Reaching out directly is always better than just applying on the website.
Your strongest advantage in finding a new job fast is to leverage off of your existing network by reaching out and asking for referrals. Most of the time these will guarantee an interview or, at the very least, an informational call with a recruiter/hiring manager. However, if your network is fairly limited, we strongly recommend reaching out to recruiters directly in addition to your application.
Frankly speaking, most applications end up in a system like iCIMS, where recruiters spend several seconds looking at your profile before moving on. If you don't have anything that will stand out, like a nicely formatted resumé, there is very little chance you'll get noticed.
Something else we don't talk about enough: recruiters simply do not look at all resumés that come in. And when they do look at them, it's not on a first-come-first-serve basis. So, in the end, a lot of the selection process is pure luck.
This is why you need to reach out with a personalized email. Before you do, here's a quick checklist to ensure that you're prepared. Make sure...
You can use LinkedIn to find the correct recruiter by using the keyword "recruiter" when looking up the company name. Make sure you read their bio and profile carefully- almost all recruiters will specify what business unit they recruit for.
Alternatively, check out Candor's tech recruiter database to search for recruiters by company, location, and specialty. For every recruiter, we've crowdsourced information on what they were like for candidates to deal with, so you'll go in with eyes open.
You will sometimes even have their email listed. If you're a Candor member, we will source you with any recruiter email you want (as long as you promise not to spam them).
Lastly, be aware of the hierarchy:
Your email needs to be personalized for every recruiter. Do not BCC 50 people with the same message.
Here's a template you can use:
Open SWE Roles
Hi (Recruiter Name),
My name is (Your Name) and I am a SWE at / PM at/ 4th year CS student at… (Mention your company or school and a brief 2 sentence description of you).
I’m interested in (Company Name) because … (Add a compelling why you want to work here and how your skills are a value add. It should only be 3-4 sentences long)
I have attached my resume and if there are opportunities at (Company Name), I would love to chat more.
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