Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

May 2020 Entries

New Job Search World In 2020

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This year I got the worst April Fools joke.  I was laid off.  For the first time in my life I was without a job.  I came to the rude awakening that things were much different than the last time I had search for a new position over 10 years ago.  COVID-19 was in full force.  It was shutting down many companies and causing hiring freezes.  On top of that it seems that the IT industry as a whole has decided it is too risky to hire people directly and most opportunities are either contract or contract-to-hire. This was a whole new ballgame.  I figured I would create a post with what I learned.

One of the first things that I found is that almost no companies post directly to job sites anymore.  In the past I would have been talking mostly with a recruiter in the hiring company’s HR department.  Today, almost every posting is through a recruiting firm.  I had one company presented to me by at least 20 different recruiters.  It is insanity.  Most of these recruiters don’t even look at your resume and send you an email that says you would be a great fit for their client.  The advice I would give here is to be patient.  It is a numbers game where you have pull enough weeds to find good placement firms.  There still ones that we used to call head hunters.  They listen to what you are looking for.  They know what the industry terms mean and what the client actually needs.  When you find one of these keep their number for a rainy day.

The most frustrating thing I found is that most companies aren’t looking for good architects and developers.  They are looking for unicorns.  They want the employee that doesn’t actually exist.  You have to know every nuance of every technology and have used it just they way they do.  Don’t get me wrong, this has been a problem in the industry for the over 25 years I have worked in it.  Now it has become the norm.  You have to prove to them that even if you don’t know a particular product or tool, that you have used similar tools to solve the same kind of problems.  Show them that problems aren’t unique and can be solved with multiple approaches.

Once you get an interview you need to do more than show them that you know their technology.  You need to connect with them.  Traditionally people tell you to find out about the company and what they do.  That is great, but find something in common with the interviewer through their LinkedIn profile.  You may have gone to the same school, worked at the same places, know the same people or even have the same interests.  This makes a much better connection than trying to tell them how you understand their business.

Lastly, you need to have a story. What makes you a strong candidate for their company?  What in your life and your career have given you the experience to handle whatever they throw your way?  If you can tell them what you learned from each project you have had and how you improved by it, then you are much more attractive as a candidate.

The market is tough right now.  There are so many people out of work that it is an employers market. You have to do whatever you can to stand out.  I hope that these few thoughts can help someone on their search.