I definitely feel like any form of demonstrated "I actually looked into what you're working on and this is why I want to help" can go along way. If anyone in the process can put a name to a face in the form of "oh yeah, this person reached out", you've already beat out a lot of faceless candidates.
We're all humans and nobody is measured perfectly objectively. Any chance to make a human connection is one worth taking if you want to make a good impression.
I agree 100%. Whenever possible, find a side door.
I always imagine a big crowd of people in front of a building, pushing and shoving to get inside through the main door. There's always a few people who, tired of the mob, decide to explore a bit and come across a side entrance. They knock, someone opens, and they walk right in.
In a tall pile of applications, there aren’t a lot of ways stand out aside from simply "being better” or “doing more impressive stuff.” Instead of competing directly with everyone else, consider redirecting your energy into finding a side door.
Report bugs and better yet, propose solutions. Make PRs to open source projects. Engage with current team members on Twitter. Attend the company's workshops, hackathons, and/or meetups. There are actually many "side doors" we can use.
Just realized that I talked about it here, and then later wrote a post about finding those side doors 😜
In case anyone was curious!
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