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Hack Your Job Search

Section I: Getting Tactical About Your Job Search

Section 1: 6 chapters
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Section II: Standing Out From the Crowd

Section 2: 5 chapters
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5. Traditional & Nontraditional Ways to Find Jobs
Written by Jenn Bailey

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Now that you’ve created your resume and portfolio, the next step is to find great positions to apply to. There are a lot of different ways to find jobs, and having so many options might leave you feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Don’t worry if you feel that way — this book is here to help. You’re about to embark on a quest, and who knows what treasure you’ll uncover along the way!

In this chapter, you’ll cover where to start looking for jobs. It will include some tips on how to leverage job sites and other traditional methods, as well as some tips you might not have thought of yet.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to use hiring sites to look for jobs.
  • Where and how to make connections that could lead to new opportunities.
  • How to seek out opportunities that aren’t on job boards.
  • How to make the most of the resources you already have.

There’s no time like the present to find some open roles that match your skills and apply!

Traditional Versus Nontraditional Ways to Find Jobs

Many people use traditional methods to find their perfect roles, and for good reason: they’re tried and true because they’re effective. These methods include:

Finding a Job Using Hiring Websites

Hiring websites are the most common place to find and apply for open positions. These websites are widely used by employers and applicants, and there are many to choose from.

Selecting Hiring Websites

There are a lot of hiring websites, and you only have a limited amount of time each day to search, so it’s important to narrow your options when selecting which ones to use.

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, job seekers can be targeted by scams. Many hiring sites verify their job listings to reduce spam, but some still gets through. Use your common sense, instincts and web safety protocol when utilizing job sites.


Another traditional way to find jobs is by building connections. According to a LinkedIn study, 70% of people found jobs through their connections. In today’s developer environment, there are lots of great ways to network, no matter where you live or what part of tech you find exciting.

Attending Career Fairs

If you’re a recent or soon-to-be college grad, you’re most likely familiar with career fairs, where employers come to campus in search of entry-level hires. Definitely plan to attend any of these that include companies looking for software engineers.

Attending Events

Attending events and conferences gives you different ways to discover open positions. For example, conferences are often sponsored by companies that are hiring, while it’s common for recruiters to attend to meet candidates.

Meetup is a great place to find networking events.
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Getting the Most From Conferences You Attend

When you attend a conference, you’ll learn a lot from the speakers, but as a job seeker, the people you meet will be just as important. Here are some ways to make conferences work for you.

Building Connections

Many conferences use Slack or Discord to help participants stay in touch. If you have this option, be sure to join and say hello in the channel to start building connections with other attendees.

Making It Easy for People to Reach You

When you sign up for a conference, be sure to come prepared. If you meet someone who’s interested in discussing a job with you, be sure to have your contact information handy, including links to your resume and social media profiles.

Following up After the Conference

As you meet interesting people, be sure to follow them on social media and encourage them to follow you as well. This helps you keep in touch after the conference. Over time, this is how you build your network.

Participating in Clubs for Developers

Aside from conferences, there are other clubs and events that meet to discuss different technologies. Seeking out and joining these clubs can put you in touch with people working in areas that interest you.

Joining Online Communities

Like job sites, there are a vast number of online communities and email lists. To find them, think of the technologies, platforms and code languages you’re most interested in working with, then search for those terms. Adding “+newsletter” and “+community” to your search is helpful.

Networking With Recruiters and Employers

As you search for jobs, you’ll come across names of interesting companies and recruiters. When you do, be sure to capture these contacts for your network.

Nontraditional Ways to Find Jobs

You can take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. At this point, you’ve learned how to use the most common traditional means of finding a job in tech. You’ll now get creative and explore some of the nontraditional ways to find a job.

Targeting Companies Outside the Industry

When you consider dev jobs, you might immediately think about working for a famous tech company like Microsoft, Google or Meta. However, every industry needs technology to thrive these days, and job seekers often overlook lucrative opportunities outside the tech industry.

Proactively Contacting Potential Employers

It’s not unusual for a company to need a new employee for some time before they get around to posting a position. This happens especially often with small companies and employers outside the tech industry. This creates an opportunity for you: If you reach out, you can raise your odds of being one of the first to apply. If you’re a good fit, you might be the only candidate.

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Creating Your Own Opportunity

Aside from applying for jobs with established companies, you can consider creating your own opportunity by looking around and noticing where your skills could help. Is there a local company or organization that could greatly benefit from your skills? Could you build an app that would benefit their current system? If so, you could approach the business and ask.

Using Your Human Network

The last resource to consider is your existing human network. This can include the network you’ve built online, but also:

Following up With Leads

If you follow this advice, you could be getting leads from an overwhelming number of different places: websites, personal contacts, mailing lists and more. It’s important to find a way to organize all that information.


After finishing this chapter, you should have a good overview of how to find jobs, how to build a network of people who can help you in your career and how to follow up with the leads you discover to turn them into job prospects. Next, you’ll learn how to work with recruiters to take some of the pressure of finding job opportunities off your own shoulders.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to leverage traditional resources when searching for a job.
  • There are many nontraditional avenues you can try. These may give you advantages over other job seekers.
  • Follow up; persistence pays.

Action Plan

  • Post your resume on at least three job search sites.
  • Set up your LinkedIn account and mark yourself as “open for work”.
  • Research three large companies in your area where you’d like to work. Use either the resources above or the internet.
  • Find an organization that hires professionals with your area of expertise and reach out to them.
  • Name three tech communities online or in your geographical area that host events that you can attend.
  • Find an event you can attend in the next 30 days, either online or in person.
  • When you attend the event, challenge yourself to connect with at least five new people. Exchange contact information with these individuals.
  • Identify at least one person you know or who you can connect with online who has a career like the one you’d like to have. Reach out to them and ask them about it.
  • Try out a nontraditional job search method.
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