So you graduated from a tech bootcamp… now what?

How to effectively tackle the job search

Illustration of woman looking up with several signs around her pointing in various directions
Source: Marina Verdú

You’ve studied, you’ve trained, you’ve worked that little tail off, and now you’re hopeful you’ll be able to land your first gig in tech. In order to do so, you’ll have to work just as hard, if not harder, than you did while you were in bootcamp. You’re going to have to get your name out there, build an online presence, foster relationships, and continue to sharpen those skills you’ve acquired.

As I’ve begun to journey down this long and windy road myself, I’ve found some best practices that will help other tech newbies (or anyone on the job market for that matter) actually start some to gain some traction in their search.

Applying to jobs

WRONG 🙅🏽‍♀️ “I’ll jump on as many LinkedIn easy apply jobs as possible. Certainly applying to 30 jobs a day will better my chances, right?”

No. It will not. When you blindly apply just by ease of the application process, you’re not doing yourself any favors. You’re just sending your resume into an abyss that will sit somewhere collecting virtual dust. Quality over quantity is key here. You just can’t be a fit for that many roles. Also, that many companies may not be a fit for you. When those calls start rolling in, they should be for roles you are actually excited about.

RIGHT 💁🏽‍♀️ Set a specific, realistic weekly application goal and follow up with the appropriate parties.

The right number for me was usually ten. This may sound low, but I can assure you, once you really comb through a job’s description, qualifications, location, goals, mission, and sometimes even rate/salary, you shouldn’t be finding thirty suitable roles a week, even in a great economy.

After you apply, you want to improve the chances that your application will be picked up. When you narrow your scope to about ten specific roles a week, you can have a more effective outreach approach. You’ll need to follow up by sending personalized emails to assigned recruiters, HR managers, or contacts within you network that may already be at that company. Fostering genuine relationship is going to be essential. Direct email is a great way to stand out from the slew of Linkedin messages these folks will be getting. Rocketreach and Lusha are two of my favorite resources to find direct contact information. It’s also very important that this communication is engaging! Along with a link to your portfolio maybe ask their opinion on a hot topic (work friendly, of course) or their thoughts on a recent article you’ve written. Remember, the goal here is to stand out from the pack so steer clear of any generic templates.

Does this all feel a bit stalker-ish? It may feel weird at first. But I can assure you, you can never be too assertive in the job search. It will only help sell you as someone that way be worth a call.

Where to look for open jobs

WRONG 🙅🏽‍♀️ Everyone is on LinkedIn so I’ll just park my job search there.”

LinkedIn will be certainly be a central resource in to you job search, but there are SO many others out there too!

RIGHT 💁🏽‍♀️ Set up daily alerts on multiple job boards and look for fresh roles every single day.

Depending on the company, recruiters will have licenses to a different combination of job boards. This will dictate how and where they find talent. Some recruiters may not even hit their LinkedIn daily.

You’ll also want to set up some passive search channels. This way, people will come to you. To do that, upload and post your resume on boards where this is an option (Dice is a great one). When recruiters are searching for candidates, they will filter results based on their latest activity, so ensure you log in at least once a week to anywhere your resume is posted.

Here are some boards that you should be actively engaging with:

Expand your skills and your reach

WRONG 🙅🏽‍♀️ I know about all there is to know about my field of study for now. I should be fine to take a break for a bit.”

Don’t pump those breaks. It’s not like riding a bike.

RIGHT 💁🏽‍♀️ Add supplementary goals to your job search that will help you continuously flex those digital muscles.

You’ll have to work at the new skills you’ve acquired and expand your network to improve your visibility.

Here are some goals that you should consider:

  • Complete weekly challenges —find some via DailyUI, GitHub, or Twitter.
  • Attend (virtual) meetups —stay in the know on LinkedIn and join local meetup groups.
  • Improve your social media presence — blog, engage with others in your industry, and find ways to get eyes on your portfolio site.

“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.” — Oprah Winfrey

Searching for a job is a long journey filled with highs and lows. Control what you can control. All you can do it situate yourself if a way that you’ll be prepared when those stars align in your favor.

Sending all the positive juju your way. Best of luck!

Want to make this a 2-way conversation? Let’s connect! Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, or Carrier Pigeon.

So you graduated from a tech bootcamp… now what? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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