Hiring & Job Hunting

Chicago is a rich job scene for SaaS professionals and this month we’re covering all things hiring and job hunting. You’ll hear from people in hiring positions and also from people looking for roles themselves.

We’re talking about five tips to make your job search more successful in this post, but be sure to check back for more throughout the month. Our guest on the show will be Will McNeil from Black Tech Jobs, so be sure to subscribe to us on your podcast episode of choice!

1. Look to LinkedIn

Without question, this is my #1 tip. If you’re looking for work, search that company name and find out who you know there. You might have a second connection, which is also fine. Reach out to that person, let them know you’re looking. People want to help others that are looking for help. Let your grade-school buddy know you’re looking for work. There is some privilege attached here, which I understand, but if you haven’t spent a lot of time on LinkedIn, you should try making connections now. Whether you’re building or cultivating your LinkedIn connections it gives you a chance to network, which leads into…

2. Attend networking events

A pretty obvious one, but there are LOTS of free networking events in Chicago. Go to Meetup.com or just Google “Chicago networking events” and you’ll see tons of results. Just keep going to them, collect business cards, and then follow up. That last step is something 95% of people miss on. I know that I’m awful about following up when I’m not job hunting, but if you at least write an email to people while you’re on the hunt, that’s going to look good, too. Leverage these events as a way to meet new people and expand your network.

3. Research the company

I’ve done a fair amount of mentoring over the past 4-5 years and when I tell people this, they sort of look at me with this, “Yeah no duh” look, but you’d be surprised at how many candidates just miss this step. For whatever reason people think they can go in blind. I don’t think you need to have a history lesson ready to go, but have relevant details in place and try to highlight how much you know about the business.

4. Find a way to stand out

Lots of new grads are going to hear, “you don’t have enough experience”. Lots of people with experience are going to hear, “we just had a really deep candidate pool”. I’ve heard both those things myself probably one hundred times at least by now. The problem is that it’s easy to reject you when you don’t stand out. One of the things people do to stand out? Write for blogs*, do podcasts, write on LinkedIn, do something that helps you stand out.

A great way to stand out is also by taking certifications. If you haven’t done one of the free certs available to you in your discipline, consider doing that for one hour every night until you get it. If you’re in the throes of job hunting, you are likely to find that many places put hiring on hold until after the holidays once the middle of November hits, so spending some time now during that down season in some hiring can be helpful.

*We’re always looking for writers...

5. Do the basics…

Write a cover letter, have a complete resume, & follow up with a thank you

The cover letter should be as personal as you can make it, but it should highlight why you’re a good fit for the company, for the role, and why you want the job. It should not be your resume. Think of it as the teaser trailer before the show. It should make people want to read your resume.

You know how to write a resume, but make sure that it has everything they need to make that decision toward the next step. This is a great resource from ResumeGenius on how to get one started.

Hokey is a good word to describe me, anyway, but a thank you is an old-fashioned method of letting someone know you appreciated their time is time-tested. It’s a solid, tangible thing that says, “I don’t think we wasted one another’s time”. People like getting them, and it’s also a way for you to potentially stand out.

The best way to job hunt is to always be networking and to think of how you can help others when you’re not actively looking. People will always remember if you helped them. They’ll always look to give you that same helping hand.


Joe Huber is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Customer Community Strategist with Sprout Social.

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