Outsource your job search

My people clicked through job boards as I networked and learned to program

There are only 24 hours in a day.

When my startup ran out of money, I started looking for the next thing. I’m a math and econ nerd, and a former consultant who can crunch spreadsheets. I wanted to become a data scientist.

Step 1: teach myself programming

Step 2: get a job as a programmer

But job search is a timesuck. If I spent all my time on Step 2, I couldn’t do Step 1. Learn Python. Build a portfolio. Take classes on Coursera.

Or I could abandon my social life and relationship and retreat into a cave. That would suck.

So I outsourced the time-intensive, mind-numbing part of Step 2 — online job apps.

Pay people in India

A couple years ago, I read about Indian outsourcing shop JobSerf. Their people will apply for jobs for you online for $5/hr, about $1 per app.

The website….well, it wouldn’t be out of place viewed in a 1998 Netscape browser.

But the business model is solid. Just input keywords and industries, and people in India will take care of the grunt work and send you reports.

It took a few hours to set up. I got 6 or 7 phone screens. Three in-person interviews. And one job offer, which I accepted.

The upside: Jobserf reduced my time without a job, saved my new employer a recruiter’s fee, and raised my salary — in total, it put about $20,000 in my pocket. From a $500 expense.

Talk about ROI.

Use recruiters

I found that approaching a recruiter, though more traditional, is still a useful way to outsource the job hunt.

An hour spent selling yourself to a high-quality recruiter saves ten to twenty hours selling potential employers — probably more.

I got in touch with JobSpring Partners, a high-quality tech recruiting firm. It took me three hours to meet the six people on their team. Their leads resulted in six or seven phone screens, plus two onsite interviews. I almost got a job offer, but the firm decided not to hire for the position.

An hour spent selling yourself to a low-quality recruiter saves two or three hours practicing your pitch to friends or a camera.

I changed my LinkedIn to say “Data Scientist”. Seven or eight random recruiters called.

Nothing came of it directly. But practicing your pitch when it doesn’t matter, prepares you for when it does.

Buying time to learn

Because I outsourced, I could spend time on skill development, rather than writing personal statements and clicking buttons.

While my people surfed Indeed and Jobvite, I created a funding map of Silicon Valley for my portfolio.

While recruiters pitched my skillset, I practiced list comprehension and coded in flask and Django.

And while they generated leads, I built relationships, and, eventually, closed an offer.

Econ nerd turned programmer. Currently software engineer at Plangrid. Contact me at calcsam _at_ gmail.com

Econ nerd turned programmer. Currently software engineer at Plangrid. Contact me at calcsam _at_ gmail.com