Jr Geek: so you want a job?

TL;DR;

Finding your first gig as a geek can be challenging. Below is a process that works well.

There’s a shortage of IT workers in the world. Companies don’t seem to be able to find enough people to hire, and unemployment in the sector is very low.

You would think that with such a hunger for talent, it would be easy for anybody to get a job in the field. Unfortunately, that is not true: it can be very difficult and frustrating for people to get hired into the field unless they have some experience.

How to land a Job

There is no magic.

If you want to land a job you have to do what it takes. You can totally do it, by putting in the effort.

Some key points we will talk about:

  • Your job while you don’t have a job
  • The process

Your job while you don’t have a job

Simply put, if you don’t have a job, your job should be to find a job.

From now on you’ll spend at least four hours every day looking for a job, applying to job, networking, learning – doing whatever it takes to find a job.

For how long? For however long it takes.

Prepare

Before you start looking for a job, write down what job(s) you are looking for and why. Be super clear about what would be appeal to you. Be specific: what culture? What type of company? What technology?

You may end up with multiple job “profiles” that are suitable for you. Each of those will be a target in your research process.

The Process

We are going to tackle the process from different angles, looking at both the quantity and the quality of what you’ll be doing.

Quantity: 100-10-3-1

It’s called the “100-10-3-1” process.

It works like this:

  • You work at it 4 hours a day, mostly applying for jobs
  • for every 100 jobs you apply to
  • you can expect to hear back from 10 of them
  • and you might actually interview with 3 of them
  • which will lead you to potentially getting one offer

Notice that results may vary, and that you should not stop to 100 applications. As a matter of fact, you should strive to apply to hundreds of jobs. The key is to keep going until you get an offer.

Quality

It’s true, you should spend 4 hours or more a day looking for a job, but that does not mean that you are just mindlessly sending resume to as many people as possible.

On the contrary, as time passes, the quality of your submits should improve. The same should be said for the quality of, well, you.

Here’s a list of things that you should consider including in your 4 hours:

  • Preparing different resumes and/or cover letters to match the different jobs you are applying to. Do not always send the same copies to everybody. Use your judgement on when it’s worth word smithing the documents to tailor them to the opportunity at hand.
  • As you browse job ads, you will start noticing that some things are requested by a lot of people. Maybe a hot new technology, or maybe a certification. Is there an opportunity for you to learn those things? Use your time to read a book, watch a webinar, take a class on the topic.
  • Build something! There’s no better resume than an actual “something” that you have created. If this is your first job, how can employers evaluate your work? For example, you could contribute to an open source project, create a working sample for personal use, tinker with some technology just to learn it. Other people have blogs, vlogs or other medias where they share knowledge and help the community. Whatever you do, make sure you showcase it in your resume or cover letter.
  • Join a local meetup on a topic that interest you and attend their meeting.

If you spend for hours a day doing a mix of the above, you’ll become a better professional. You’ll deepen your knowledge of the technologies you want to work with, and you’ll start networking with people that are already in the field. All of it will increase your chances to land a job.

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