I know what you’re dealing with right now. You just got done with a bootcamp or college and now you are looking for a job. You always hear about how in the past it was so easy to get a job and how much more difficult it is these days to do the same. That’s because people don’t know how to work the system. We are millenials, and if you’re not then you are an honorary millennial until the end of this article. We run social media. We run tech. This is ours, so let’s act like it.
I am going to teach you how to leverage your time and resources to get the greatest rate of return. Let’s talk job boards. There are so many of them out there, and believe me, I have used all of them. So I am going to tell you why Angel List is the best one around and how I used it to not only land the job I am at currently but to increase the amount of activity I had with potential employers, ten-fold.
Maybe you thought it would be Indeed or Monster, but no — Angel.co. You can think of it as a Tinder for startup companies and devs looking for work, it’s that simple. The site itself is clean and elegant looking. As with any job board though, it’s more about how you use it that counts. Starting with your profile, you are going to want to fill out as much information as possible. Be specific, be detailed, be purposeful and companies will respond positively to you — I guarantee it!
Here’s a few screenshots of my own personal profile on the site:
It is essentially your CV but with some extra information. The idea here is to look as appealing as possible. This is only going to maintain the interest of companies you match with, it won’t make that initial connection possible. To do that, go to the jobs section and start searching for any jobs that require technologies you are familiar with. If you are a Ruby guy, search for Ruby. If you are a React guy, search React — you get the idea.
When you find a company you like, click
Yes, I'm Interested and then write a short (1-3 paragraphs) blurb to them. This is essentially taking the place of the cover letter. Now, most tech companies do not like getting Cover Letters, and I wouldn’t recommend sending one unless specifically asked for but this is a little bit different.
The culture of this platform is one that is very laid backw. You will have the flexibility to be a little funny and dressed down, so to speak, with these companies. Some of my notes to companies would include jokes, jabs and funny stories. They usually ended with a very laid back closer –
If you think we would mesh well then reach out and we can chat!. No worries, no stress — keep it simple.
Some things you want to include in your notes to companies, however brief, will include things like what you find interesting about either the job or the work (could be just one or both) and then why they should be interested in getting to know you. Here’s the kicker — pretend like you’re trying to pick up a girl. You’re not being dishonest (hope so anyway) but you’re making sure to put your best foot forward and present the best image of yourself so that they will remain interested. Do this and you will succeed, period.
Now, we wait. You will receive an email from them if the company decided to match with you. This means that they want to know more, you have successfully set the hook and now it is time to reel them in. Show confidence, show resolve, show leadership — they will pick up on this more than anything else.
Play Your Strengths
Before becoming a programmer, I was a very committed musician and recording artist. I later dabbled in Filmmaking as well. Initially, I did not include this on my CV and barely go any hits but as soon as I started playing my strengths I literally had to reschedule interviews a week out because of how many I was getting — things were on my terms.
Maybe you use to be in the Boy Scouts, this is something that shows leadership. Try and find some other aspect of your life, professional or otherwise that also exhibits these traits and shows a track record of leadership.
Maybe instead of attending a University, you chose to get into coding by self-teaching. Play this up! It shows initiative and excitement for your craft and it is by far the most admirable quality that Hiring Managers and companies look for. I have been complimented so frequently for this and at times it was the main factor that took me further along in the interviewing process. Do not underestimate the value of being a go-getter, a self-starter or someone who makes things happen!
Whatever your skills, interests or history, I can guarantee that there is a way for you to use it to your advantage. It’s just about how you frame it, word it and apply it.
If you asked a question about something where your skills are lacking, it could be API construction or Big-O, just be honest — nobody expects you to know everything. They do, however, want you to be eager to learn. This means, being upfront and honest that you do not know but then immediately follow that up with a question and ask about it. Show that you are interested in two things:
- Getting better
Shut up. I don’t want to hear it. Sure, you are a Jr. Dev. Sure, you don’t have too much experience. Who cares? None of that crap even matters. People believe what they want to believe. 90% of the time, people will believe what makes them feel best. What can sound better than an enthusiastic Junior Dev looking to prove themselves in a new environment, willing to do anything to succeed? Nothing sounds better than that.
If you are feeling like you are not qualified for the jobs you’re applying to then just remember this: A hard working, but still learning dev will always beat out a knowledgable but lazy dev. This will always be the case because grit, determination and endurance breed success and all of those things are COMPLETELY within your control.
When you are feeling a little timid and outgunned, that’s when you need to project the greatest amount of self-belief and confidence. Don’t beg for an interview, don’t even wait for them to offer you an interview – Go ahead and schedule your own interview for them. I have actually done this on a number of occasions. Use something like, I have an opening next Wed at 1pm, let’s sit down and discuss how we can help each other out!. It may feel pushy at first but being assertive, while not guaranteed to always work, will increase your chances exponentially.
Congrats! You landed an interview, now go get that job. There is no guarantee that you will even like them or that they will like you. Because of this, it is important to keep all of your options open. Continue responding to matches and emails. Continue scheduling interviews and continue applying elsewhere. The week that I finally accepted my current job offer, I had 5 interviews lined up with 3 offers on the table. I ended up accepting at the last minute that Friday.
Keep pushing. Keep fighting and keep keepin’ on. You’re a developer now, so act like it.