The 5 Top Job Search Tips to Become a Junior Software Developer
Whether you attended a coding bootcamp or got the traditional, four-year degree, the time leading up to graduation is when you shift focus on your next major obstacle—finding a job in tech. For most, this is a time of uncertainty. However, more importantly, it’s a time to showcase your skills and transition from student to job seeker.
Job searching is often described as a full-time job itself and should be treated as such. It’s the culmination of all your past experiences into a resume, interviews, networking, and more. Tech Elevator graduates use the skills they learned throughout our Pathway Program™ (our career readiness program) to help guide them during their job search while receiving 180 days of continued support after graduation. Unfortunately, this is not the standard for other coding bootcamps; most graduates must find their way in their job search alone.
Tech Elevator students are real, everyday people with incredible outcomes who have been able to showcase both their technical skills and transferable skills to land their first jobs in tech. Below are a few helpful job search tips for coding bootcamp graduates and people just diving into the job market as junior Software Developers.
Use these tips to help guide your job search and increase your chances of getting to the next step in the hiring process.
1. Adjust Your Language
When you’re looking for a job and find a role that you’d like to apply for, take note of how the role is described and its responsibilities. Meaning: Not just what the responsibilities are, but how they’re written. With this perspective, you can look at your own resume or application and showcase your skills in the same way they are being asked in the job posting.
2. Expand Your Job Search
Something to consider when you’re deep into your job search is how narrow or wide you’re searching for a particular role. A helpful tip for how and where you search is to cast a wide net.
Try not to focus your search for a role on just one platform or job board. Utilize multiple job boards and other free services to aid in your job search. You might find a different job posting for a similar role or be alerted to it faster depending on the hiring manager’s timeline.
Set up multiple alerts on multiple job boards for job postings and keywords that you’re looking for in a role. If the notifications get too overwhelming, then look into setting up a separate email that you use just for your job search
And finally, don’t be afraid to apply for a role! Just because you don’t meet 100% of the job requirements doesn’t mean you aren’t a good fit. Apply to a role if you have 50 – 60% of the job requirements. Most recruiters will reach out to folks who meet at least half of the requirements!
3. Use Your Network
When you’re starting your job search, one of the most important things you can do regarding your network is to let them know you’re looking for a new role and highlight how they could potentially help. This can be difficult when you’re changing careers, but you’d be surprised how many people you may know who are connected with people in the industry. Ask mutual connections for an introduction, or to grab a coffee (virtually via Zoom or in-person). This way you can learn more about the industry, make a valuable connection and potentially get pointed in the direction of an open role.
Keep in mind that you don’t want this to be a one-sided conversation. You’re making a connection with someone, not demanding that they get you a job. Try to make it as conversational as you can and learn from what they’re telling you. Even if they can’t help you now with the role you’re looking for, they may be able to help you in the future.
4. Use a Two-Pronged Approach
Along with utilizing your network, make sure to contact someone directly at the company after applying. Simply completing and submitting an application for a job is not enough to get your resume in front of a recruiter or hiring manager.
After applying to a role, find a relevant contact on LinkedIn (ie Technical Recruiter, Software Development Manager, etc) within 1-2 weeks and send them a well-crafted and thoughtful message.
Sending a message to someone will help your application stick out above the rest. Not only could they help improve your chances of receiving a follow-up, but they could also be a good connection to talk about the company you’re applying to in more detail outside of the information presented in the job posting.
5. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself
Finding a job and starting a new career can, in some cases, take months and requires patience. It can be a time of feeling rejected and uncertain of your worth, so it’s vital that you remember all that you’ve accomplished as you prepare for your next opportunity. Have someone practice and review your interview answers. Tech Elevator graduates get continued support for 180 days after graduation from their Pathway Program Directors, but not everyone has this option in the coding bootcamp industry. If you don’t have career support from your bootcamp, look into a friend or network connection who can practice interviewing with you and provide you with constructive feedback.
One trap that some coding bootcamp graduates fall into during their job search is that they begin to compare themselves to their fellow graduates. Some will get jobs faster than others, but that does not reflect what you can bring to your potential employer. Focus on your skills and what you offer, not an opportunity that someone else received that you didn’t.
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