Finding your next great adventure is a numbers game in many ways. You are the perfect match for some position out there, it’s just a question of finding that place, or perhaps, that place finding you.
In my book, there’s an ordered list of ways to find a job:
- Create your own job.
- Places you want to work.
- Places your friends work.
- Recruiters who target you with non-spam.
- Recruiters who target you with spam.
- Random job postings.
Create your own job.
If you’re creative, self-driven, and have a great idea or two, why not create your own job?
If you’re already tinkering, all you need to do is take your hobby a bit more seriously. Polish your hobby into a product, make a website, form an LLC, and go take over the world.
You never know, your hobby may turn into passive income, or it may even subplant your real job. If not, there’s no faster way to learn new skills and grow to appreciate the intangible benefits an employer provides or provided for you.
Places you want to work.
If you already know where you want to work, your job-hunt is over, sort of.
It’s a good idea to tailor your resume for the exact position you want, and make sure you interview at a few places you *don’t* want to work first, to get the interview jitters out of your system.
A great way to get an inside pointer or two is to search up a recruiter on linkedin for the company (assuming the company’s big enough to have their own recruiters).
And please, do not interview for position X, when you really want position Y.. you’ll just be wasting team X’s time.
Places your friends work.
After a few years of experience, your peers will branch out to new opportunities with other companies. It’s a good idea to keep a list of awesome people you want to work with again in the future, and email or do lunch with them when your job hunt starts.
Having a friend on the inside will give you a better look at the not-so-great truths of the place and give you far more information than any interview process will.
If you don’t have friends who are branching out, and you’re not happy where you are, it’s time to find that next job and take a risk that your peers don’t seem to be taking.
The great thing about taking that risk is that you’ll likely land at a place with other risk takers just like you, which may lead to a happier work life, or perhaps even friendships with people who *will* take the risk to find the next great job again when the time is right.
A great way to meet new risk-taking friends is to attend and participate in local user groups and discussions. Most any metropolitan area will have meetups you can attend, here’s a list of stuff I’m aware of:
- Ignite, Austin – ignite is also in other cities.
- Door64, Austin
- Java User Group (JUG), Austin
- MobileMonday, Austin
- Linux User Group (LUG), Austin
- Big Data User Group, Austin
- Refresh Austin
- If you’re a student, consider student groups on your campus, for example there was a great video game development student group I attended.
To understand the recruiter animal, you need to place yourself in their shoes. A recruiter is someone who’s a great networker. Their job is forming relationships with hiring managers, and hooking them up with you. The good recruiters excel at helping the hiring managers understand what talent they need, and the bad recruiters will break your arm for a shitty hiring manager when the low-ball offer’s in site.
A recruiter (generally) gets paid a 10 to 20% finders fee, meaning if you make 100K a year, the recruiter will get a 10K or 20K check for hooking you up with the job, so you can understand a little freak-out or pressure on the recruiter’s behalf when an solid offer actually comes through.
Just remember when the recruiter’s freaking out, that it’s not your problem or duty to make them happy – if you don’t like an offer, haggle, and if something seems fishy (such as a feeling of being pushed around a bit or bullied), you’re probably best off to just decline altogether. After you’ve met some recruiters in town, and watched the game for a bit, you’ll probably learn why some hiring managers and recruiting firms are pushy, as they’ve always got positions open due to high turnover.
There’s spammy recruiters, and less spammy recruiters. There’s corporate recruiters working for the man, and brave little groups of headhunters striking out on their own. If you want a corporate job at a juggernaut like IBM, you’ll need to find a recruiter for the company via linkedin. If startups or small to mid size companies are your thing, that’s where the self-made headhunters come in.
Never give your real phone number to a recruiter you do not trust, instead use Google Voice. All recruiters, spammy and non-spammy alike, will email you new opportunities they hear of, but some of them will cold-call you on a monthly (or worse) basis. You can’t fault the cold-calls though, remember this person’s job is to network, and they’re good at what they do.
It’s a good idea to make a list of your favorite recruiters, and keep that list close at hand for your friends when they start looking.
If you’re starting fresh, perhaps one of your past colleagues already has their own list of favorite recruiters, otherwise you could start with mine:
Austin recruiting firms:
- W6 Group – ask for anyone.
- MomentumSi – ask for Kyle Smith.
- Hirestarter – ask for anyone.
- Tek Resource, LLC – ask for David Moore.
- Tek Systems – ask for Andre Thomas.
- Grindstone Group – ask for Bev Vandergriff.
- KForce – ask for Cody Cox.
- NewIron – ask for Darcy Carpenter.
Other recruiting firms:
- Seattle: Prodigy Resources – ask for Kristie Smith.
- Silicon Valley: APN Software Services – ask for Anuj Garg.
Alternatively, you could, and should, post your resume on all major career sites, and that will bring the recruiters out of the woodwork. Here are places to consider:
- LinkedIn – you should already be on this, networked with your peers.
- Dice – Updating your resume here will bring higher quality tech opportunites than most listed below.
- Career Builder
- Job Cannon
- Simply Hired
- Stack Overflow Careers
- Gamasutra Jobs
- Your own website.
Random Job Postings
If the recruiter scene isn’t your game, or even if it is. Taking some time to filter through a bit of the job-posting noise on your own may net you your next great gig. If nothing else, you’ll find names of companies in your area. Here are job posting sources I’m aware of:
- Any of the websites mentioned in the post-your-resume-to list above.
- Austin Startup
- oDesk – online community for freelance work.
- Hacker News Jobs
- Silicon Florist – Portland Oregon area.
- Career Fairs
Hopefully these resources will help you improve your next job hunt.
Remember, if you can afford it, don’t rush your job hunt, be patient, pay attention, and take the time to filter the signal from the noise. Your forever, or next-5-year adventure is out there somewhere, you just have to find it.