Yes, tech unemployment ticked up (slightly) in May. However, technologists with in-demand skills and a strategic approach to the job-hunting process still have a great chance of landing an amazing job.
Tim Crawford, CIO strategist and advisor for AVOA, says what we're seeing in the marketplace is a “Great Reshuffling,” which actually benefits tech job seekers: “Movement in the marketplace creates even more opportunities for mobile tech pros looking to advance their careers.”
Here are some tips for navigating a volatile but ample market during the rest of 2022… and landing a great job before the end of the year.
Embrace a Strategic and Targeted Approach
Mike Kail, CTO at PrimaryIO and veteran strategic advisor to tech startups, encourages job seekers to apply the same techniques to their search as startups use to raise capital and approach potential investors.
In other words, it’s best to work backwards from the end goal and be deliberate about targeting employers and opportunities. Where can you get an introduction or use your connections? Where can you add the most value? Instead of taking a shotgun approach, try to identify and align yourself with job opportunities that support the company’s strategic mission.
For instance, “in the weeds” infrastructure roles may be harder to find, but companies still need technologists who can maintain tech stacks, networks, and other kinds of infrastructure. If you have a particular infrastructure-related specialization, wait until you spy the perfect opportunity, and then structure your application materials (including your resume and cover letter) to show how your skills will help the company achieve its infrastructure-related goals. That kind of approach will make you stand out in a competitive field of applicants.
Show That You Have a ‘High Ceiling’
While plotting the next step in your career, carve out some time to improve your skills and prove your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth. Impress potential hiring managers by building a portfolio of side projects (such as participating in open-source projects) and bringing it to the interview.
When someone spends their free time working on side projects, it implies they have a ‘high ceiling’ and will be able to grow and take on more responsibility after being hired. Remember, “appearing to be non-promotable” can prevent interviews from turning into concrete job offers.
Be Precise, Clear, Direct (and Bold) About Your Contributions
When the market shifts even a little, candidates often become a little too cautious during interviews and tell the interviewer what they think they want to hear. But it’s better to lean into boldness and confidence. For instance, Kail wants to have “good collaborative conversations with candidates.”
Most managers want technologists to be curious and willing to take calculated risks in developing new products or initiating improvements. Create a strong impression by doing your homework and coming to the interview armed with opinions, questions and suggestions for using technology to support the company’s mission.
Don’t Assume the Grass is Greener
Although the job market is still strong, you may want to think twice about job hopping or accepting a job you’re not sure about. If what you hated most at your previous jobs isn’t likely to change, you may want to slow your habit of jumping from job to job. At some point, making too many job changes (or leaving as soon as the first stock options vest) may catch up with you—hiring managers may believe you won’t stick around long if they hire you.
Go the Extra Mile
Demonstrating that you are willing and able to outperform other candidates can mean the difference between an offer and a rejection, especially when hiring managers are becoming more cautious and selective.
Case in point: Kail once interviewed a UI designer who proceeded to create and share a mockup of what a final website would look like. Kail hired him on the spot. By going above and beyond what was expected (and taking a risk), the UI designer not only proved that he wanted the job, but was capable of making positive contributions right away and bringing ideas and concepts to life.
Don’t Always Accept the First ‘No’
Sometimes, being a bold risk taker is scary, but worth it. For instance, applicants often wonder if they should challenge a rejection or continue pursuing open positions at a dream company after being turned down. The short answer: If you believe you’re a strong candidate and have something to offer, make your case (in a polite way).
For instance, Kail shared that he once landed a job after being rejected by respectfully appealing the decision and providing some compelling reasons for the hiring manager to take another look.
Crawford agrees with this idea, adding: “Don’t let this temporary downturn in the market frustrate you or hold you back. Even if you don’t meet all of the requirements in the job posting, go ahead and apply.” It’s all about outlining your value to the team and company.