Monday, April 27, 2009

How to find a new Tech job

With the downturn in the economy, many people in the tech industry are finding themselves laid-off. Don't despair, as there are always opportunities for the right people, and I've notice a recent upswing in hiring activity.

Now is a great time to take stock, and work out exactly what you are looking for in the next role.  Don't just jump into the first opportunity, but take time to consider what you really want to do with your life.  Big company? Small company? Career change? Startup? Sit down with a piece of paper and work out where you want to be in five years - then create a roadmap of how to get there.

Once you know what you are looking for, here are some suggestions, based on my own recent experience:
  1. Don't let your ego dictate that you need the job with the biggest salary or biggest title. Choose the role based on your career roadmap and best fit - the happier you are, with the best fit, will produce the best long term opportunities.
  2. Linkedin is easily the best job and contact finding service. Change your profile to show that you are now looking - insert a dummy company that says "looking for the next opportunity". Search the jobs available regularly, and apply for anything that looks promising. Recruiters regularly scan linked in looking for candidates.
  3. Make sure you have linkedin recommendations, and ask for them before you need them.
  4. Always reply to recruiters, and build a relationship - even if you are happily employed. Recruiters remember people who helped them fill positions by recommendations.
  5. Update your resume to two pages maximum.  Remember that the aim of the resume is to get an interview, not the job.  Be as results focused as possible, and have friends and colleagues critique the document.
  6. Reach out to your network via phone, email etc.  Now is a great time to catch up with friends for coffee etc.
  7. Research the company and products before any interview.  This includes reading 3rd party material like analysts etc. I've always been amazed when interviewing for PM roles, that some candidates don't even understand what the company does.
  8. Practice before an interview - have friends and colleagues interview you, and prepare to answer possible tricky questions.  
  9. Have 5 or so questions of your own ready - show that you've thought about the role - my first questions  are always:  "what do you expect me to have produced in 90 days and 180 days?" and "How would you judge success for this role".
  10. During interviews, try to demonstrate results by showing actual work (if possible).  I have a (non-confidential) reseller kit that we produced at Citrix, and was able to use that as an example of channel marketing.  Bring in press releases that you authored, public presentations etc.  Never show (or keep) confidential material as that brings your integrity into question.
  11. During the interview, don't talk past the close - once the interviewer indicates that they want you to meet some more people, the selling is over.
  12. Once into the interview process, assemble your thoughts into a presentation for the interviewers - this is what I did recently - put together a business plan based on my notes from the CEO, execs & board.  While this is a somewhat risky move this will show them how you think, and likely will allow you to better evaluate your fit with the organization.
  13. Don't forget during an interview that you are also interviewing the company to ensure the right fit.
One thing I learned from recent events was the need to build a network before you need one i.e. take the time to meet as many people as you can in your industry and area - you can do this at seminars, conferences, startup events etc. Reach out to the type of people you'd like to be working with in the future.


  1. Brilliant tips. Very useful and easy to follow without having to practise Yoga first.

    I hope you don't mind, I linked you over at my blog and added an excerpt.

  2. No problems, glad you found it useful