The Three Job Challenge

The most effective way we know to kick start your job-search process.

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The 3 Job Challenge is one of the most amazing and useful assignments that we've discovered, through trial and error, that you can use to kick-start your job search process. It cuts to the heart of the most important facet of the Viking Method for Getting Hired: that hiring is driven by 1-on-1 connections.

This assignment will force you out of your comfort zone by requiring you to reach out to a handful of real developers. If this seems like the kind of thing you'd naturally prefer not to do, it's 10x as important for you to do it! This will not only seed your network with a few potential connections but also help you develop a robust process for implementing your job search over the coming months.

This challenge takes time. Past students have spent anywhere from 4-40 hours on it. Consider this time an investment in yourself because it will make you better at getting over the logistical and psychological hurdles of job hunting.

Your Task

See "Tips" section below for practical advice

  1. Identify three awesome tech companies that you’d really like to work for and where you think you’d be a good fit. Ideally these companies have open job postings for developers but, for the purposes of this exercise, that isn’t strictly necessary. This is actually fairly difficult because it requires you to know what you want!
  2. Research each of these companies on Linkedin, their blogs, or wherever you can find information about them and put together a list of all the engineers on the team you’d likely work for in your ideal role. There should be 8-10 names you can locate.
  3. Find each of these engineers on the web and read their blogs, social posts, and linkedin profiles. Get a sense of who they are as human beings.
  4. Identify 1-2 of them at each company who you can probably relate to and interact with them. That doesn’t have to be anything which explicitly requires or encourages followup (though that would be great!). Instead, it can be as simple as replying constructively to a blog post they wrote or a Tweet they sent or sending them a brief email thanking them for building something you enjoy. The point here is that you must actually do it.

What comes next? The best case is that you strike up a virtual conversation with an engineer at a company you’d love to work for and can ask great questions. The worst case is that you have developed a repeatable process for deconstructing companies into individuals, which you can use in much more targeted instances (e.g. when you have an upcoming interview or see a job posting you’d absolutely love).

Tips

Here are a few tips and tricks for sourcing the information you'll need.

Finding Developers

Here are a few tips for sourcing information on specific developers:

  • To find a developer's email address, search for their Github profile (Google "Foo Bar Github"), which often has it displayed publicly. Personal websites often do as well.
  • Developers aren't always on LinkedIn, but you can often look in a company's profile for a link to all of its employees. This will source their LinkedIn profiles, which should give you useful links to other places you can search. You can often use an Incognito browser window (with no logged in status or cookies) to view parts of profiles which would normally be hidden from you if you are logged in.
  • Once you've located a developer, explore the extent of their public profile. What open-source projects do they support? What kind of blogging do they do? Tweeting?

Finding Companies

Sometimes finding companies you want to work for can be tough so, to kick things off, check out these resources:

  • The Hacker News "Who's Hiring" thread which comes out on the first of every month. See previous posts by looking at the profile of whoishiring.
  • Look in your area for tech companies on Glassdoor, a site which aggregates reviews of companies. Sort by best reviews!
  • Comb relevant job postings on Dice.com

When researching companies, we recommend getting a sense for their product as well as their team. That means trying out the product or at least getting a sense for what it might look like behind the scenes. A company blog is often the best place to source this information, especially if they have a technical blog which discusses the challenges they've been facing. That's great information to help you come up with interesting questions to ask!

Reaching Out

The best interactions will be those where you demonstrate a clear understanding of what they are doing and an appreciation for their effort in doing so. Maybe you include a specific and well-informed question in your comment/tweet/email which prompts them to respond.

For a look at how to cold email people, see this post on cold emailing. It is targeted at startups but it should be trivial for you to map the techniques to your developer-focused use case.

The Punchline

Past students have sourced strong relationships with real developers in companies they'd love to work for just through the simple act of caring enough to reach out.

Hopefully going through this exercise has taught you something else -- the value of having a strong public profile. You no doubt had a lot of trouble searching for particular developers or getting a good sense of who they are. Some companies are probably similar. You may even have downgraded one of your top choices to the "other" pile due to this lack of information.

Take this to heart! The better and clearer your public presence is, the easier it is for someone who wants to hire you to see the brilliant potential developer you will make for their team.



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