Your freshly framed degree occupies a place of honor on the wall above your desk. And while the rest of the world is getting ready to go on vacation, your excitement stems from the fact that the time has come for you to find your very first full time software engineer role.
Of course, you’re extremely fortunate. There simply couldn’t be a better time to be a software engineer.Approximately one million technology positions will go unfilled by 2020. Click To Tweet
Sure, this number includes a large number of IT roles such as systems managers and administrators. But the increasing role of technology for both commercial and private use, as well as the rapid pace at which new technology is adopted, means there will be an enormous demand for professionals who can develop new programs and adapt existing ones.
In other words, for people like you!
What’s more: the remuneration for software engineers is generous.
On average, these professionals earn around $100,000 per year. This amount can increase depending on the company you work for, your seniority, and the value of the intellectual property you produce.
So all things considered, finding a well-paying job shouldn’t be a problem.
However, finding the best software engineer role for you requires designing and implementing a strategic job search.
Follow these eleven steps, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of finding the position you want.
1. Determine what’s important to you in a role.
Software engineers can work in a wide variety of industries on a broad range of projects.
Make a list of what your ideal role includes.
Think of things like:
- the industry you want to work in
- the software specialty you enjoy most (and at which you excel!)
- opportunities to work with knowledgeable colleagues on cutting-edge projects
- career paths
The clearer you are on what you’re looking for, the easier it will be to narrow down your options.
2. Determine what’s important to you in an employer.
Every employer is unique, and what works well for one professional doesn’t work at all for another.
Figure out what you want from your employer.
Do you want it to actively develop its people by providing opportunities to grow and advance?
Do you want the company to share your values, for example in regard to social engagement, diversity, and equal opportunities?
Again, make a list of must-haves so you can refer to it later.
3. Determine what kind of work environment you’re looking for.
Another important aspect is the work environment.
Do you want it to be informal, or are you more at ease in a businesslike setting?
Are you looking for friendships at work?
What about flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flex work?
It’s important to be very clear with yourself about this, because your work environment has a huge impact on your job satisfaction and stress levels.
4. Determine what you want to earn.
Ah, the money question!
Of course, you want to earn as much as possible.
However, the best way to approach this aspect of your job search is to decide what the absolute minimum is that you’ll accept.
So long as it’s within a realistic range for your education and experience, you shouldn’t go any lower.
5. Polish and tailor your résumé.
Your résumé is going to be the document that gets you in the door, so you’d better make sure it’s current and professional.
Keep in mind that most companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) nowadays, so organize your résumé clearly and use plenty of keywords that are associated with the position you’re applying to.
At the same time, tweak your skills and experience to better correspond with the job requirements.
6. Make sure your personal website is current, and include a blog.
While “novelty” cover letters are most definitely not the way to go, it is advisable to create a personal website that offers potential employers more information about you than your résumé.
You can include photos, an expanded bio, and information about the projects you’ve worked on.
It’s also smart to include a blog and use it to showcase your knowledge about a specific subject.
Remember: if you can add more value to a company than another candidate, employers are more likely to want you.
7. Maximize your LinkedIn profile.
Many hiring managers review candidates’ LinkedIn profiles, so take some time to make sure yours is aligned with your résumé.
In addition, ask people you’ve worked with for endorsements, and try to be active in at least one professional group.
If you are ambitious, start a specific software engineer group yourself. You’ll make ties with others in the profession, and possibly attract employers or recruiters.
8. Clean up your social media presence.
Yes, social media is supposed to be social.
But the truth is that many employers will take a peek at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ pages.
There are two ways to ensure your social media presence isn’t a liability.
Either make all of your accounts private so the general public can’t see them; or take an afternoon to scrub up your profiles.
If you’re not sure what to hide or remove, ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable with an employer seeing this particular photo or post. If not, make sure a potential employer can’t see it.
9. Work with a specialized employment agency.
There are significant advantages to working with a recruiter who specializes in a software engineer role.
First, he or she has contacts within the companies you want to work for and often hears about openings before they’re advertised online.
Second, he or she usually has insights as to the company culture, as well as opportunities within the company.
By explaining to your recruiter exactly what you do and don’t want in a job, he or she can present you with the opportunities that could be a good match.
10. Present yourself professionally.
When you’re recommended for a position, be prompt, professional, and polite.
Always follow up after any interview to thank the hiring manager.
If you don’t get the job, it’s okay to ask what you could have done differently. That way, you can learn from each experience.
And don’t forget to check in with your recruiter to explain what you liked and didn’t like about the interview.
This will help your recruiter narrow down your requirements for future reference.
11. Maintain a strong relationship with your recruiter.
You can establish a strong relationship with your recruiter by checking in every couple of weeks and keeping him or her informed of new developments.
In addition, make sure to refer your friends and acquaintances—even when you’ve found your dream job.
The more you help people, the more they’re likely to give back.
Finding the best software engineer role for you could take some time—anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, or more.
In addition, you have to consider that your ideal role might require you relocating to a different city or even a different country for a while.
Keep the steps above in mind and communicate clearly with your recruiter about what you want and don’t want in a job.
Your chances of finding the best software engineer role for you improve drastically.