When I first started my job search, the only way I knew to look for open positions was to browse through the most popular and common internet job boards such as Glassdoor, Indeed, or LinkedIn. And although they're all fantastic websites, I've learned over time that I much prefer to actively engage in the search by using other resources, ones that appeal to my personal interests, specific skills, and diverse background, and especially ones that involve more human interaction.
Meetups and conferences are a great way to find job opportunities through personal connection building. At any event, you could meet someone who knows about an open position in their own or a friend's company, or at some larger events, you could browse job fairs or sponsored tables run by companies looking to hire. No matter what the event is though, it's always a chance to meet recruiters and other professionals and to make first-impressions far more memorable than your paper or digital resume.
Here are some meetups and conferences that I've had great experiences with:
Some people stress out over about these in-person interactions and worry that they'll appear more thirsty and less genuine. But try to remember a lot of these meetups are made to facilitate connections and help them happen organically, and also remember that other people are attending these same events to have a good time and to bond over similar interests and causes. So just show up, be polite, and be yourself. And if you find that you like and care about the event enough to attend regularly, you'll soon enough find that you're part of a community that cares just as much about you and wants to contribute to your success.
As a queer woman of color, it's extremely important to me that I find companies and teams that see value in diverse people and want to support them, so I try to access and utilize communities that I identify with as much as possible.
In addition to the job boards of some meetups I attend, here are a few other favorites:
Also, there is definitely something to be said about companies that go out of their way to post on diversity job boards. To me, it's a strong indication that they want to create a diverse team, that they have an interest in the individuals in their company and what they can contribute, and that they value change and progress. So, whenever I see a job listing on any of these boards, I tend to be more interested and hyped about the company that posted it.
I'm very lucky and privileged to be a part of many social networks, and I try to take full advantage of that by staying connected to as many organizations, clubs, and schools I've ever been involved with -- That includes my middle school, high school, college, semester program, bootcamp, and sub-chapters of each, like an LGBTQ or Seattle chapter if those exist as well.
If you were part of a sorority or fraternity, a club, a specific school department, or whatever else you can think of, try to reconnect with those groups through all their social media sites. Follow them everywhere -- on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, even Twitter -- introduce yourself, broadcast that you're on the market, and check regularly to see if anyone has any leads on job opportunities. People who are active in these groups are often eager and excited to help out members of their own community, so let them help you!
To make sure that I fully take advantage of any tech community, meetup, or event, I always make sure that I join their Slack group. If that option doesn't exist, then I'll look into LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter groups.
Slack is great because most tech groups have a jobs channel or channel specific to your region where people share with the community about job openings and are enthusiastic to talk about their company and the role. If you reach out to them, some may offer to connect you with a manager or recruiter, or they may even offer to refer you.
Combine Slack with LinkedIn, and you can more effectively research the company and play the networking game that helps get you one degree closer to communicating with someone who works at your dream company.
Using websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor makes plenty of sense -- Almost every hiring company and job-seeker uses them, so there are always plenty of new job openings and updates to browse there, and the possibilities are endless. But for me, there can be such a thing as too many possibilities -- I could scroll through generic LinkedIn listings forever and ever, and that can feel overwhelming very quickly.
Also, as a career-changer, having a curated feed isn't always helpful because those websites may return jobs I qualify for based on my skills and experiences I had (in education, management, and fitness), and not the jobs I want in software engineer.
Most importantly though, what these websites don't consider are my interests and who I am as a person. I'm a software engineer, yes, but I'm also a career changer, a bootcamp graduate, and a self-learner. I identify as queer, a woman, a person of color, Asian, and Taiwanese-American. I care about learning, education, and social justice. I want to find a company that's going to value and embrace me for all of these qualities and interests, but I won't easily find that match through a giant job board, nor will I easily stand out among an ocean of candidates. That's why I think it's important to use these other specific resources in addition to the usual job search engines.
The only big disadvantage to using these resources is that it takes more time and effort to comb through all the options, and some opportunities only come by chance, but the extra effort is worth it -- I'm much more motivated and engaged in the job search, and I'm actually excited to find jobs and companies that I can actually see myself working in!
I'm always looking for more resources that I can use and that I can share with others. If there are any awesome ones you love to use, share them in the comments below!