Before I started writing my current book (dingus down at the bottom of the post to get the first two chapters free) on hiring developers, I started a book on getting hired as developer or designer.
I might come back to it someday, but I thought I’d share one of the early chapters I had written for that book since it dovetails nicely with parts of the new book I’m currently writing from the opposite perspective.
Enjoy, and let me know if you have any other tips for job seeking developers.
Before you start firing off resumes and inquiries willy-nilly, you have some work to do.
A resume alone won’t get you very far, but a resume combined with the following can greatly increase your chances.
If you know where you’d like to apply, find contacts for people who work there. LinkedIn works great for this.
Find them on Twitter and follow them. Lurk for a while and then engage. Don’t ask if they’re hiring or ask for a job — your only goal here if to raise their awareness.
Let me give you a real-life example:
When it came time to hire a backend developer, I already knew Ryan — at least the name. When I started surfing through LinkedIn for candidates, he came up again.
Later, we hired him.
He’s been great, by the way.
Speaking of LinkedIn
I know LinkedIn can seem somewhat pointless from your seat — little more than a vector for recruiter spam. But it’s hugely helpful on the hiring end.
With a recruiter account, you get access to tons of facets that allow you to hone down to precisely the skill set and person you’re looking for. From there, you can add them to project lists and keep track of how often and how you contacted them.
It’s not the only place employers go hunting, but hooboy is it helpful.
And even if you don’t show up in searches, I can guarantee you’ll be searched for once you apply. A lot of hiring management software packages will even do this automatically.
So, you need a LinkedIn page.
Fill out your job experience — if you’re in college include whatever you can, even if it doesn’t strike you as relevant. Fill out the Skills section. Link up your social accounts — or better: a personal site, Dribbble and/or Github profiles.
In essence, make it as complete as you can.
In the contact area settings, make sure you have it set for “career opportunities” and “job inquiries”. After all, you’re looking for a job, or you wouldn’t be reading this book, right?
If you have endorsements or write up the bio area, great. But you can consider both optional. A great bio has never gotten anyone hired, but a bad one has stopped more than a few hirings.
It’s better to just leave it blank.
Dribbble and GitHub
Now we’re in to the nitty-gritty of what’s going to set you apart once you begin applying.
If you’re a designer, sign up for an account on Dribbble and post your work there whenever you can.
If you’re a developer, do the same on GitHub. Fork an open source repo or post code of your own, but get code on there.
Much like LinkedIn, Dribbble and GitHub are great places to get discovered and are becoming go-to places for hiring managers like myself to go hunting for talent. But more than that, you want to be able to point hiring managers to work.
Because when it comes to web designers and developers nothing (and I mean nothing) speaks louder than the work. You can interview great, have the best resume in the world, but if I can’t see work, I’m always going to worry.
And I’ll likely hire somebody else instead, all other things being equal.