If you are my boss and you are reading this... no, I'm not looking for another job!
About two years ago I decided to quit the job I had back then after around 6 years on the same company, and I had to prepare for the incoming interviews I was planning to have (fun fact, I only had one) because for that period of time I had none (yep, I'm that loyal) so I considered myself a little bit rusty on that area.
Looking for a new job is a job itself. It's not just about scheduling interviews and going to them, you need to prepare, otherwise your chances are pretty low (trust me, I conduct interviews, so I'm on the other side of the table).
No politician in America will tell you this, but every boss will: You can’t just show up. You need a plan to succeed.
"Thank You for Being Late" by Thomas L. Friedman
Once I wrote a post about how being average at work is over and how it won't take you anywhere, and that concept applies now again for your job hunting.
Update your resume and experience information
Sounds basic but you will be surprised if I tell you how many candidates don't do it and how they end up saying things such as "Oh, no, after that job I have another position for a few years but I sent you the outdated resume".
The resume is your opening, it speaks for you before you even utter a word, and it's what gives you your interview (or the reason why you don't get one).
It doesn't need to be long, nor fancy. It just needs to be up to date, including your current and past experiences (all of them relevant to the job you are looking for, at least), with not only the job titles and dates, but with a short list of the actual tasks you performed.
Don't tell me you were a "Front end developer", but tell me what you actually did on that role, with what technologies did you work, of what other "soft" tasks you were part of (did you interview people? did you conduct workshops?).
Say "Hi" with a cover letter
You can't just attach a PDF of your resume and send it to a thousand emails... well, yes, you can, won't be ideal... or do it, that's fine, but include a cover letter.
The cover letter is how you say "Hi". In the real world you don't walk into a company's office and throw a printed resume at the HR employee working at that moment: you say "Hi" before.
In a few lines, in a short text, you can introduce yourself by telling a little bit about who you are, what's your current situation and what are you looking for.
You can have a template, but I would suggest you to personalize it for each application. Remember to talk like an human.
Take a look at what I sent when applying for my current job, in 2018:
I’m a front end developer focused on eCommerce, specifically in Magento and VTEX, and I have been working with these two platforms since 2013 starting with Magento 1 even before the RWD theme and now dealing with Magento 2 while getting to know what’s coming in PWA related to this platform.
Right now I work at Current Company (https://www.linkedin.com/company/current-company) but I’m looking for a change. I guess by the “Career openings” section in your website that you probably aren’t looking to fill any position with a person working remote, but a friend that went through your recruiting process told me about you and I thought it wouldn't be much of an inconvenience to apply.
If by any chance you’re looking for a remote developer I also completed the developer test available at GitHub, and here’s the link with the requested functionalities: https://github.com/link-to-tes
You can check my experience in my LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nahuelsanchez, let me know if you want a PDF version of my CV or something else.
Thank you very much.
The subject of that email was "I'm a Magento front-end developer".
Prepare to be Googled
The very least thing that will happen on the process of reviewing your application is that your LinkedIn profile will be checked, your GitHub account will be tracked down... you will be searched on Google.
If you are going to have a LinkedIn profile, then have it up to date, otherwise is counterproductive. If you have this polished then you will be already covering the previous section about having a good resume (check mine).
Something really good to have in order to highlight yourself among other candidates is to own a blog, related, even if vaguely, to the job you are looking for.
Clearly, owning a blog is not easy at all as it requires time to build an archive of data worth showing, but it is also a good example of how looking for a new job is not something that should (must? will?) happen quickly.
You need to build an online presence, specially on the IT sector: participate in forums, Twitter, engage in LinkedIn conversations, attend conferences, be a "member of the community" at some capacity.
Have a reason for changing jobs
Money is a reason, and it's a valid one, just have that clear before the interview and be able to explain it.
When I changed jobs years ago I remember the reason was that I was feeling always on a run on my previous position, not enjoying it, and I mainly though that the way we were doing things could be different.
I didn't know exactly how different, but I knew the processes could be better in a way, and me looking for a job change was mostly focused on looking for a different way to work on web development related projects.
Whatever is driving you into looking for a new job is personal, and only you know it.
My two cents here is that don't let any anger to your current job or current company be the main reason why you are thinking of quitting and moving on.
Decide how much money you are after
Be serious. We all want a million dollars, and maybe you think you are worth that much, that's fine, just as long as you are being realistic.
Deciding how much money we would like to be pay on our next job starts with knowing how much we are doing right now in our current position, and how that is translated into the different payment forms existing out there.
For example, maybe you are getting a monthly salary right now, but that's not exactly how all companies pay its employees. Some pays every 15 days, some talks salary while expressing it on a year-time period, a lot of companies on the IT sector have a price per hour scheme, and not all companies use the same currency.
Take your current salary on its current form, and understand how to express it in all its variations, so you know how much you are currently worth when asked.
Having this all clear makes it easy to not only decide how much to ask for then, but it will come at handy when reviewing a counter proposal or comparing different offers in case you are lucky enough to find yourself on that position.
Know the company you are applying at
I can understand that you will be applying for multiple positions at the same time looking to win one, but that's no excuse to come unprepared for those interview opportunities you nailed.
Between the moment the interview is scheduled and when it actually happens there's plenty of time to investigate the company that is giving you a shot.
Looking at the company's website is the very least you must do, but there's clearly more. For example, since I applied to an eCommerce agency, I reviewed the sites they have launched to check the designs they were doing and how their code looked like.
If you have ever been on a first date with somebody you didn't really know much, you might as well have stalked him/her on plenty of social media sites... well, this is kind of the same situation.
It is possible that you will be asked, by the company itself, why you have chosen them, and even if you are not you still need to know the company you are applying at to actually discover if you think you'll fit or not.
Have a script at hand
Everything you had prepared before, and more, needs to be with you during the interview, which is extremely easy if the interview happens online.
- Have in detail what a normal work day looks like for you.
- Have your experienced detailed, with the actual tasks you performed, in case you need to go deep into them while talking.
- Have a list of projects you worked on, with a short explanation for them and the technologies you used.
- Have the reasons you are having that interview in writing, in case you were asked for.
- Have your current salary, and what you will be requesting now, at hand in case the discussion reaches that point.
The interview itself should be human friendly, and it's a bidirectional conversation, which means that you can (and certainly must) ask questions too, specifically focused in knowing the company beyond what you discovered while stalking it.
Be prepare to share something personal too, as again this is a conversation between humans. Do you have any hobby you would like to share? Any activities besides working that will be worth mention? Something about your family?
Finally, learn from past interviews. If you don't land the first one, try to understand what could you have done different, what you missed, and be even more prepare in the next one.