Talking tech since 2003

The job market these days is tough with high unemployment and lots of people graduating from college, you’re bound to face fierce competition. So how do you land the job you want?

Obviously the first place many people look for jobs are job boards such as the ones on TechCrunch and Venturebeat. An additional place to check would be job sites such as Dice.com, which is dedicated to tech-specific jobs. Of course, I always also recommend checking the official company website if you have a specific place you want to work in mind.

If you have an excellent resume and good experience, you may find a job using these sites, but it’s not always that easy, especially if you’re just coming out of school. So below I’ve provided more tips and advice on landing a job that you actually want in an industry you actually want to work in.

Social Media

Utilize social media to talk to key industry players. Do you have any idea how easy Twitter makes it to talk to people in the industry you want to work in? Super easy. There’s no good reason to not at least try to reach out to people within the industry you’re looking to get a job in.

A lot of people will reply, and if they don’t — its not personal (usually). You can try to converse with them again on another topic or look for someone else to talk to. Just don’t badger them about the same topic over and over, and more importantly, don’t flat out ask if they have any jobs available, because that shows you didn’t do your research. Almost every company that is hiring will have a list of jobs available on its website or on some job site.

Research

Speaking of research, make sure you do your research on every company you apply to or are thinking of applying to. Here are some key things you should always know or lookup: know who the CEO is, know what the company does, know some of the company’s key competitors, look into some recent news about the company. You can use recent news about the company as a launch point for conversation in an interview, just make sure you formulate a well-thought opinion or question — trust me, that will go over very well with the interviewer.

Networking Events

Attend networking events such as conferences and meet-ups within industry you’re interested in, but more importantly, make sure you talk to a lot of people when you’re at the event. Additionally, be sure to hand out your business card and get the card of the person you’re speaking to as well.

Great, now you’ve networked successfully and obtained a bunch of potentially useful business cards — time to stick them in a drawer and forget about them, right? Wrong. You take those cards and email the people you spoke to, mentioning how you really enjoyed talking to them about (insert what you talked about here) and that you look forward to keeping in touch. If you had a good conversation, chances are you’ll receive a reply from them, in which they say they enjoyed speaking with you as well and that they too look forward to keeping in touch.

Once you’ve made that connection, you can “take advantage” of it. How do you do that? Well, keep an eye on the company’s site for any job openings that may fit your skill set or background, if one pops up, you can use your contact as potential in. An email to your contact mentioning you saw the opening and that after talking to them you thought that what their company is working on sounds very interesting, and that you were wondering if they could help ensure that your resume makes it to the right person. Be sure to attach your resume and cover letter to that email for consideration.

Build Something

If you can code or have another skill set which you can take advantage of — do it. Build something or do freelance work. This will really help you build your resume and shows that you are a self-starter and know how to take an initiative — two things many employers these days specifically look for. Who knows, it may even turn into something and you could end up working for yourself!

While the advice provided above is very good and will be helpful to you — don’t stop there. You should always be looking for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition (other job seekers), because there are a lot of people out there looking for jobs. Treat your job search like business, you need to differentiate and be better than the competition to survive (to get hired).

Do you have any other tips for people looking for a job?


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