number of layers between you and hiring managers depends on the contact
protocol you follow in your job search. The goal is to remove all but the most necessary layers between, and
that’s what we’re going to help you with in this article.
spend hours searching company job sites for job openings. Next, they carefully
compose cover letters and then - far too frequently - they rely on a
corporate recruiter’s Boolean query to match their skills and experience to the
job, precipitating contact. This job search protocol looks like this:
A far better protocol looks like this:
Target your effort and resources.
The first step in building a strong career resource network is to understand
who to contact, what their interests are, and how to convince them to help you.
You can help yourself by expanding your existing career resource base:
People are usually a finite resource. If you over-utilize friends and
professional resources at the beginning of your search, realize they will likely
not be available later on when you need their help most.
Concentrate your industry resources and your outreach efforts on jobs
and technologies that directly match your current skill and experience level. Go
ahead and identify technologies, jobs, teams and companies for you to target for
the long term as long as it doesn't take away from the initial priority of
finding the job you want now.
Identify and contact hiring managers to gather, first-hand, the
business needs this job holder must solve(?), other key job information, build a
relationship with a potential employer, and as a key component of long-term
career management strategy. This information helps us better target our
applications, and helps us prepare for interviews.
Leverage company and industry website content to build job search and
career management strategies. These sites include technical and product
information; user group information and chapter contacts and sites; case
studies, and past and current event offerings. Product developers and product
manager names are available to you in archived technical chats and webcasts,
white papers with author credits; and knowledge-based articles with author
credits; developer-specific areas within each site; and more.
Personal Referrals/Recommendations open doors - particularly in today's job
Friends, college alumni associations, current or former colleagues and
employers, and employee alumni groups each help you generate job leads,
referrals, networking opportunities, and career opportunities.
Peers are valuable career resources.
CodeProject.com community members are one of your best resources for
researching jobs, teams, companies, and development technologies. Post your
career and company research questions here or in The Lounge. There is a very
good chance at least one CodeProject.com community member works at a company you
are interested in, and will share information on company culture and hiring
bars, interview tricks and tips.
Visibility is important.
Actively participate in user groups, mailing lists, websites, and newsgroups
for the products and technologies that interest you. These community resources
frequently include industry stars - and industry lurkers - who closely follow
the technical discussions, and track individual contributions to the group. For
example, developers with Sun, BEA, and other competing tools and product
companies are active on the developer lists and sites specific to their products
and technologies. Also, a number of Microsoft .Net development team members
participate in the CodeProject.com, and in other developer communities.
Speaker lists and presentation archives are powerful research tools.
Conference programs and user group archives list event speakers by their area
of expertise and technology focus. Session topics detail their product's
technical and business challenges. Speaker biographies help identify which
skills and experience their technology team values for new hires, and may help
you identify an interest or credential you share with a particular speaker. All
are valuable resources for job seekers.
In our next column we tackle the good, the bad, and the ugly ways to contact
the potential career resources you identify within the next two weeks.
In the meantime, please share your resource building results, successes, and
suggestions for improvements.
As this column's title noted, this is only one of a series of articles on
this topic, since the best ideas and strategies are those that work for you.