By Lauren SauserAugust 22, 2016

Stacked Model: How to Expedite Your Job Search

Changing careers and finding the perfect job is about dedication, confidence, and sticking to a system. In your quest to become a professional software developer, improving your skills at a coding bootcamp and stacking your job applications can lead to multiple offers and higher pay.

Even after you’ve earned a phone screen, second-round interview, or office trial, experts advise to keep your focus on applying to as many jobs as possible.

“Candidates need to understand they’re playing a numbers game,” Code Fellows CEO Dave Parker, said. “Stacking the processes for simultaneously searching, applying, and interviewing for jobs will yield better results at the end of your job hunt and seed future opportunities. Think of every meeting as another connection in your network.”

Speed Typing
Credit: Giphy

In a recent survey of Code Fellows’ graduates, those who who received multiple offers during their hunt saw an average offer increase of 13 percent for salaried positions, and 28 percent for contract jobs. Parker suggests preparing for 18 interviews over an eight- to 12-week period, giving yourself time to build momentum, and to establish clear expectations for yourself and the companies vying for your talent.

Use the following tips to go forth and job hunt with stacked confidence:

  • Create a unique cover letter for every position you apply for. Jodi Glickman, author of Great on the Job, told the Harvard Business Review that sending out 100 identical resumes is a waste of time, and that candidates should find the 10 companies they want to work for, and put some heart and soul into the applications.

  • Create a unique resume for every opportunity, as well. Pull directly from job descriptions to personalize each resume you send out, and keep it specific. Applicants often massage their resumes to fit four or five very different jobs, despite that hiring managers are looking for specialized talent.

  • You may be head-over-heels for a certain brand, but never apply for multiple positions at the same company, at the same time. It will make you look desperate and—for most jobs—it will nix the idea that you’re a particularly great hire for any one position. Instead, apply once and wait to get word back; then, apply again for a later, different position.

  • Stay organized in your job search to ensure that every networking conversation gets a follow-up, and that no relevant job posting goes unnoticed. By using a simple spreadsheet or other digital tools, you can stay organized, up-to-date, and proactive.

  • Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, advises job hunters to “use social networks to boost your networking power… start following people in [your] industry on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. Through these networks, research employers and reach out to them through trusted friends and colleagues who might be able to make introductions.”

  • Get out and network! Many organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems, which are designed to quickly push out non-qualified applicants by using a set of questions that immediately disqualify people if answered incorrectly. It’s estimated that as many as 50 percent of applicants are disqualified before their resume even reaches an actual person. The answer is to get out and network personally. Find local events and meetups to connect with companies in your area, and ask for informational interviews or a chance to meet up over coffee with employed developers (side note: since you’re asking them to take time out of their day to talk to you, spot them their coffee). Let them know that you’re not looking at their employer necessarily—you just want their perspective on the industry. There is no “Easy Button” for a great job. Getting out and meeting people is a key way to build relationships both now when you need them to find a job and in the future when you’re looking to advance your career.

To further your confidence and grit when applying for jobs, Code Fellows’ Career Development Training is offered to every student in Code 401, where you’ll develop effective resumes, create professional social profiles, and learn the best practices for interviewing and building your personal brand.