This is usually the most exciting part in your career as a software developer.
When you look up job vacancies, check out the requirements and you realize they were exactly a great fit for you.
And the company hiring…?
Your favorite brand!
It is very exciting to go to a site like Indeed.com, look up jobs and start sending out applications.
But wait… there is a better way to do it that will actually get you noticed.
Before you reach out for the job ad boards, start with your inner circle of friends, connections and family when looking for a job.
This is the time the connections you made earlier really play a big role.
Check with your connections if they know a startup that is hiring. Or better still if they know someone who knows some who is hiring. Sounds funny?
Submitting your resume to a company that is hiring is cool.
But what is really cool is to have your resume submitted by someone who is already known or has already worked with the company before.
Your application will be considered more favorably than another that was received from a random person browsing the internet that came across the job ad in the internet and fired their resume.
You need somebody to speak for you.
As a software developer it’s great to go right away and blow your own trumpet. If anything you know the skills you claim to have, don’t you? But what’s really great is to have someone else sing your praises.
If someone could recommend your skills and competence directly to the hiring manager, you’d look more trustworthy than someone else who was not spoken for.
Recruiters always have two piles of resumes while recruiting for a developer position.
The huge pile of applications unsolicited from the internet, and the smaller heap handed in person by someone they already know or worked with before.
The smaller pile is considered more favorably!
After checking with your friends and connections, the next place you will find job opportunities advertised are the job listing sites.
This could be countrywide online listings or listings in your local town, probably in the physical notice boards.
When you are checking for job openings from websites like Indeed.com and Dice.com you should know that most of the jobs would require you to relocate to the specific areas where the company is located.
So you should be ready or willing to relocate before you start pursuing an opportunity with a company located in a different city.
If you are only interested in opportunities in your locality then filter your search results to only show the opportunities that are available in your local town.
Once you narrow down your search to relevance by locality, check out the job requirements to ascertain that you have the qualifications required and are excited about the opportunity.
Job searching is not only about checking if you are a good fit for the company, you should in turn check if the company is a good fit for you.
Check out for online reviews about the company from sites like Glassdoor.com and find out what other past employees are saying about the company. You need to ascertain whether it is a company that values employee input and respect.
It might not be an ideal company that you would like to work for, but it’s better to walk into their doors when you already know very well what to expect.
Don’t get so much lost into finding the best company though because you might end up with an empty list. Each company has their own share setbacks and it takes a good employee to be able to bear with the situation.
The companies that might sound ideal for you have a higher barrier to entry.
It might NOT be easy to secure entry into a developer position without someone literally holding your hand for these companies.
If you are a junior web developer, seeking to gain experience, then don’t sweat it.
After a couple of years of industry experience you will sell like hot cake.
Companies will come after you with job offers even before you ask. You will be spoilt for choice then. You will only have to weigh options, which to choose from.
But before that happens you have to plead your case so that you are given a chance to build your credentials and become that developer that every company would rob the bank to keep.
Always take your time to read a job ad carefully to understand the requirements fully and any additional information that may be required.
This will also help you when crafting your application to ensure you include all the information that may be required and that you meet the bare minimum of the requirements.
In order to increase the chances of your application being successful, check out the next point.
If you already know someone who works at the company where you submitted your application, this is the best time to get in touch with them if you hadn’t done that already.
You don’t have to be pushy, trying to make them get you the job!
You simply want to catch up with them, informing them about your application and indicating that you’d appreciate any help they could offer you with regards to the application.
Depending on the nature of your connection, you might ask them to do a follow up on your behalf; to probably check with the hiring department if they received your application.
Most applications that are submitted online go through resume scanners and chances that your resume never met a human eye are very high.
Mostly likely it landed into a black hole!
This would be a great chance to find it out.
If not, you might ask them to submit your resume once again on your behalf.
A resume that is submitted by one of the company staff might be regarded more favorably than that from a complete stranger.
An employee probably already knows the company culture and would ONLY recommend someone they think would be a great fit for the company culture.
Besides, when you are brought in by a third party, then the third party is to be held accountable besides you when something goes wrong.
This tends to give the hiring manager more confidence when hiring than when they have to hire a complete stranger with nobody to be responsible for them.
Just one of the employees walking in and asking the hiring team about your particular resume draws much attention to your case.
Your resume might be fetched from the bottom of the heap and brought to the top for consideration.
They want to find out what’s special about you that your buddy had to come in and ask them specifically about you.
You might not be the most brilliant software developers, but at least your resume got some attention now. 90% of applications are never meet by a human eye.
After you send out applications to a number of companies, probably you are not going to hear back from any of them.
If you get a response it might be a nicely formatted rejection email.
This is the time you want to check back with them to see if they really received your application.
They definitely received your application but asking if they really received it is a polite way to start a conversation. These mailboxes usually get bombarded with email and it’s easy for your email to get lost in the noise, the crowd.
Many a time a follow up email has evoked a positive response from the company.
Some companies are like “Do you really want our job?”
If they are this type then you most likely will receive a positive response once you follow up.
Don’t follow up after 3 days of sending in your application. It appears pushy, which is a major turn off. An ideal time to follow up would be after 2 weeks from the time you handed in your application.
Don’t get offended if a company does not respond to your email even after a follow up. Sometimes it just happens like that. Don’t put too much thought into it.
Companies are always bombarded with 100’s if not 1000’s of applications for every single position they advertise so they are usually overwhelmed.
This is a strong reason why I stress the importance of having the right connections or network to help you in your job search.
It just boils down to reason.
Would you trust an application from someone from the internet who you didn’t meet before or an application that was submitted by someone you know in person?
Hiring is a tedious and costly process and companies are trying to play safe.
In some instances companies advertise job opportunities just for formality then they hand pick a developer from within the company for a promotion to fill the position.
Don’t lose hope. You only need to succeed once. You only need to nail one job and your title changes from ‘Unemployed’ to ‘Software Developer’.
After you have garnered some years of experience in software development
your portfolio or resume will speak for itself and you will be able to find your way into other companies without necessarily needing a helping hand.
But when you are just starting out, when you don’t have much industry experience yet, having the right connections will play a great role in making your job search a success.
What has been your experience searching for a job so far?
Which is your preferred method?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Geoffrey is an experienced software developer and open source evangelist. When not coding he writes and talks about current technology trends, small business tips and developer productivity hacks. He is no coffee addict.
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