DO Follow-up After Applying to a Job 

After applying for a role that you’re excited about, follow-up with the person that posted the job. Most postings will show the name of the person who posted it. Look them up on LinkedIn and InMail them or find their work email to send a follow-up note. The message should be short and to the point, confirming they have received your resume and hopefully reviewed it. This small gesture ensures your resume was at least reviewed in consideration for the role and most people appreciate the professional follow-up.   

DON’T Limit Your Search to just job postings  

Many often get caught up just searching for job postings on LinkedIn and Indeed, and end up getting discouraged about the lack of postings that fit their requirements. An alternative approach is to create a list of ten companies where you would love to work. They often have roles open that are not posted. Check your LinkedIn connections for former co-workers or friends that currently work there to try to get referred to HR for a conversation. You can also follow the company page on LinkedIn, so you can get updates on new jobs, company insights and the ability to follow company leaders. Engage with hiring managers by commenting on their posts or sharing content to catch their attention. 

DO Leverage Hidden Resources 

Look beyond the major job boards. There are several niche technology focused job boards that have somewhat hidden job postings. These include Built In, Wellfound (formerly AngelList), Hired, CrunchBoard, StackOverflow, and Blind. Also, companies use social media platforms like Facebook, X/Twitter, and Instagram to showcase their culture, values, and recent developments. Participate in these conversations, threads, and chats that can provide insights and opportunities. 

DON’T Just Consider Full-Time Jobs 

Expand your options by considering contract job opportunities, which can more than double the amount of job postings to apply for. Most contract positions offer a foot in the door with great companies and they can frequently lead to a full-time role. It’s a good idea to partner with a couple of staffing firms that can help present contract job opportunities, where you’ll most likely have a better chance landing an interview versus applying directly. There are several reasons why some think contracting is better than full-time and the case can be made that contract roles end up paying more money. Additionally, freelance positions are a great option via websites like Upwork, Toptal, FlexJobs, or Freelancer.  

DO Network Creatively 

Think outside traditional networking. Sometimes, unexpected venues and methods lead to the most beneficial connections. Local events often offer an authenticity that’s hard to replicate online. Conferences, virtual events, webinars, and industry events are also a great place to start conversations. Don’t forget about your alma mater’s alumni association, as they frequently will have a community of professionals from various fields and some in hiring positions. Many associations host events, workshops, and reunions that provide networking opportunities. Additionally, some schools have dedicated job portals exclusively for alumni.  

DON’T Always Apply Through a Job Board 

While job boards are useful, applying directly through a company’s career page can be more effective.  This ensures your resume will be parsed directly into the company’s applicant tracking systems and it also sets up a scenario where you can directly follow-up with the company. Reaching out to the hiring manager or HR reps at companies you’re interested in working for can be a great way to tap into the hidden job market and make contacts. Taking the initiative to cold pitch, when done thoughtfully, shows that you’re a proactive and engaged job seeker, which are qualities that companies highly value. Cold messaging, whether via email, LinkedIn message, or a phone call, is a direct channel to express your interest and uncover roles not on the public radar. It’s not about spamming a generic message to dozens of people. It’s about researching, tailoring your message, and showing genuine interest in the company or role. 

DO Keep a Positive Mindset  

Job hunting is a marathon, not a sprint, so keep faith that your efforts will pay off. Staying upbeat when you’ve spent weeks or months hunting for a job is important. How long it takes to find a job depends on many factors, including the job market, your experience and often pure luck. Developing psychological grit will help you navigate the ups and downs of the job hunting process. Remember, it’s essential to take breaks and not lose sight of your long-term breaks.  

By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll not only refine your job application strategy but also stand out in a competitive job market. Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to showcase your professionalism and enthusiasm. Stay persistent, be creative in your approach, and keep a positive mindset throughout your job search. 

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Written: February 2024