This blog post was written by guest contributor Lillian Pierson, PE, of Data-Mania, LLC.

 

========================= SPOILER ALERT =========================

Read through this article and you’ll not only learn how to LAND your dream job, you’ll also find out about the Aspire Scholarship for recent graduates to become Java Developers and gain the opportunity to work for a Fortune 500 company.

The past few months have thrown us headfirst into an entirely different world. Through all of the tumult, the tech space has remained steady and Big Tech is stronger than ever. After all, working remotely is what us digital-centric folk do best!

Still, many people are struggling in these rollercoaster times to land jobs and kick-start their careers. There are plenty of jobs out there — but grads and career changers often don’t realize the plethora of job-hunting “hacks” or strategies at their disposal.

I know that these sorts of strategies are needed because I see the job-hunt struggle firsthand — every. single. day.

Day 54 of my lockdown, for example. It’s just another Thursday. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic I’m working from home, like most people the world over. I’m starting to lose hope we’ll be allowed out again anytime over the next 6 months.

In my Instagram stories, I see that my friend (let’s call her “Cindy”) is struggling. She shares videos of her fifth day in a hospital room with other infected patients. Times are tough. My brain does a complete 180-degree turn from “you’re locked up” to “you should be more grateful. At least you have work to do from home. At least you have your health and your family.”

I check Facebook, and as my profile loads, I see 17 notifications waiting for me.

It’s only been four hours since I last checked Facebook, and I already have three new messages from people asking me to help them land a job in the tech space.

These sorts of messages have been getting more and more frequent.

And what really kills me about them?

They’re usually from young, hard-working STEM grads who just can’t seem to land a role in the current global environment.

It’s heartbreaking.

There was never a better time than now for me to share this, to help people, to do what I can do.

I’ve worked in the tech and data space for over a decade. I’ve helped 1 MILLION PEOPLE learn to use data to generate business value, and I know all the strategies and tips to finding good jobs in the tech and data worlds.

Through this article, I want to let you in on some effective, common-sense practices that you can weave into your own job search strategy.

DO THESE THINGS, and you will:

  • Make great use of your degree.
  • Start making those good grades pay.
  • Land a high-paying job in the tech space.
  • Launch the career you’ve dreamed of!

READ THIS ARTICLE and you’ll get:

  • THREE ACTIONABLE STEPS to help you land a job even in this most trying of times
  • BONUS ADVICE on how to enhance Zoom for effective online job interviews
  • THREE TIPS for optimizing your LinkedIn profile

MAKE IT TO THE END, and I’m sharing:

This scholarship opportunity is seriously not to be missed. The tips in this article apply to everyone, but you’ll definitely want to read on if you’re a recent or soon-to-be university grad who’s eligible for this incredible opportunity!

More on those eligibility requirements shortly …

Job Search: Online Job Search Methods to Land Employment Positions

Yes, it’s a tough environment for job hunters. Yes, employment is uncertain across many sectors. But yes, you can get a tech job in spite of everything that’s going on, and YES, I’m going to share with you exactly how to do that.

Who is hiring?

There are still many fields out there that are actively hiring. Pay special attention to advertisements from the following industries; they’re not only surviving through COVID-19, they’re thriving in spite of it:

  • Shipping and delivery companies
  • Online learning companies
  • Pharmacies, grocery stores, and home delivery meal services
  • Remote communications and meeting services
  • IT

The majority of these businesses will advertise via LinkedIn for new staff, and I’m a firm believer in LinkedIn as THE PLACE for tech job hunters.

But how do you use it to best effect?

Here are the three key actions you can take on LinkedIn today to improve your job hunting strategy.

1)  Source the Roles

There’s more to LinkedIn than meets the eye. Finding the right role is actually half your battle. There is zero point in applying for jobs that simply aren’t the right fit for you.

Here’s one way I narrow things down in LinkedIn to find more relevant, appropriate positions:

First, click on the “Jobs” section. Then, in the search bar, type in the keyword associated with the primary role you’re able to perform. For example, I would choose to search for “Data Scientist.”

Once you’ve hit “Search” on your job title, you’ll want to filter the results to best effect.

Weed out jobs that have been sitting around for too long. These are roles that have probably had a large number of applicants already, and hiring managers may already be conducting interviews for them. Insist on applying for old jobs? You’re wasting your time.

Make sure you’re seeing only fresh roles by setting the “Date Posted” filter to “Past Week.” This is particularly important in the current environment, when many companies have put a freeze on hiring. By choosing to see only those jobs posted in the past week or so, you’ll know the hiring companies are still going strong and are still wanting — in spite of everything — to hire new talent.

Next, try to find roles that have fewer applicants. This way, you’ve got a much better chance of rising to the top of the pack and being seen by those doing the hiring! Click on the “LinkedIn Features” button and select the “Under 10 Applicants” option to filter the results.

Finally, you can find roles better suited to your level of experience by sorting the results to suit. Just click the “Experience Level” button and select the options that best describe your expertise. If you’re just graduating and starting out, I’d choose the “Entry level” and “Associate” options.

2)  Find Folks You Know

In this screen grab of a .Net developer job, you can see that I have seven connections already working at JPMorgan Chase & Co. If I know even one of these people enough to reach out to him or her, I can leverage that relationship and get help finding the name and contact details of the hiring manager responsible for any given role.

Why is that important? Knowing your audience is 100% of the work you need to do NOW so you can execute a perfect job application in Step 3.

When considering each job post, first try and get an idea of the following:

  • What the role involves
  • Who you would be reporting to
  • The location

Your next step is to click on the name of the company that is hiring, and take a look at their “People” section.

When you’re there, click “show more” on the “Where they live” section, and look for the city mentioned in the job listing you were interested in.

When you’ve found that city, click on it, and then scroll through the employees, looking for the person whose job title seems to indicate he or she might be the hiring manager for the company in that particular location.

Write down this person’s name and copy the link to his or her profile page. You’ll want to keep these contacts on hand when you come to writing up your cover letter and applying for roles.

3)  Apply & Follow Up Flawlessly

Finding the role and the hiring manager is your groundwork — but now comes the execution. Do it right, and you could be popping the celebratory champagne sooner than you think!

In this step, you’ll take the following 3 actions:

  1. Apply for a job on the LinkedIn platform by submitting your CV.
  2. Write a stellar cover letter (as instructed below), and attach it to your CV application before submitting.
  3. Directly contact the hiring manager you identified in Step 2 above, and send them the cover letter directly (more instruction on how to do that follows).

The success of your follow-up is entirely linked to the quality of your cover letter. I want to teach you how to tackle this part of the job hunt because it’s the part SO many people do last, and do wrong.

The secret to a good cover letter?

AIDA

And no, I’m not talking about the opera by Verdi.

AIDA, at least in my world, stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. These are the four key sections your letter needs to have, and they go a little something like this:

ATTENTION

This is the header of your letter. It needs to be highly relevant to the position description, so make sure you go back and review that before you start writing. To capture the hiring manager’s attention, you’ll need to write a statement that touches on key competencies mentioned in the job description. For example, if the role is for a software developer and seeks someone with all the usual technical abilities, but also mentions “team building” and “mentoring” competencies, then your attention statement should make it clear that you ARE that very specific piece of the puzzle they’ve been looking for.

How to do this?

One way is to do a little research and find a really interesting, attention-grabbing statistic about the importance of teamwork in software development. Something like:

“Software developers have been shown to be 58% more productive in their work when involved in company team-building activities.”

Now, this isn’t a real statistic, but try and find one relevant to the role you’re applying for and lead with it.

INTEREST

This is your chance to show not only your experience but also your confidence as an expert in the industry. In this section, you should write two to three sentences offering a deeper understanding of the field and the type of work and pain points relevant to the job description.

For the sample software development role, for example, I might write about:

  • The value of having excellent technical skills
  • The value of team building in software development

This helps show off my knowledge and to re-emphasize how well I tick off their key competencies.

DESIRE

Here’s your chance to make them want you. It’s important to strike the right balance in a cover letter between enough detail to sound credible and so much detail the hiring manager’s eyes glaze over!

You could phrase the section a little something like this:

“Without burrowing down too much into the technical detail of how I’ve used my development skills to optimize operations for X corporation (or Y college, if you’re fresh out of school), here are some results that speak for themselves:

  • I saved $X per month for Y corporation by […]
  • X man hours per month were decreased at Y corporation due to the work I did with […], providing a return of $X per year.”

By offering these insights, you help the hiring managers to see that you are conscious that it’s the business’s bottom line that’s at stake, and that you’re able to get them results in terms of dollars and cents.

This section is also a great place to link to your portfolio.

ACTION

This is your last chance to impress. Be confident, be decisive, be polite.

“I’ve linked my CV below for the X position. You can reach me directly at [e-mail address], but I will give you a call at the number I have on hand for you (XX-XX-XX) at 2 p.m. Thursday so we can chat further about how I can produce next-level results for [company name]. Please let me know in the meantime if there’s a better number to reach you on.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Your Name

[Link to CV]”

And that’s your cover letter!

Now you can use this as a template that you can customize for each different job application.

Here’s what to do with it:

  • Go to the LinkedIn profiles of those hiring managers you identified earlier, get LinkedIn Premium, which allows you to message people who aren’t already your contacts, and click the “message” button at the top of their profiles.
  • Send your cover letter via this message system, but do a Google search and see if you can find their e-mail address too. If you can, you should also send a copy of the letter via e-mail.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget to call the number at the time you said you would! They may or may not pick up, but at the very least you’ve followed through on a promise, and at best, you might just find yourself at the front of the pack thanks to a bit of extra effort and gumption!

 

LinkedIn Profile Optimization: My Top 3 Tips

Knowing how to play the LinkedIn job search function to your advantage is all well and good, but it’s also IMPERATIVE that your LinkedIn profile is shipshape and up to scratch.

Don’t believe it can make a difference?

I got a 47x increase in LinkedIn search appearances in just two weeks by making a few small tweaks to my profile!

TIP 1: Keyword Discovery

Just like you use keywords to find anything online, keywords will also help businesses find you on LinkedIn — so use them well!

Here are the four simple steps that you can take in order to identify and use keywords in LinkedIn to your advantage:

  • Go to the “Jobs” section of LinkedIn.
  • Read through a variety of relevant job listings.
  • Note down the keywords that keep jumping out at you from these listings.
  • Use these keywords (sparingly) in your LinkedIn headline, summary, and experience sections.

TIP 2: Don’t Overlook Aesthetics

Your LinkedIn profile image and banner image may not seem as important as your experience and education, but FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT.

If your LinkedIn profile picture is currently a selfie taken in front of your bathroom mirror, then changing it should be a priority! Professional profile shots and sharp banner images that match your career and personality are key.

It’s not just the look of images that is important. By naming your images appropriately, they’ll come up in Google and LinkedIn searches when managers go looking for those keywords.

TIP 3: SEO Optimization

Search engine optimization is the be-all and end-all of online life. There are a number of ways you can improve the SEO of your LinkedIn profile, including:

  • Backlinks
  • Anchor links
  • A customized profile URL
  • Increased connections
  • Well-named images

Spend some time on each of these, and your LinkedIn profile will be fully optimized in no time!

Opportunities are Out There

Getting a job can feel difficult.

Getting a job in the midst of a global pandemic can seem … overwhelming.

BUT — there is good news.

Life goes on. Business continues. And there ARE plenty of jobs out there, plenty of new hires happening, plenty of successful candidates securing roles.

If you follow my advice from this article, you’ll find yourself THAT MUCH CLOSER to a career win.

How?

Let’s recap:

  • Use LinkedIn filters to source active and relevant roles.
  • Research hiring managers and target them directly.
  • Follow up with an effective cover letter.
  • Ace your Zoom interview by enhancing your settings.
  • Make your LinkedIn profile sparkle with keywords, great images, and SEO.

BUT WAIT, there may just be a shortcut to all of this!

Tech talent company mthree is offering the Aspire Scholarship, in partnership with coding bootcamp The Software Guild, to eligible applicants. This scholarship will not only equip you with 12 weeks of online training in the full-stack java development field, but also work to place you in a full-time role at a global investment bank or financial technology company at the end of training.

Check out the eligibility criteria, and if you fit the bill, head on over to mthree.com to read more and apply for your spot!

mthree is looking for:

  • University graduates who graduated in 2019 or who will graduate in 2020
  • Individuals holding a STEM or Computer Science degree from any university
  • Those with a GPA 3.0+/- current average
  • Age: 20-24
  • Right to work: green card holders or U.S. citizens
  • Geo-flexible: Must be able to move to New York, Delaware, Chicago, Washington DC, or Texas
  • Numerate, technically competent, and capable of thinking critically and scientifically; good at problem solving, creativity, and innovation; an ability to learn and apply new knowledge and skills
  • Individuals who have some prior some coding experience

Women are especially encouraged to apply!

This is a fantastic opportunity, so get your applications in!

Lillian Pierson, PE, is a data consultant to Fortune 500 companies and CEO of Data-Mania, LLC. You can follow her on her website and LinkedIn.