We are undoubtedly living in a strange and precarious situation – no need to hammer on about COVID-19, we all know what it is, and are all trying our own different ways of dealing with the situation around it. However, it’s necessary to address that, unfortunately for many, it has led to a fair number of people either being let go – whether for economic reasons, or because the work has dried up, as well as a large number of people left working on shaky ground in certain industries, such as travel, sport and entertainment.
I think one of the difficulties around job-hunting in specialised areas such as Tech and Product is that it’s quite rare for people, or at least such a high number of very qualified people, to be jobless. It’s far more common for people in these shoes to be headhunted from recruiters at all angles, from agency and internal, asking them to come on board. Essentially, there’s normally a wealth of options in front of them, and only a job interview (although challenging) standing in the way. Meaning that sadly, people in these areas aren’t massively well-versed in actually going to find a job themselves.
So this is somewhat a guide to How I’d Go to Find a Job Right Now If I Had To. I don’t think I’m exceptionally qualified for much, barring obscure European football references, and recruitment. Handily going to find a job isn’t much different to being a Recruiter, so I can talk through to you, reader, how I’d go about finding employment. For anyone who reads further than this point – this will be taking a more Tech specific approach, but feel free to use as a baseline for any other type of role.
Step 1: Social Media
One of the first things I’d suggest is get your social media up-to-date. Mad, I know. Surely the first instinct is to mash together a CV and hit the job boards?! I mean, yeah, it’s good to hit like a sprint, and it feels more effective to be sending out CVs for sure. However, have a chat with any marketeer and they’ll be telling you all about the long-term gain of making sure everything’s all set up, looking great and working in the background.
Start with your LinkedIn; your bio should be telling any recruiter or hiring manager looking at your profile what you’re good at and what you’re looking for, and you should make sure any relevant technologies and projects are written under each role. If you’ve got a kind of weird job title, don’t be afraid to standardise it; if you are a Lead Front-end Developer, but your internal title is ‘Solutions Lead’ or something else a bit random, then stick what you actually are on there.
People bandy on about how ‘Recruiters on average spend 5-7 seconds looking at a CV’ (I mean, this isn’t really true, but it’s a separate argument for another day), but it’s not actually a bad way to go about putting your LinkedIn together. People need to be enticed straight away that you’re the right person for the job, and for that to be verified the more they read. Secondly, think about all the quality people you’ve worked with over the years that you (hope, at least) to have made a good impression on. Ask them for a Recommendation on your profile. Sounds a bit crass, but if one of your old mates now works for a Google or a Facebook, it’ll probably look pretty good if they’re saying they’d work with you again in the future. Lastly – make sure your CV is on there, or a link to it. It seems obvious, but very easy to forget – you need to make sure whoever’s about to hit you up for a role has an easy chance to double-check you’re a great fit before getting in touch.
GitHub, Twitter, Medium & the rest
Now your LinkedIn’s in order, don’t forget to top that up with GitHub, Twitter, Medium, or anything of that ilk. If you have any side projects or previous work that you’ve not had time to stick on your GitHub, well, now’s your time. Make sure you open a new Repo and stick your CV on there too; most people will come across your GitHub from somewhere else first i.e. LinkedIn, Medium or Twitter, but make sure your CV is pinned on the front and make your bio say that you’re looking for a new role at ‘X level, using Y technologies, in location Z’. Stick your email on there as well to make it easier for people to contact you. If a Hiring Manager or recruiter – internal or agency – is checking your GitHub before they’ve emailed/messaged you, chances are they’re half-decent at least.
Don’t leave it there either – as mentioned, Medium and Twitter are great communities too; Medium is a great place to post something more long-form and formal about your situation than your CV, and help give you a voice and personality behind your search. Adding a human element is only a plus to me. Twitter is the same for me too, and I quite regularly see the tech community looking out for one-another when someone needs help finding a job – people will regularly give you an update if they’re hiring, tag someone else who is, or Retweet to help you gain reach. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for Retweets to spread awareness as well – people will be more than willing to help. Stick a shout-out on LinkedIn too, while you’re at it.
Step 2 – Active Outreach
Now that’s all ticking in the background, hopefully you’ve picked up a couple leads as well, let’s look at your active outreach. Let’s address that big elephant in the room first: there aren’t nearly as many jobs at the moment as there usually are. Don’t fear, there’s a couple of ways we can deal with this. First, there are job boards that have been put together to specifically help with this scenario. Check out Otta and StillHiring.io, who’ve been diligently plugging away to help everyone out in this trying time. Shout out to the Otta team, and Hamza Khchichine, who put together StillHiring.
Secondly, think of anyone you’ve worked with in the past who might be able to refer you into their company, whether they’re a recruiter, individual contributor or hiring manager. Do the rounds and see who could help you there; although lots of companies have slowed down or halted recruitment, the client is much more likely to speak to you if you’ve got a direct referral from a friend. After this, then I’d say go and hit the job boards: Reed, LinkedIn, Indeed, wherever. These are, annoyingly, a bit lower percentage in their effectiveness, so make sure to hit them in volume – but also, don’t just spam them. Make sure it’s a good role and good fit.
Where do Recruiters fit into all of this?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘he’s gone this far and he’s barely mentioned how recruitment agencies are involved in all of this!’. The honest truth is it’s because they’re not nearly involved as they normally are, or try to be, at least. Lots of recruitment agencies are suffering in the current climate – a lack of jobs in general leads to a lack of jobs being passed out to agencies – and lots of recruiters are currently under furlough. Nothing to be ashamed about, by any means, and we’re pretty much all in the same boat here.
However, agency recruiters in general can be quite useful, even at this time. Not all of them, as is always the case, but don’t hesitate in going back and reaching out to a recruiter you had a good chat with/trust/has put you forward for good roles before and see if they can offer any advice. If you don’t know any, ask some of your pals if they know anyone they can recommend. Any recruiter worth their salt will be able to point you in the direction of some hiring managers, internals, have a look over your CV and help you with any interview prep. Sure, they won’t get paid for this, but I think we all need to look out for each other these days.
To wrap this up…
Lastly, to reiterate a previous point, you’ll need to hit the volume during your job search. Start tracking companies you’ve approached, how and who you’ve approached, and what roles they’re specifically hiring for. Once you know your own numbers, you can start looking at how many applications needed to reach a phone call, then how many phone calls you need for a tech test, and so on. Hit that volume and you’ll see good things – but be disciplined. You won’t wake up every day motivated, refreshed and ready to go – this is all about discipline and making sure you’re doing enough of the right things everyday to get where you need to be. Don’t be afraid to ask for real, genuine feedback as you go as well – your CV, social media and interview technique need to be malleable and improve throughout a process too..
Happy to help
We’re available to chat through any of these topics in more detail if you fancy it. Happy to read CVs, talk through interviews, help you find a job and the like, as well as share what we know on the market.
Take it easy, folks.