Stop using job boards. Do this instead.

As a software engineer, if you are job hunting, it’s time to stop using job boards. This article explores why traditional job applications may not be your best strategy and what you should do instead.

Here is the scenario you might be too familiar with: You hit the 100th “Apply” button on various job boards and it feels great knowing that you hit your mark for the day to apply for 100 jobs/day. Mission accomplished. You feel great and motivated.

Next day you check your email 1st thing in the morning, you see 2-4 new emails stating something along the lines of,

“Thanks for applying, but unfortunately we have made the decision not to move forward with your application… Good luck!”

Meanwhile, you haven’t even heard from the remaining companies… and most likely never will. Now you feel determined to instead ramp-up the effort and apply to 150 jobs/day.

Why? Because it’s a number’s game, right?


Here is why…

The Problem with Job Boards

Job boards use various Application Tracking System (ATS) tools which are implemented either using an algorithm-based solution, machine learning, AI or combination of all 3.

Quite often the emails that you receive similar to the one mentioned above, are auto-generated and haven’t even been seen, let alone reviewed, by a single human being. ATS has made the decision to send you that response simply because you either missed a few keywords on your resume or you have a non-linear background, meaning that you have a past experience dating 5-10+ years ago that is unrelated to the job you applied. But let’s be honest here, most of us fall under that category.

So what should you do instead?

A Better Approach: Market Yourself

Found a job that you like?

Reach out to the hiring manager of that company, to internal recruiter if the company has one, or if it’s a smaller company, directly message the founders and the C-suite executives. Get in front of them. And don’t send a generic copy-paste messages either.

Take the time. Be personable. Show why they should hire you.

By doing so you increase your chances immensely.

Although it seems a lot more challenging, given that being rejected in this manner can be taken a bit more personal than being rejected through the job boards, you must override this mindset if you want to increase your chances of landing the jobs you are applying for. By choosing to go this route, you leap frog everyone else vying for those engineering positions.

You communicate to those employers that you are different. That you believe in your abilities, that you have a thick skin, and that you have a bit of contrarian in you.

Embracing this new method is essentially choosing to stop using job boards and start making meaningful connections.

TL;DR & Takeaways

  • Traditional job boards often lead to automated rejections due to ATS filters.
  • Direct outreach to hiring managers or company executives is more effective.
  • Personalize your messages; show why you’re the right fit for the job.
  • This approach requires resilience but significantly boosts your job prospects.
  • Embrace this proactive strategy to stand out and make meaningful connections in your job search.

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