Getting or changing a job is a full-time job itself in the US. You’ll need to check the web posts and open positions 2-3 times a week and apply for relevant positions. Find and engage with responsible recruiters and be ready for the interviews and almost the same questions from all the companies/recruiters/hiring managers.
They say you need to apply/send up to 50 resumes daily to be invited to two or three interviews. But let’s stay sane and find a job smarter, not harder.
In this lesson we will see six observations on the US IT job market:
First, you need to choose the type of employment that will suit you best. There are three types of employment you can pursue:
Depending on the type you choose the job search strategy.
People usually tend to choose a full-time job because of the benefits. You don’t need to think about vacations and insurance, everything is already organized by an HR specialist. Also, there’s a feeling that it’s more stable. On the other hand, a contractor's job has higher salary rates in comparison with a full-time job. The salary's attracting, but you don't forget that have to compensate for the absence of a 401k program, insurance and vacations by yourself.
With any type of employment, You can be fired unexpectedly. If you are a full-time employee you will receive salary compensation equal to several months of work, depending on the company it can be from 2 to 6 months. Most companies have a two-week notice, so you have some time to find a new job without a huge gap between the employment. If you are a contractor, your leave will be effected immediately.
But let’s talk about the full-time job more closely. It’s a more common scenario in the US.
When you have decided on the type of employment, you have to choose the company according to your other preferences: tech stack, products, projects, company values, mission, etc. Then you find the role which you pursue and apply.
To find the right company, you can go to these sources:
Also, you can do your search of the top companies in the US. You can google search for "type 50 top IT companies in the US" and find listings similar to these:
There are lots of approaches in a job search but I’d like to talk about the fastest ones.
In this scenario, your friend or former co-worker refers you to the company you want to work for.
Cons are none known.
You cooperate with the agency which proposes you to different companies. They cost nothing as the employer will pay them for their service in case they hire you.
A list of agencies can be found here.
You apply for the role by yourself. Then in a couple of days, you find a recruiter of that company on LinkedIn, connect with them and write a short introduction message attaching your CV and asking about your application status. Also, you can ask for the name of the responsible recruiter who you can contact. If there’s no reply on the third day, don’t shy away and send a follow-up message to the same recruiter.
In case this recruiter didn’t respond after your follow-up message, you can always find another recruiter on the website and connect with them. It’s a normal practice to engage with recruiters on LinkedIn this way. But don’t forget the magic words - please, and thank you work everywhere.
An observation: If you search for a new job constantly, you will be in different stages with different companies. It is less stressful. But it also means that with company A you will have your first technical interview while with company B you are at the last Manager interview. And when you receive a job offer from B you won’t be able to compare the compensation part from A as most of the job offers have an expiration date.
At the same time if you look for a job purposefully — it’s more stressful and usually takes 2-3 months minimum.
If you are looking for an internship or entry-level role, virtual job fairs are a good option:
Also, you can try Handshake. They are partnered with 90% of the nation’s colleges, universities, trade schools, and community colleges to power their career services department. Good for looking for a first internship or entry-level position.
Startups also like to hire junior specialists. And taking into account that you can work remotely from any part of the USA, the variety of companies is pretty wide for you these days.
When you choose the company/companies you’d like to work for, check their Career or Job field. If the company has internship programs it will be there. Please, also check entry-level or Associate roles in the company. Don’t be upset if you didn’t find anything. Check their websites in a month or two. Keep an eye on it.
"When" is also an important topic. Your strategy can fail or slow down during certain periods of the year.
We’d say August is one of the slowest months as the majority of Americans go on vacations with family and friends. Nobody starts new projects, which means no new roles. Existing roles and candidates are processed slowly and the Project Managers and other stakeholders including responsible recruiters are also on vacation. This means the interview process will be stretched out to several weeks.
September is known as the financial month of the year - it’s the time when most companies plan their budgets and projects for the next year. This means they activate hiring processes for current projects and future ones. And “winter holidays mood” starts with Thanksgiving and ends up in the mid of January.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for a job and apply for open positions during these times. It just means that there will be fewer responses in comparison with other months.
Strong motivation will help you present yourself at the interview with the recruiter or hiring manager. This is the part you should fill in on your own - we can only advise you to answer the questions in detail:
There is a good chance that human resources will ask you these questions, so it is worth preparing for them.
There are different hiring processes in different companies. We’ll mention three steps or interviews which will happen to you:
If you are at the first round with the recruiter, they ask questions about your motivation — what you are up to these days and why. The most common answers are:
There might be questions about your experience (if applicable) or your strongest skills. Usually, it means technical skills: like Java, frameworks, AWS, Azure, GCP etc. In the end, you can add something nice about yourself like “and I’m also a team player” if it’s true. Or that you are an excellent individual contributor. Tell them what you can bring to the company.
There are also questions about your:
Don’t be afraid to name the salary as a range:
After you name your range you can ask about the position rate and if you fit the role’s range. If you ask about the range before you name yours it won’t look nice. In any case, all the salaries are individual and depend on the experience and expertise you have and your presentation skills.
At this first interview ask about details of the role and responsibilities, the next steps, how engineers are growing in the company, and why your interviewer works in that company. Thus you get the inside information on the company and make up your mind whether you want to work for it or it’s better to pass.
Questions on how engineers are growing in the company, and why interviewers work in that company are relevant and good for any type of interview.
Avoid asking questions about the benefits at technical or manager or project interviews. And my best advice on how to prepare for the interview: have a good rest the night before and be in your best mood.
Let's discuss the most common ones:
Now you know getting or changing a job is a full-time job itself indeed. Let the energy and enthusiasm stay with you.
And use your common sense. Build a brand of yourself. Stay yourself. In 15-20 years you become a seasoned professional and no matter in which company you work everyone will know — you can do anything with this technology and it’s fun to work with you on the same team.
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