I sometimes get questions through LinkedIn from developers looking to land a new job. Sometimes these people are junior-juniors looking for their first project. In other cases, they have some experience under their belt but are unable to find an interesting new project.
In an industry with such a high demand for techies, it sure seems difficult to see the forest for the trees.
I’ve been around in this industry for a while and it is a muddy and opaque market. Everyone is looking for devs and yet it often seems there are no jobs out there.
The absolute majority of jobs are not posted on the internet. That’s a surprising realisation once it hits you. You should use that to your advantage.
There are basically three routes that lead to a new job.
#1: Networking (80% of job opportunities)
Most jobs are filled by networking. People are introduced and deals are struck through private channels. In a lot of cases, positions are created for the right canidate. That’s a very healthy system but feels a bit unfair for those on the outside. Your job is to get on the inside. Build that network and your chances increase massively.
#2: Recruiters (15% of job opportunities)
The second source of opportunities is recruiters. There’s a lot of them and they have a bad reputation. When companies can’t find candidates through networking, they hire these recruitment specialists. While a lot of devs complain about them being pushy and expensive, they are often an easy path to the next opportunity.
#3: Job ads (5% of job opportunities)
The old school classifieds still exist. Job boards are still semi-popular, but I honestly have no idea why. It’s the same 5 companies posting the 5 same jobs over and over. When companies can’t find you through their network and don’t want to pay for a recruiter, they buy ads. When a recruiter can’t find a matching candidate, they’ll often resort to an ad as well. These are almost never high-quality jobs.
Now, what is my experience with developers looking for a new job? They almost always work these routes in the wrong order! They’ll post CV’s on boards and reply to ads like it’s their day job. Some of them will talk to a recruiter. Most never look into networking.
So, what should you do? Turn that around!
- Join meet-ups, conferences and dev events and meet your peers. This network will grow and all you need is somebody who knows somebody who needs another dev.
- Do the same online. Github, Dev.to, Twitter, LinkedIn. Connect with other developers in your area of expertise.
- Don’t talk to a recruiter. Talk to all of them. Send your profile to a bunch of recruiters to increase your odds. Treat them with respect, but know that it’s a numbers game.
- Get off the job boards. They are a depressing last-ditch effort for both companies and candidates. They give you the feeling that there is nothing out there for you.
Landing a job is a sales problem. Treat it like that.
By looking at job boards, you’re hoping somebody will post an opportunity that matches your profile perfectly. That never happens.
Take matters into your own hands: focus on the 80% of networking. maximize your shots in the 15% of recruiters.
Stop focusing on the 5% of job boards.