So you sent your resume to your favorite companies, and never heard back from them?
Guess what, you are not alone. Top technology companies like Google receive over 2 million job applications in a year and hire about 5000 people only. So the average applicant’s odds are 1 out of 400, says Laszlo Bock, head of people operations at Google. Presumably this includes all roles in Google, it is quite possible that odds are even lower for their engineering positions.
Admittedly, this is one of the premier technology companies, but the situation is not much different at other places as well. There is a good chance that your resume is going to be shelved without you ever figuring out the reason behind it. To not end up in the rejected pile, you must avoid the following mistakes in your software engineer resume.
1. Not sending your resume via an employee referral
If you are applying directly via a company’s website or through a job board, please stop!
As per the Impact Group study in 2010, job applications using networking or referrals are far more successful than applying online. 26.7% of external hires made by organizations came from referrals, making it the number one external source of hiring for the participating firms. 46% of men and 39% of women find their jobs through networking. The higher your salary, the more effective networking becomes. (src: julliengordon.com).
How to get referred?
Now that we know that referrals are the single most reliable option of landing interviews, let’s see what you can do about it-
- The most obvious way – Apply to companies where your friends or ex-colleagues can refer you – See how Steph Jang hustled a job at Khan Academy.
- Connect with an employee of your target company on LinkedIn and send them a polite and intelligent email. Patrick Mckenzie gave a great example of such a cold email on Hacker News recently. Here is a modified version of his example:
I saw your presentation at $CONFERENCE last year on Youtube. Great stuff; loved what you did with $FOO, in particular $COMMENT_PROVING_YOU_KNOW_WHAT_YOU'RE_TALKING_ABOUT.I'm also a $FOO developer. I noticed that your company is hiring for $ROLE. I’d love to be a part of your team. Do you have a few minutes to chat on Thursday about what you guys are doing?
Your website or any public profile link”
- Sometimes, the ‘earning referral’ strategy also works where you get yourself noticed by other means. See if you can help improve their open source code or report issues with their product/site.