Step 1: Qualifications
The number one reason for this is “experience”. I hate to break it to you, you need a minimum of 2–3 years of good and relevant experience before even expecting any reply from most companies.
Yes, there are exceptions for sure if you are some genius who wins competitive programming contests while sleeping or if you worked during college. However, most of the time it won’t work no matter how many emails you send per second!
I’m not asking you to give up, but to focus your time and effort on finding a good job back home so you can learn the needed skills and then you can expect a few replies to start coming back.
“I have nothing to lose anyway”, you say? Well, with each company you apply where you have no chance you simply waste their time and yours, and more importantly you prevent yourself from applying again soon because you need about 6–12 months before being “unblocked” from their systems so think twice before shooting yourself in the leg.
Step 2: Finding a job
There are many platforms and job portals, my strategy is the more effort you give in the beginning the more beneficial (and easier!) they become later.
For each of the platforms that I will list, take the time to set up your profile. It will be boring as you will have to write the same details over and over again but trust me it’s worth it because you never know which platform will be the one to get you the job!
Adding your photo and updated experience and company details shows your dedication and leaves a good first impression.
The good part that you need this setup once per service and then you can use it for months or years for your next jump so it’s REALLY worth it.
forEach (pun intended) service, search for the perfect job, try to keep your search not too narrow that you miss on good opportunities, and not too wide to avoid flooding your inbox with useless results.
Enable daily emails for this search and that’s it! You don’t even need to open the website just check your email daily, voila! I told you it was worth it.
Speaking of CV, I’m not an expert but here are my 2 cents:
- Make sure your profile clearly shows your actual experience. Adding 50 buzz words might seem like a good idea but some CVs make me wonder “what the hell is this guy doing?”
- PLEASE use PDF format only, no one wants the hassle of doc files, just use google docs and download as PDF. No need to keep track of your most updated CV, just download it again.
- Unless you have 20 years of experience or something, keep it under 2–3 pages max. I had one page for many years. No need to add this ancient personal side project you did to learn React or list which editors you use (unless its vim lol)!
- This might sound obvious but you won’t believe how many CVs have typos and ugly formatting. Proofread it 10 times then ask a native English speaker friend to review it. I never rejected a CV because of typos but honestly, it gives a bad first impression about the candidate's English skills and most importantly his care and attention to details.
Job portals list
My personal favorite. This is your main profile and the biggest chance to introduce yourself, I spent many hours taking care of it over the years.
Add contacts (HR, recruiters, developers… you name it) import from mail and other social networks, join groups, follow companies, universities, hashtags (just search for #Berlin for example then click follow).
You can’t do this in a single day, that’s why unlike other platforms this one is for life. Every new connection is a possible opportunity either directly or indirectly. For example, he/she can refer you to someone you need someday or get you one level closer to this 3rd level contact you REALLY need to reach.
You know what, when I get serious about my job search I usually upgrade to premium to be able to send InMail messages, see who visited me, and be more visible if I apply to jobs through LinkedIn.
Bonus points if you keep this habit even after your job search frenzy!
Honeypot is different and cool because companies apply to you instead! Someone will contact you to set up your profile and when ready they will make you visible to companies for 2 weeks where you can accept/reject offers
As a bonus, you get to see companies' reviews, interview questions, and more.
Focuses on startups and has salary ranges, love it!
I really like their developer story overview and their detailed job descriptions with salaries and other perks.
depending on the city/country you are interested in you can find a more specific website like this one for Berlin.
just google job with some keywords and you will find a job section in the results where you can add some filters.
Step 3 - Persistence and luck!
Probably nothing, this is pretty normal actually.
I applied for 6 months (full story here) and in most cases, I was shortlisted but finally rejected.
Here is the thing, the demand is high for developers but there are also too many of them in Germany not to mention outside it!
Imagine this: You own a company in Germany, you have 2 (if not 100) applicants, one is awesome (you!, applying from outside the EU) and the other one is less awesome but he is 30 min away from the company and is ready to start immediately not after months. Not to mention having to pay extra money just to get someone from outside the EU. Who will you pick most of the time?
This also explains why experience is needed, it’s just not worth it for the company to get someone fresh.
I’m not trying to make you feel bad or demotivate you, on the contrary, I’m trying to motivate you to do your best and to stand out from the crowd and keep going. All you need is ONE sweet accepted email!
One more thing, for over a year now I have been involved in recruiting and when I get 2 good candidates for 1 open position I HAVE to pick someone. It can get very close so in some cases the tiniest differences or opinion matters so getting rejected doesn’t mean you did something wrong.
Just keep going (or learn if you did do something wrong!)
companies don’t give feedback so I don’t learn anything from rejections
I totally agree to be honest but again, put yourself in their shoes. You are already drowning in a pile of profiles of possible candidates, how much time or effort would you give for candidates you already rejected? Not to mention it’s usually someone else who has to send the rejection mail, usually a template!
Some great companies give feedback. It happened to me only a few times but helped me A LOT! Ask for feedback but honestly don’t expect much and just keep going.
I suggest keeping at-least 3 processes in parallel so that when you receive the rejection email you just move your focus immediately to the next in the queue. However, you will get tempted to apply for 10 in one day to increase your chances, please don’t. It’s easy to apply for sure but one or two weeks later you will definitely get too many tasks and interviews that will affect your performance.
Bonus Step - Toolz!
Speaking of keeping sanity during many parallel processes, here are some of my favorite job searching tools:
This brilliant but simple tool will save you many useless emails and messages to pick a perfect time for a call or an interview, just send a link and whoever is using it can pick a time that you know for sure is good for you because it checks your calendar, how cool!
I recently found this gem, the best tool I found to keep track of all your ongoing processes. It’s also a job portal!
Do you know any more tips or want to agree or disagree with something? Please leave a comment.
That's all folks! I hope this article helps you or at least gives you some motivation to keep going a little more ❤