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7 Strategic Ways to Optimize Your Job Search

By: Emily Gregor
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This post originally appeared on Fullstack Academy's blog.

One of the top questions prospective students ask the Fullstack admissions team is what the hiring outcomes will be like when they graduate—what salary should they expect? What companies are even hiring right now? What types of roles will their Fullstack education prepare them for?

Fullstack’s Career Success team works to provide clarity to these questions and prepare students for every scenario they’ll encounter throughout the job search process.

“The career success team is prepared not just to help you find any job (or any high-paying job) but a job that matches your interests that you will find professionally fulfilling and that will lead to long-term career growth. I think that this is unique among bootcamps,” says Fullstack alum Sam Bakkila, a Curriculum Product Manager at Codecademy.

To get a better idea of what graduates can expect in the job market right now, Co-Founder and Co-CEO David Yang sat down with Fullstack’s Director of Career Success, Lesia Harhaj, in our latest Fireside Chat (make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one!).

No matter what the job market is like over the next three to six months, the tips below will help you manage your time, avoid burnout, and stand out to recruiters.

1. Have a plan that’s unique to you

When it comes to crafting an effective job search strategy, it’s important to have a plan that’s unique to you.

“Don’t do what your friend or colleague is doing. Figure out how you work best,” Lesia says.

During a Fullstack immersive experience, students learn how to develop their ideal job-search process—including dedicating time to craft thoughtful cover letters, reaching out to former bosses and colleagues to update them on their new skills, and working on new projects every week, sometimes even sharing their progress publicly.

2. Practice time management and stay organized

One of Lesia’s top tips? Make a schedule and practice effectively managing your time.

“Make a schedule for your job search activities,” she says. “It can seem like the day is very long, but if you put a schedule together, it will really help you stay organized.”

In addition to the organizational benefits, making a schedule will help you avoid burnout and maintain your mental health.

A sample schedule could look like this:
8am: Get up, work out, and eat breakfast
9am to 11am: Send out applications
12pm: Take a lunch break
1pm to 3pm: Practice technical interviewing
6pm to 7pm: Attend a networking event

3. Attend virtual networking events

Now that events have gone virtual, you have even more opportunities to meet new people and grow your network.

“Make sure you’re attending networking events virtually and make sure you’re following up with recruiters,” Lesia says.

Look to resources like Meetup and hackerhours.org, organizations that align with your values (we’re always looking to Alley and Lesbians Who Tech for relevant and fun events), and companies you want to work for to find networking events you’re interested in—you never know what might lead to a new connection.

Another important step to take when job searching is once you find a job or company you’re interested in, try to find someone in your network who has a connection, and then see if they’d be willing to refer you.

“Applying for something and then getting someone internally to email that recruiter is a huge thing,” David says. “An internal email talking about a job applicant can be really powerful.”

4. Set actionable goals

When it comes to goal-setting, it’s important to set actionable goals. Instead of setting one big goal like “get a job”, try to set smaller daily goals that will help you get you there.

“The job search can be lengthy and time-consuming, so we encourage students to set actionable goals,” Lesia says.

Some examples of actionable goals could include submitting a certain number of job applications, reaching out to a certain number of people about job opportunities, or spending a specific amount of time researching an industry, job title, or salary information.

The more you can break down your goals, the more they’ll start to feel like accomplishments—and you’ll feel more motivated to keep going.

5. Avoid sending out cold applications

This one is a big no-no, but not necessarily because you won’t move forward in the interview process. This has more to do with focusing on the jobs that are most likely to help you achieve your career goals.

“You should be choosing jobs that you want to work at, not just applying for the sake of applying,” Lesia says. “Choose jobs that you’re interested in because that’s going to come across in your materials.”

When you’re selective about which jobs you apply for, you’re more likely to be more thoughtful and effective in your cover letter, resume, and other application materials.

6. Be willing to organize activities and events

“Being able to teach a topic or host a hackathon can be a great way to network,” David says.

From collaborating on tech solutions for COVID-19 to alums like Talia Fayaz, who hosted a hackathon to support the Black Lives Matter movement, this tip is one many Fullstack alumni have taken to heart.

David notes that many people are interested in events like these but don’t want to do the work to make it happen, so if you’re willing to organize it, you might be surprised by how many people are interested—not to mention it’s a project you can share with recruiters during your job search.

7. Keep at it

The job search process can be exhausting, but if you implement the tips above and stay resilient, we guarantee you’ll come out on top.

Fullstack’s Career Success team can help you stay motivated and focused—from the first day of our immersive programs to the day you sign your final job offer.

Learn more about whether attending Fullstack is right for you by familiarizing yourself with our curriculum and what sets us apart from other coding bootcamps.

Want more tips on acing your job search? Up next: These eight virtual interview tips will help you land your dream software engineering job.