How To Get A Programming Job By Bypassing HR
You are looking for a job but you do not know anyone. You see all of these developers getting their programming jobs before you, and you simply start to ask yourself:
How come that they get these programming jobs and I'm able to get none?
So you are looking for a new programming job, where do you go first? Indeed? Monster? Hacker News?
You sent all of these programming resumes but you're able to get no responses back. What do you do?
This happened to me. I sent all of those resumes but I was able to get NO RESPONSES back.
This is when I decided to go that extra mile. To finally bypass HR. And that's how I got my programming job.
I reached out to the CEO, hiring managers, CTO of a lot of companies and sent them this email:
“I saw your post on Hacker News Who’s Hiring June 2016. I read up on the company and I was really excited at the fact that you guys are trying to change the fashion industry by trying to offer high quality clothing to people all around the world at a cheaper price. I was wondering if you could talk to me more about your time there and why you love it?
Here is a link to a project I made for you. I did not know python or react, but I wanted to learn because I love to continuously learn and improve my skill set. I hosted it on AWS also using Ec2 instance and cloudfront.
Also, are you hiring for junior full stack engineers?
In this video, I'll teach you how you can do the same so that you can finally land your programming job.
Download the cold approach spreadsheet here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rnZEYZNfXmzdMHQmaShVH51sHgJIO8HyV7eQenBYFUs
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Transcript Of The Video
Antonio Cucciniello: You're looking for a job, but you don't know anyone? At the end of this video, you're gonna have my process step by step of how I reached out to engineers, and other people at other companies in order to get the job that I wanted.
Hey there guys, I'm Antonio. Here at Simple Programmer, we believe in making the complex simple. If you're stuck looking for a job, I hope that this video makes the process simple for you. You're looking for a job? Where do you go first? First, you need to find open positions. Where do you get that from? Online, there's usually a source of jobs somewhere. Now, there's tons of places on the internet where you could actually find that. A few sites that I used were LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, Hacker News, GitHub, and the actual sites of individual companies.
The sources you use don't matter as much as actually getting a list of companies that are hiring for positions that you want. Once you've curated a list of jobs that you're interested in at different companies, now it's your job to actually look at these open opportunities. What you want to look for here is a company that actually matches your criteria, so if you're looking for a machine learning development job, then you obviously want to find one that has machine learning involved in it, whether a 100%, or some percentage of it. Also, you wanna find things that are attached to your skill level, like senior, or junior, or mid-level engineer.
Now, you're sitting here with a bunch of open positions, ones that you're slightly interested in. The next step is to read about these companies, their culture, their work-life balance, all the things that you would want in a company. Now, as you're doing this, you're gonna realize that some of them don't match what you're looking for. You're gonna eliminate those from the list. Obviously, you only wanna work somewhere where you're actually really interested in working.
Another thing to do while looking at these companies is, start thinking about a few things. How can you provide value to this company? Why do you think your skill set, whether it be personal, or technical is beneficial to that company to hiring you? Are there any things in particular that interest you about this company? Have you done anything that the company's actually in need of? You're going to need this information to reach out to them, so hold on to it. All right, so now we're gonna get a little stalker-ish.
This is when you're going to actually need to find information about the person that you're going to contact. The first thing that I do is that I go on LinkedIn, or the company website. Usually, they have names of the people that work there. What you need to look for is someone who is the hiring manager for the position that you are trying to apply to, or someone with a lot of influence, or someone on that team. For example, people I would reach out to were CEOs of startups, CTOs, VPs of engineering, engineering managers, senior software engineers, all these things. These are the people that I would reach out to.
To help you with this entire process, I've created an Excel spreadsheet that you can download in the link down low, and what it does is it allows you to keep track of the information that you need for these people, so when you get that person's name, add them to the list that I've created, and now you're gonna fill out the rest of that information. The next step is to find out their contact information. I head over to GitHub, or their social media sites. Normally, if you're a developer then you have a GitHub account, so we want to research someone on GitHub using their profile, using their name that you just got.
On their profile, they could actually show their email, or maybe a site that they own like their blog, or their Twitter, or something like that. If you find a piece of information of theirs, write it down in the sheet. The more the better here. Now, if you can't find something right away don't be discouraged. Let's look for other things like their blog, their Facebook, Twitter, Hacker News account, any of those things.
Okay, so now you have a piece of contact information, and their name all inside the sheet, now what? You gotta reach out, but not yet, because we wanna draft this message, so the other person wants to open it, read it and respond. Think about how many messages, and emails you get in a day. You're constantly bombarded. We need to break through somehow, and how do we do that? By providing value to the other person. Actually, caring about them.
Here's the general gist about how I format my messages so I can maximize the amount of positive responses I get back. One, introduce yourself. This is so important. Someone needs to know who you are. Don't spend too much time on this though, because then it will be more about you and less about the other person. Remember, we want to care about them. Two, make a connection. Remember what I said before about those questions that you're asking yourself while researching the company? You want to use that information right here.
We want to connect with them either about something that the person likes, or that the company likes, or they're interested in. People like talking about things that they do, and things that they enjoy, so talk about that. Three, is link to something in your work that would be interesting to them, an open source repo that you worked on that they also worked on, a project you made for them, something that you created that would actually help the company. Now, get creative here. This, is this most important thing that'll get your foot in the door. This is how we provide value.
Four, is ask if they have open position for what you're looking for. Five, attach your tailored resume to that position. Now, to help you understand this better, we're gonna go through an example. I was looking for positions online on Hacker News. They have a post at the first of every month called Who's Hiring. It was a software engineering position, a junior full stack engineering position at a mid-sized startup in the location I wanted. I started to do research about the company. They seemed to have the culture that I wanted, the work-life balance that I wanted, and the growth opportunities that I was looking for.
I noticed that they were looking for engineers that were hungry to learn, and I was just that, so at this point, I knew I had to reach out. I went to the post, and I found the person's name, so then I did a research on that person. I found out that they were the CTO of the company. Initially, I was nervous, “I'm gonna reach out to the CTO?” They were looking for a junior full stack developer that knew Python, React and AWS. I thought to myself, “What if I could create something specifically for this company that use these technologies.” I did just that.
I created a quick one page site that use their API to pull some items, and display them on a web page using React, Python and AWS. Now, before this, I didn't know React, or Python, and I wanted to learn. What did that show? It showed initiative, it showed that I liked learning, and growth, which is an awesome thing to look for in a junior engineer. What did I do? I tossed that on a public URL using CloudFront, and EC2 Instance.
Now, before reaching out, I drafted up my email. My email went something like this, “Hi James, I saw your post on Hacker News for Who's Hiring in June of 2016. I read up on the company, and I was really excited at the fact that you guys are trying to change the fashion industry by trying to offer high quality clothing to people that can't normally afford it. I was wondering if I could talk to you more about X company, your time there, and why you love it. Here's the link to a project that I made just for you. I didn't know Python or React, but I wanted to learn, because I love continuously learning, and to improve my skill set. I hosted on AWS also using an EC2 Instance and CloudFront. Also, are you hiring for junior full stack engineers? Best, Antonio.” Attached my resume here.
This is the formula. It provided me about a 10% conversion rate whereas applications, and just applying the jobs on things like LinkedIn led me nowhere. I applied to hundreds, if not thousands, and didn't get anywhere. This email that I sent got me in the door. It got me the first round interview at the company, because the CTO was fighting for me. He saw the value that I provided up front, and I immediately stood out from what was probably hundreds of thousands of emails, and resumes he probably got from that posting. Why? All because I decided to go the extra mile.
In order to help you with this, like I mentioned earlier, I created a spreadsheet to help you track who you're reaching out to. Also, one last thing. Do not be afraid to follow up. Tons of times people get distracted in their day to day lives, and your email isn't that important to them? What will happen is they will open it, and forget to respond, but they really meant to, so don't let the fear of following up hold you back, because I've gotten so many people to respond after the second, or the third email I sent them. It's just that simple.
Now, if you wanna know more about how I go the extra mile to get a job as a programmer, you can watch the video on screen here. Let me know in the comments below, if you have any questions about my process, I'd love to explain it with you in depth. I will catch you all in the next one.