My previous post about my placements journey got ~17k views and the most asked follow-up question was — “How did I manage to get interview calls from these many companies off-campus?”, so here I am writing this blog on the same.
The short answer — Referrals, An updated and active Linkedin Profile, A Green Github Profile, A decent Resume.
For the long answer, Continue Reading -
Disclaimer — All views are my own, my observations, and experiences, None of the organizations I have worked with have anything to do with it.
This is what I am gonna cover in this blog -
- General Offcampus Application Process
- Where to ask for Referrals?
- How not ask for Referrals?
- How to ask for Referrals?
- Tips for LinkedIn Profile
- Tips for Resume
- The Final Strategy and The List of 50 Companies
The last part of the article includes my strategy of approaching and applying to companies.
General Offcampus Application Process -
Almost every company has a careers page. You can find it by just googling
CompanyName Careers. They usually post their openings here. And applicants apply for these openings through the respective careers site. The Recruiters see these applications and shortlist the resumes/profiles that they like and then those candidates are called for interviews.
But Wait, Do you think that the Recruiters would be going through thousands and thousands of resumes to shortlist submitted directly through the careers portal? Maybe Not!
Now there are 2 things added in the scenario -
- ATS(Applicant Tracking Software) Filtering — This is used to automatically filter Resumes. Heard the term ATS-friendly Resumes?
- Referrals — The people working at the company currently can refer their connections whom they believe would be a great fit for the role. The referred applications are treated as priority applications and those applications are most probably reviewed.
Both the above things increase your chances of getting shortlisted for the next rounds.
Tip — If you are looking for internships/jobs in startups, head on to angel.co. (Not sponsored :P)
Where to ask for Referrals?
Search the people working in XYZ company and text them to ask for refer your profile in their company.
Most of my referrals have been through Linkedin and a couple through my College Seniors.
How not to ask for Referrals?
hlw, can you refer me
hi, can i ask a question
Hi Sir, I came to know that --- is hiring, can you refer me there?` Can u help me for search job?
How to ask for Referrals?
Few important things to know -
- Don’t use the WhatsApp ways 😬 — u, plz, hlp, ur, hlw
- Send the Job Id/Job Link — It’s not the responsibility of a Software Engineer to find the right job for you. Please don’t expect them to search a relevant job for your profile.
- Don’t forget to attach your Resume
- Don’t text XYZ company employees for referral in ABC company 😬
- Be respectful and polite. — Respect the time of the other person.
So, The deal is — Not all employees are active on Linkedin and those who are active again might be getting hundreds of messages from so many people. So, you gotta catch their attention with your message and skills :p
Tips to write just the right message -
- Include your graduation year/YOE whichever is applicable.
- A little about your skills/expertise area.
- Mention your previous internships/experiences/projects.
- And of course, the Job Id for which you want a referral.
- Not too long to read, Not too short like the ones in the above section
I am attaching a couple of examples to give you a better idea -
Pro-tip: Don’t copy the above ones, Originality has it’s own charm :p
ULTRA PRO TIP — Don’t just send Hi, Hello, How are you on Linkedin and wait for the other person to reply. Write Why are you texting them to the point in one message.
If you just want to initiate a conversation- Introduce yourself and share about your interests and ongoing work/project/whatever.
How many people should you message?
As per my experience, 15–30 is a safe number. Fingers crossed then!
Once you get a reply/referral from 1 person, please kindly inform the other people you messaged that You don’t need the referral anymore.
Tips for LinkedIn Profile
- A headline describing your current role
- A formal profile picture (No profile picture I think reduces credibility — Fake accounts exist right)
- A Quick Summary of Who you are, What you are working on, What you like, What skills you have etc.
- Use the Featured Option to have your updated Resume easily accessible on Linkedin
- Explanatory Work Experience Section instead of just Titles
- Add your projects and Accomplishments too — Add descriptions here too (Click on Add Section and you will find all these)
- Good if you have Recommendations/Endorsements from people you have worked with. Having this part empty is better than having Fake Recommendations/Endorsements
- Extra Important Tip — Keep sharing your projects, your achievements in hackathons or coding contests on your Linkedin/Twitter. This has more power than you know.
- Attaching a more detailed blog with examples if the above didn’t feel enough.
Tips for Resume
The Final Strategy — What did I do?
The show is not over yet. There are so many answered questions and a few tricks to be revealed. Keep reading!
- I kept my Linkedin Profile, Resume, and Github Profile updated.
- I prepared a list of ~50 companies where I wanted to apply ( Find this list here.
- I visited their careers site and turned on the notifications for “Software Engineer Role”. Whenever there would be an opening, I would get an email from them directly.
- I followed all these companies on Linkedin.
- Now, this is what I different from the majority of the folks — Most people would send a connection request to employees of XYZ company when XYZ company has an opening and they need a referral for it. Now there are several possibilities of you not getting a referral easily by doing this:
- A large number of folks send requests at this time. The “potential referrer” may just miss your request and even if she/he accepts, they may not get to read your message.
- The company removes the job posting before you get a referral. This has happened to me a few times :)
A better approach would be to “Build Connections rather than just Finding referrals”.
I made several connections at all these companies mentioned in my list. I made these connections, not on the day I wanted a referral for some role but a lot more in advance. For a few weeks, it became a part of my routine to open Linkedin along with my List of companies and send connection requests(with a short note) to ~30 people (a mix of Software Developers and Recruiters).
How did it help me?
- I got to talk to some very kind and supportive people who reviewed my resume, projects and gave me some useful tips for my career.
- Whenever an opening would come for XYZ company, I would most probably already have the connections to ask for a referral instead of sending them connection requests, waiting for it to be accepted, and then asking for a referral.
- Many employees and Recruiters post on their LinkedIn profile about the openings in their company, and as I was already connected to so many people at all these companies, my Linkedin Feed would pop-up these for me.
- And some of these connections had probably been seeing my posts on Linkedin, they already knew me. It helped them to quickly decide whether I am a good candidate for the role or not.
That’s all fellas! There has been no rocket science behind how I managed to get referrals for most companies. That was it! I am the first Engineer in my extended family, I had no elder siblings/cousins/uncles/aunts who referred or guided me. It is my precious Linkedin Network and I am so grateful to all of them.
Did it feel like a lot of effort to keep your Linkedin/Github/Twitter Profile updated, sharing about your projects/achievements, preparing this big list of companies, making all these connections, asking for referrals from 20 people, and getting replies from 1 or 2 on the top of grinding leetcode, improving problem-solving skills, learning development and making projects?
Maybe it did, but when I look back, I can so gladly say that “It was all worth the effort” I thank myself for putting in some extra effort and I am sure You will thank yourself too just after a few months :)
So, Keep the Josh high, Keep coding, and Keep applying to your dream companies!!
I hope this article adds some value to your knowledge and awareness. If there is something you find missing or have any more questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. I will appreciate your feedback :)