As an Information Technology Recruiter, I get this question from software developers all the time. There are a few different routes you can take to land your job as a developer. Maybe you're going to school for coding, done a coding bootcamp, or have already graduated and you're ready to land the job. These are a few tips that will help.
This is the best way to get your foot in the door at any company. You can do this through different channels like LinkedIn, job boards, meetups, and hiring events.
- LinkedIn: If you don't have a LinkedIn account already, now is the time to make one! This platform is a social networking site created specifically for the business community. Reach out to Recruiters/Talent Acquisition Partners at the companies you are interested in. Search the Jobs page for positions you find interesting. Search other people with the job title "Software Developer" and see where they started and what their career path looks like. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with the right people. Build your network here!
- Job Boards: Utilize job boards like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, or job postings on company websites. Make sure your resume is up to date and include any links to examples of your code (more on this later). Tailor your resume to the job listing by finding keywords that are the same as what they're looking for. (i.e. If they're looking for a "full-stack developer", include the words "full-stack" on your resume, instead of only putting front end and back end languages.)
- Meetups: In many cities, there are events where developers can come together to learn about a new version of a language, hear talks from other coders, and mingle with like-minded people in the community. www.meetup.com is where you can search to see if there are any events near you!
- Hiring Events: Many colleges and companies host hiring events for anyone interested in a job is free to come and learn more about it. For this, be sure to have multiple copies of your resume and be professionally dressed. Be ready to give your "elevator pitch" (a quick and concise pitch about your coding background and interests).
This is one of the main things our clients ask for when hiring for a dev position. They want to see how you approach problems, how you structure your code, the projects you've worked on, etc. Two ways to do this is through Github and also creating your own website.
- Github: Github is a platform where you can store your code and also interact with the development community. Put your personal projects here and contribute to other projects. Be sure to include the link to your own Github on both your resume as well as on your LinkedIn profile! Since it will be viewed by hiring managers, make sure you have clean code and plenty of recent activity on it. Keep it up to date.
- Website: Creating your own website is another option! I've seen many developers with their own sites. It's a way to be more personal and let hiring managers know who you are. This is a more time consuming option, but it could be a fun project and pay off in the end!
- Another piece of advice I would give is to stay up to date with the latest and greatest programming languages. All the companies will be moving towards these eventually!
- Find an internship where you can get a taste of the real world and learn from more experience developers.
- Keep having fun with your personal coding projects, and never stop learning.
Best of luck, and happy coding!
Buckley recommends the following next steps:
I agree with everything Buckley mentioned! Getting referred to a company increases your chances of hearing back from a company vs cold-applying.
Create your dream job: I started out by coming up with a few top things I wanted in my new job. What was important to me? New challenges, mentorship, front-end vs backend or mobile development? Large company, mid-sized company, startup? What salary would be a reach goal (salary negotiation is another topic in itself)? What would be deal-breakers? I didn't know all the answers, but I was able to prioritize a few items/values that were important for me and it made it easier to target what companies I wanted. Also, during the process of interviewing, if anything changed, I would update this list. It helped me stay focused. For example, my first job offer was exciting, but after looking at my checklist of what I wanted, I realized it wasn't anywhere near to my goal. It was working in an area I wasn't interested in, so I turned it down. Just a month later, I got my dream job!
Networking: I did a lot of networking in my last job hunt because I had no network (my family didn't have experience in this either). Depending on the area you're in, attending meet-ups was the most effective way for me to get face-to-face time with other people in the industry. Company culture was an important factor for me during my job hunt. Whenever meet-ups were hosted at offices, I was able to get a better idea of the atmosphere there. Another option is reading up about the company on their website, but face-to-face was a preference for me. If I connected with someone at the meetups I attended, I would follow up and ask if they would be available to grab coffee. I would use that time to ask more questions about their experience working at the company. It also allowed me to get more 1:1 time to ask for career or job hunting advice! Some questions I liked asking include:
- If I were applying to your team, what would be your ideal candidate?
- I'm interested in topic x, y, z, etc -> would Team A be a good fit to apply for?
- Follow up: Is there someone on that team you can connect me to to get more information?
Make a list and track your progress: During the whole process of job-hunting, I compiled a list of companies I was interested. In that list I would figure out if I had any connections through my network or friends (most of the time I didn't, so I googled to see if there was a meet-up or someone on LinkedIn I could reach out to) . Tracking your progress during the interview process helped me keep track of the following:
- What companies I had applied to (which of them where referrals)
- Which companies I still needed to apply to
- What stage I was at in the process (phone interview? technical interview? onsite?)
This help me have some clarity -> and also helped in the negotiation progress. Once you have an onsite with one company, you can leverage that and speed up the other companies if you're in the earlier stages.
Hope this helps!