IT professionals with competitive tech skills can now run their job searches on autopilot. Job opportunities regularly swarm their inboxes. Recruiters message them ceaselessly. Bidding wars break out on their behalf. Unless those IT roles actually adhere to candidates’ specific career goals or job expectations, all those offers are as worthless as junk mail. And that doesn’t need to be the case.
Improving the quality of job offers you get starts on your end. Whether you are proactively searching for work or contented in your current role, there are steps you can take to lay down the bait for your ideal employer now and in the future. The following are just a few of the ways to get noticed for your dream job.
1.) Broadcast a Fine-Tuned Message
Your LinkedIn, GitHub, and Stack Overflow profiles heavily influence the types of job offers you attract. Often, when IT professionals attract an eclectic mix of job offers, the mismatch stems from an incongruous online presence.
For example, your LinkedIn profile might suggest that you are looking to develop mobile apps, but your GitHub repository suggests you are more interested in Ruby on Rails web projects. The inconsistent message is going to attract recruiters who, operating off of the information you’ve provided, think you’d be the perfect fit for a role you don’t really want.
Fine-tuning your message to businesses and recruiters requires first making a consistent online narrative. Do you emphasize similar technical skills that parallel your dream job on every profile? You are not obliged to include any skills, even those in which you’ve acquired vast experience, that lead employers to infer you’re interested in anything other than your primary career objective. At their root, each profile is a marketing tool, not a comprehensive autobiography.
2.) Create the Right Bait
Most businesses would love to see an IT professional’s work in action. With the idea of a “Take-Your-Next-Employer-to-Work” Day conventionally frowned upon, candidates need to make their most definitive work clearly available to recruiters and anyone else interested in hiring them. Most importantly, they need to present portfolios that indicate the ideal next step in their careers.
Different IT specialties are going to use portfolios in different ways. A game developer would benefit from creating an interactive portfolio. On the other hand, a network engineer might find more value in a portfolio/technical blog hybrid. Whatever you choose to highlight your experience, you want to feature your aptitudes in the most convincing way possible.
Another outside-the-box way to set the right bait is to volunteer at an organization that needs your technical skills. For example, if decision makers at your dream job volunteer with a specific non-profit organization, you can show the fruits of your labor in action and potentially attract their consideration through word of mouth.
3.) Speed Up Your Search with Help from Others
During a passive job search, the last place you want to spend your day is digging through job boards. They place you on the same footing as every other candidate, failing to give you an advantage while being considered. Whenever possible, candidates need to be approaching their dream job in ways that make them naturally stand out. The most effective way to achieve that is to send your message straight to the source, bypassing the ATS in favor of some human interaction.
Networking helps sidestep the queue of people waiting for their resumes to be seen by human eyes. Job seekers who build relationships with decision-makers or any employee at their dream job have much higher odds of success compared to those who are trying to make the equivalent of a cold call to get the job. Even if you’re not aggressively looking for work right now, it always helps to have connections who can help you transition into a different position when you’ve decided it’s time to move on from your current job.
Another way to get a warm introduction is to work with a recruiter. They have access to an extensive network of employers and are experienced with how to maximize the return of investment on their connections. Rather than pounding the pavement on their own, job seekers who end up getting their dream jobs often allow professional recruiters to do all of the time-consuming work so that they can focus on their day jobs without interruption. In that case, who you know multiplies your reach exponentially.