In the last six or so months, I have been looking for a job as a junior iOS developer. Up until February of this year, I had been a practicing chemical engineer, and I was coming into the software engineering world with almost no experience and limited to no knowledge of Swift or Objective-C.
I’m sure many of you reading this have either been in the same situation before or are currently in the middle of your own search. I’d like to share my experience with the different ways that I looked for a job, and how successful each method was. Here are the final results, in graph form, of my applications to over 80 companies:
I broke down the method of application into the following seven categories:
- Online: The bulk of the jobs that I applied to, usually through the company websites where they had job openings, or through job boards.
- Through Friend: I had a number of contacts that were working at companies which hired iOS developers (Spotify, ZocDoc, etc.). This included contacts who were developers themselves, as well as those in different areas.
- LinkedIn Message: This involved searching LinkedIn for companies that were hiring iOS developers, and looking for people who could be part of the hiring process or who could get me in the door — and then “cold calling”
- AngelList: Similar to online, but a separate category because it yielded interesting results.
- From Meetup Connection: Jobs I was able to apply for through a connection I had made by being active in my local development community (NYC).
- Recruiter: Recruiters who had either messaged me on LinkedIn or who I had reached out to. Some were those that were passed on to me by friends in the iOS development community.
- Twitter: Searching keywords like “iOS” and “hiring” and sending messages to users. I thought it could be more direct than LinkedIn, since Twitter is a big communication forum for many influential developers.
The results were also broken down into several categories, which are relatively self explanatory. They are:
- No Response: Never heard back from them, at all.
- Rejected: Did not get any interviews, but was told that I was rejected from consideration. This includes jobs that I applied to, but was not qualified for based on the job description and/or requirements.
- Not Hiring: Did not get any interviews, but was told that the company was not currently hiring junior developers.
- Job Offer: Self Explanatory
- Phone Interview, Rejected: Received a minimum of one phone interview, after which I was rejected from consideration.
- In-Person Interview, Rejected: Received a minimum of one in-person interview, after which I was rejected from consideration.
- Phone Interview: Received a minimum of one phone interview, status still up in the air.
A couple of trends can be noted from the visualization above.
The first is that the bulk of my job search ended in failure. In the majority (almost 50%) of applications I submitted, I never got a response. In another 30% of applications or so, I either was rejected or the company was not hiring at the time.
Secondly, the large majority of my job applications were through online methods. That makes sense, since it is easy to look up jobs online and apply to them directly. At the same time, the success of online applications is directly tied to quantity. Out of all the applications that were directly online, I was rejected from only one, and accepted at only one. Obviously the acceptance is a great outcome, but the rest — I just never heard back. Sending LinkedIn messages led to exactly the same outcome as applying online. Not having a strong tie (such as a mutual connection or friend) to people I was messaging on LinkedIn meant that it was just as good as applying online.
The third online method I used was Twitter — which had the added benefit that I could see instantly which new jobs were available and which person to contact (direct message on Twitter). I would have like to explore this option further, as it did at least lead to a phone interview out of a small number of attempts.
I separated out AngelList applications because I also had a good experience there — out of a small number of attempts, I heard back from most and got a job offer. There are lots of job boards out there, but it seems as if AngelList works well for startups, and equally well for jobseekers.
Finally, there was the method of utilizing my personal connections or friends. Early on, I had good faith in this method since it got me directly into contact with hiring managers and/or decision makers. This method was great for getting responses — I didn’t hear back from only one of the companies I applied for in this manner. However, there were also a large amount of rejections and “not hiring” responses.
The job offers I did receive were all from various sources.
Moral of the story? Be diverse in your job application methods. Take some time to look at companies online and apply whether or not they have a job opening listed. Meet people — your existing contacts in the industry are good to get in the door, but most of the time the companies they work for just do not need a junior dev. Chances are, the people you meet are either already looking (why else would they be out in public?) or know someone who is looking. But most of all, don’t be discouraged!