Author Topic: advice applying for a job in tech -- feels like I'm shouting into a black hole  (Read 2208 times)

forestj

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Hi all,

So, I got fired from my last job as a consultant after I informed them that I wanted to take a potential offer that I had received which would have been 30% more pay after taxes. 

Well, that offer fell through, so now I am just looking for something, anything, really.

This whole experience has taught me that I really care more about the culture and the experience I have at work than about the paycheck. I thought I cared mostly about the paycheck, but I'm not sure that's true any more.

I've seen a lot of good looking job postings online -- on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. I've filled out about 15 applications so far, each with a few things changed in my cover letter to match what the job posting described, and sometimes with an altered resume as well. 

One company informed me they chose someone else, I got pre-interview screening calls from two others that seemed to go well, and they said they would let me know "next week". Well, it's next week now, and still nothing.

Based on my previous experience, if a company will give me an interview, I can probably get in. So I am just looking for a way to get my foot in the door with a good company (For example, I refuse to work for the defense industry, would prefer not to work with healthcare/finance industry or any other scammy industry, and I would prefer a place where I don't have to dress up).

For context (thanks humbleMouse) I live in Minneapolis and I don't want to relocate.

I'm wondering if my resume and cover letter are somehow leaving a bad smell with the recruiters who are seeing them. In the resume, I tried to highlight my specific technical skills first, then give detail about my 2 years post college work experience, and finally include my summer jobs in college which were game design, game industry internships, and google summer of code.

In my cover letter I tried to highlight that I am a self starter and fast learner who has worked for a diverse range of large and small companies / projects and I have a passion for technology both inside and outside of the workplace. Finally, I tried to speak to the ways that my qualifications meet the specific requirements of the job posting.

I thought that since I now have 2 years of experience in the enterprise software space post college (and several years of programming experience in and before college as well) I would be able to find a job. But I'm beginning to worry.  I have enough saved up for at least a years expenses in the bank, but I want to be making money again ASAP.

I'm wondering if any other software developers with more experience applying for jobs have some insight or pointers for me -- if there are ways I can accelerate my job search, ways I can increase my chances of getting called back, personal experience anecdotes, etc.

Also, on the off-chance you are interested in taking a look at my resume and cover letter I would appreciate it -- let me know and I'll send you a PM.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 01:28:01 PM by forestj »

humbleMouse

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What geographic region are you applying for jobs in?  Have you tried working with recruiters?  With 2 years experience and college degree in this market - finding a tech job should be a piece of cake. 

"Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform - don't kid yourself." - Frank Zappa.

forestj

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I'm in Minneapolis, you too, right? I have started talking with recruiters as well -- not actively searching them out, but I've talked with some. One guy has me slated for an interview with a company that makes software backends for multi-level marketers. Doesn't sound like the greatest gig, but I'd consider it depending on the culture. Do you recommend going out of my way to search for recruiters? Any specific ones you have worked with?

maco

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If they operate in your area, try Hired.com . I got a job within 3 weeks when I signed up there. The idea is you say what you're looking for in an employer, and then they come to you.

Also:  Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor? So...you're just cold-calling, sending your resume into the void? Go through your LinkedIn contacts and see where your friends work. Apply to those places with "and I know Jeremy from our days in college together" or "and I know Josh from the Ruby meetup" (or send your resume directly to those friends to pass along). Networking, dude! If you don't know people from meetups...why don't you? Hie thee hence.

norabird

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Patience is a virtue in the job search. You may need to send out far more than 15 applications, unfortunately! No need to panic, just pursue everything, reach out to contacts, and stay optimistic.

iamlindoro

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Agreed that 15 applications is a drop in the bucket.  You should make it your goal to send out 10+ applications per *day* until you find something.  Network relentlessly.  Does everyone on all your social networks know that you are looking, and to please keep you in mind if something is available at their company?

In a large metro area like Minneapolis, you are going to be competing against a lot of people with far more than two years of experience.  Further, your priorities may change as you see your savings dwindle away.  It sounds a little like you might only be applying to the jobs that you see as an ideal fit.  I think this is a mistake at your level of experience.

For context, I'm a software developer with over 15 years of experience in the SF Bay Area.  Easy place to get a job, right?  Well, during a period of joblessness a few years back, coming off a long period in a director-level position, it took me almost six months of relentless applying (30+ per week at times) to get two offers.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 02:15:27 PM by iamlindoro »
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AZDude

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A few things here.

First, you talk about wanting "anything" and that you want to be making money again right away, but then you lay out some ridiculous demands about your new job(must not be in healthcare, defense, finance, etc... and must have casual dress code). It sounds like you do not have anyone else you are providing for, and a decent 'stache in the bank.

So look for some short-term contracts, maybe even freelance work while you target your job search for a job you want long term. Sounds like you would like something more in the start-up arena rather than corporate, which is fine. I've been at both, and you essentially trade time for a better working environment(start-ups and smaller companies demand more, but its generally more fun).

You are getting call-backs, so clearly you are employable. Make finding a job a full-time job and it shouldn't take long. If you get desperate, look at local government jobs. They will suck, but they are generally desperate for employees.

dirtyhippy

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How long is your resume?  The bolded points are boring, everyone has those on their resume, how have you shown that you will add value to an organization with your resume?  Are you tailoring your resume to address specific requirements in each job you're applying to?  Can you maybe post a copy with details removed?

letired

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It might be useful to rejig how you are approaching the cover letter. As dirtyhippy said, everyone is going to say those things about themselves.

The best advice for a cover letter I've ever received is to, point by point, address the desired skills/attributes in the job listing, echoing their own phrasing back at them. The resume should be similarly customized.

But also, if you aren't already going to meetups/user groups relevant (and not so relevant) to your job interests, you should get on that. Given that you are unemployed, I would be aiming for attending one almost every night of the week, assuming there is one happening. I've had excellent luck with those connections getting me opportunities down the line. And once you get a job, KEEP GOING. The point is that when you get some benefit from the community, you look to repay it in the future, so you have some karma in the bank when you need a job again.

If you are interested, PM me and I can send you the 'templates/formulas' I use when I'm writing a new cover letter.