In theory, tech’s notably low unemployment rate (2.6 percent) should give job hunters plenty of opportunities to land interviews, offers, and high starting salaries. But what if you’re having trouble finding a position that fits your skills, experience, and desires?
Don’t give up! Here are five things that may be working against you—and some ways to overcome the hurdles of hunting for tech jobs in a red-hot market.
A Broken Recruiting Process?
Candidates are looking for jobs, but employers can’t seem to find them. Something is obviously out of whack. But what? Blame it on a broken recruiting process, says Ben Sesser, CEO and co-founder of recruitment software firm BrightHire.
When recruiters are inexperienced or lack training, they struggle to look a résumé and decide whether the candidate’s skills, knowledge and experience make them a good fit for a role and culture.
If an evaluator can’t immediately see how you’ve used your skills to drive results or is left to conjecture about your values and objectives, they are going to gravitate toward candidates who look like a match on paper.
How can you fix a broken recruiting process from the outside? Connect the dots for the evaluator. In your résumé and job interviews, explain in detail how your technical and soft skills, achievements, interests and values are related to the role, Sesser said. Even better, call the recruiter or hiring manager after applying to explain why you’re interested in working for the company and what you hope to achieve.
Job Title Discrepancies
If your current job title, level or tenure doesn’t appear to match the job, your résumé may fall into the dreaded black hole, explained Pete Radloff, senior technical leadership recruiter for a FAANG company. To pass the so-called 10-second résumé test, see how your current level and tenure compares to the positions at your target company (you can use a tool such as levels.fyi). Then, modify your job title to match your qualifications and the position you’re applying to—but remember to cover your bases by putting your actual job title in parentheses.
To paint a complete picture, you can also include additional titles in parentheses to emphasize other relevant duties and abilities.
Appearing to be “Non-Promotable”
You feel confident because you are technically strong and can perform all of the tasks specifically outlined in the job description. The problem is that you can’t seem to turn interviews into offers, at least not so far.
What’s wrong? Most hiring managers aren’t just looking for someone who can do the job today—they want someone who can grow and take on leadership duties in the future, even if it’s a de facto leadership position.
To increase your chances of landing an offer, portray yourself as someone who is capable of leading and taking on more, Radloff advised. During the job interview, for example, don’t just talk about the tools you used to complete a project, but describe how you reached decisions and built consensus within the organization.
Think of it from the employer’s perspective: They want to hire someone who believes strongly in the company’s mission and is capable of contributing to its culture and future success, Sesser said: “The secret to landing an offer is to show that you not only understand the culture but are capable of adding to it or enhancing it.”
A Bad Candidate Experience
Have you been ghosted after submitting an application or participating in an interview? You’re not alone.
Not every company respects candidates or is committed to providing them with transparent, timely communication throughout the hiring process. In a nutshell, unless you target companies that clearly outline their hiring process, criteria and timeline, list contact information for recruiters, and commit to providing updates and an explanation for unfavorable decisions, you could be left hanging or wondering what you need to do to improve.
You can get a sense for how you’ll be treated by comparing the information on the company’s career page and job postings to this list of ingredients for a positive candidate experience.
If you aren’t getting bites despite applying to jobs you’re qualified for, and diligently executing important basics like networking, following-up and building a strong online presence, you may be the victim of unconscious bias. According to a survey by WerkLabs, 95 percent of workers over 40 say they have tried to physically hide or mask their appearance in interviews, out of fear of being discriminated against because of their age.
In addition to seeking out diverse work environments where age is less of a potential factor, take the time to remove graduation dates, outdated technologies and jobs from over 10 years ago from your résumé and social media profiles. Select a flattering, age-neutral profile image and be ready to tout your vast experiences as a valuable asset, especially during interviews.