Decisions, decisions...
Units of measure

Desi woman 101 - How to find a job

This topic might seems at odds with this blog but let me tell you why it is apt. Many women with tech skills move a to a new city or country, usually on account of their husband, and start a job search. They create a resume, start mass-mailing it to anything and everything online, and then get frustrated because they don't get results. I have advised many people on the right way to do this so found it worth sharing

Job search

In my 15 year career in the tech industry, I have never "cold called" for a job or sent out flurry of resumes. I usually create a 6 month plan to find a new job. This plan is tech company focused but you can easily adapt it. This is what it looks like.

  1. Polish your LinkedIn profile. Make it sharp, make it stand out. Make sure you have at least 3 recommendations from previous colleagues and managers. You can see mine here.
  2. Identify local technical companies. Research these companies by visiting their web sites - to get a sense of what they do, what job openings they have and what skills they are looking for.
  3. Start telling people that you are looking for a job in the local tech industry - friends, kids' teachers, other parents at school, tennis buddies, realtor. This is why.
    1. They might recommend smaller companies that you might not have thought of. Go to step 2 above.
    2. Recommend some good recruiters
  4. Join some local meetup groups in your field of expertise. Tell them about your job search.
  5. Using the data you have collected by now, create a short list of companies you want to apply to. I am picky.
  6. Follow these companies on LinkedIn. If you can find their recruiter on LinkedIn, connect with them.
  7. Identify the jobs you want to apply for.
  8. Create variations of your resume and cover letter, specifically targeted at each job opening. Look online for examples and templates. You don't want a resume that has everything about you, instead a resume that matches what the company is looking for in the job. Your resume and cover letter should clearly answer the following questions
    1. Do you know what the job requires? i.e. Do you care about the job or is it just another job for you.
    2. Can you do the job i.e. ability?
    3. Will you do the job i.e. motivation?
    4. Are you a good fit in their culture?
  9. Now you are ready to apply. Start asking people in your network if they know anybody in those companies. 
  10. Once you have identified a contact, tell them the position you are interested in and give them a resume that they can proudly forward to HR. For example my daughter's teacher's kids were in the same preschool as the chief architect of one of the companies, and she happily forwarded my resume. My tennis friend knew somebody at another company and told me that things were really tough at the company at the moment, so I didn't apply there.
  11. While you are doing all of this, start a github account and start playing with some code there. You can contribute to an open source project, or do exercises from the book "Cracking the coding interview". Try one exercise and play with variations on it, and really showcase your capabilities. Listing your github account on the resume looks good and you will be better prepared for interviews as well.
  12. Practice. I usually interview with less desirable companies first so that when I interview with the companies I really like, I have had practice and time to refine my answers.

Interview!

All this will do is get you a phone interview (foot in the door), then it is up to you to shine! 

Comments

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NIdhi Tewari

Good article and very systematic!

Alien Mother

Thank you Nidhi.

Mish Ochu

I am now working for a company that makes me enjoy each day. I lucked out (considering I moved to a town due to my wife's heavily professionally demanding job)...I spent years flying back to a job I had before the move. It is so important to engage in your local community (like the meetups you mentioned)...wish I had started sooner.

Alien Mother

Yeah Mish, nothing beats networking with local folks

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