How to land your dream job in 2017
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to be more fulfilled in your career in 2017, you’re not alone. The good news is that the boom of tech job creation shows no signs of slowing down (especially here in California). However, the reality is that while the overall number of jobs has increased, so has the specialization needed to compete for those jobs, making proper preparation more important than ever. Here are some of the secrets that have helped our candidates land their dream job.
Don’t just network. Contribute
There is nothing more important than a strong network if you are searching for new opportunities, but a strong network is more than just knowing a lot of people. We all have that one acquaintance that seems to be busy whenever we need a favor, but is suddenly wide open for a lunch meeting when the situation is reversed. Nobody likes to feel used, so before you approach someone to help you as you seek the next lily pad, ask yourself how have you recently helped them. Would you feel comfortable if they approached you with a similar request to the one you are about to make?
The contribution doesn’t have to be something major either. It came be as simple as taking a phone call to listen and give feedback, making a quick introduction, or volunteering in your local community. When you adopt a mindful attitude towards helping others in your community and beyond, that mindset can ultimately help you develop into a better person, manager, and contributor.
Know what you want
Even if you have an amazing network, they are not going to be able to help you if you can’t articulate a strong vision of what it is that you are looking for and why. Think through the pros and cons of switching and how you would like your situation to improve at your new job. Are your concerns salary related? Culture related? What type of position do you want? Big company or startup? In a specific industry?
If you are not sure exactly what you want and you really just want to gather information that’s fine too, but have specific questions that you want answered before you reach out to your network. There are many valid reasons for switching jobs, and being honest with yourself about which of these reasons apply to you will help guide you towards a company that will motivate you to wake up on Mondays.
Prepare to succeed
Your ability to make a strong, positive first impression in the interview process is tied to your ability and motivation to arrive prepared. Research the company beforehand. Study their competitors. What problems are they trying to solve for their customers, and how can you add value? Figure out how the role you seek plays into the bigger picture of their company’s success. Tying your future contributions to a greater level of success for the company can create a genuine foundation of alignment and loyalty. As a bonus, this alignment can help bring you back on track when those inevitable “bad days at work” happen.
Learn more to earn more
One hallmark of the tech startup ecosystem is a lack of on site formalized training to acquire new skills. Companies hire people who are intrinsically motivated to be experts in their field. This means they take the time to acquire new, complementary skills like a new coding language or project management processes as they tackle bigger projects and assume more responsibility. They even explore other topics that interest them to keep their mind sharp. Learning a new skill or process can even help you succeed in your current job, too. And success in your current job makes you more marketable for your future job.
In order to be considered for a position, it’s a given that everyone applying has the requisite hard skills mentioned in the job description. However, even if you’re the top engineer in your field, your ability to communicate your strengths and unique perspective to the hiring manager and team during an interview can set you apart from the pack of people applying. Put another way, if you were introduced to the hiring manager, and he or she only had 60 seconds before their next meeting, what would you say to them to make a positive impression? Practice answering interview questions with a friend. This can help you have moments of “I should have said something else” with a trusted friend rather than a potential employer. Speaking out loud to a fellow human is also much different from reviewing notes on a computer, and much closer to the actual interview process.