My ultimate job search guide
The job search process or hunt was easily one of the most brutal phases of my life. One thing is for sure during the process — rejections will happen and as much as you are aware of this fact, nothing can prep you for the emotions you will feel when it starts happening.
I remember all the whirlwinds of emotions I felt every time I job searched, and man, it was not sexy. What got me through that period was having a plan I executed regardless of the situation. This article is me pouring out how I went about job searching, and I hope it helps you get into that company you want!
1. Handle your business: During the job search process, there are so many things out of your control, so I am a huge advocate of controlling the things you can, and this starts with things like your resume, LinkedIn profile, interview prep, and more. Here are the things you want to handle and how:
i. Your resume — I wrote an article about this subject. View here
ii. Your LinkedIn profile — This is the ultimate platform to job search, connect with people, do company research and more. However, before you can use LinkedIn to your advantage, you need a stellar profile! For your reference, check out these examples from Wonsulting to get started: Profile 1 and Profile 2
iii. Soul searching — “Soul searching” well, that sounds dramatic, but honestly, this should probably have been point 1. What I mean here is discover who you are, what your story is (this will be super crucial in helping you crush interviews) and figuring out what you like (roles and companies). You want to know what roles you are qualified for and interested in, as well as companies where you see yourself working. Take your time here and be honest with yourself.
iv. Interview prep — I heard something at a webinar that changed my mindset around job searching. It went something like this “You strive and work so hard for an opportunity, but if I gave you that interview right here and right now, how confident are you that you will capitalize on that opportunity?” This inspired me to adopt the stay ready mentality — meaning start interview prepping before you get the opportunity to interview. It does not have to be anything crazy, but 1–2 hours on Saturdays will go a long way (Quote me :))
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2. Create your company list: After working on the things I could control like my resume, LinkedIn, interviewing skills, and the necessary introspection, it was game time. My second piece of advice is to create a list of companies you are interested in and feel free to use any platform that works for you (I wrote mine in the notes app of my laptop). I always tell people to write at least 50 companies (I had about 75+) and the reason is I truly believe with every fiber of being in me that job searching is a numbers game. As much as you can prep, there are just so many things out of your control, so having options is always a massive advantage. Luck also plays a factor in this process, so you might need just 5–10 companies before you get that offer, or you might need 75 — As I said, having the numbers on your side is an advantage.
3. Matching each company with a role: For some people, say someone looking for software engineering roles, this point doesn’t apply to you because most companies have a software engineering opening. But for someone interested in product management(PM), not every company has that role. If you are flexible and looking for roles with a similar job description, you might have to research a company to see the closest thing to a PM role. So, do the work to match each company on your list with a role you want.
4. Applying vs. Reaching out: Let me paint a picture here for you, big Tech companies receive millions of applications per year. So, when you apply, you are most likely going against thousands of applicants for that position (this almost feels like playing a lottery).
Now, do not get me wrong, people with great resumes have gotten a call back by just applying (myself included), but if you can go the extra step to give yourself a better chance, then why not? The extra steps here are:
i. Getting a referral — This does not guarantee you an interview. What it does is give you a better chance to get your resume reviewed by a recruiter. “referrals make up 80% of hires” See this great post by Austin Belcak for more information on referrals. Post
ii. Build relationships with recruiters — This is one area your stellar LinkedIn profile will come in handy. Connect with recruiters from companies you are interested in to help you on this journey. Please don’t message a recruiter out of the blue saying, “I want a job”. I always advise people to start job searching before recruiting period starts. Nothing beats having time to do things properly. Relationship building takes time, so you want to give yourself the time to put in the work. Please always connect with these recruiters using a personalized message as well. There are so many free templates to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn.
5. The grind: Do not stop applying, reaching out, or interviewing because you got a response! Until that offer is signed, you don’t have anything!
- Attend Conferences: Sign up for conferences! (There are many scholarships, so don’t worry too much about payments). It is my opinion that conference interviews are relatively easier. See a past article on how to crush conferences here
- Join mailing lists of companies you want: Yes, they suck, but it never hurts to get your stellar resume in the system (someone might reach out)
- Company events: There are multiple events companies host that ask for your resumes during registration. This strategy is a great way to get in the system even if you don’t go to the event.
- Platforms to help your job search: Jopwell, Jumpstart, Handshake, Indeed, LinkedIn, use it all!
- START EARLY! START NOW! (Know your deadlines): Knowing your deadlines are crucial. For example, the FACEBOOK rotational product manager role was open only for about 2 weeks or less. A candidate that was not on their game might have missed that window and an opportunity they wanted. So, know your deadlines.
- Find support: There are so many people job searching, and each person has a tip or trick that might help another person. During your job search process find a support system, find mock interview buddies, find mentorship. Find support because we all need it.
Thank you for reading up to this point! And I hope you get into that dream company of yours.
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