiter is a good one. It has some useful features that I haven't seen in other job board sites.
Some features include, total number of candidates that have applied, including AND in the search query, and a few others.
Worth giving them a look.