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Speak Up and Standout: Improve your Tech Job Hunt

Wivvlenaire Jean-Baptiste of giving a tech speech about buidling an app in 9ish steps

I remember a time before the pandemic when my LinkedIn inbox was full of DMs from tech recruiters.

Recruiter: Hi there! I came across your profile and saw that you are a great fit for an incredible opportunity! I’m sure you get a lot of messages from recruiters about new opportunites but this one is very different! This company is really growing exponentially and setting trends in the market. They offer a very competitive salary, great benefits and a game changing culture. I understand if you’re happy with your current job, but hearing about this opportunity can’t hurt! Your technical expertise lines up with exactly what they’re looking for! Checkout the job description…

Me: Hey how’s it going? I’m not currently looking at the moment but thanks for reaching out. Also I looked at the job description. It looks like they’re looking for someone with Java experience. I have Javascript in my profile…

In retrospect, I think I understand just a little bit of what it’s like to be a woman on a dating app from that pre-covid experience.

The trend before the crash

Recently, I had the opportunity to do some contract work with a major company going through multiple rounds of mass layoffs. One of the hardest-hit departments was quality assurance (QA). This trend of cutting QA teams and shifting testing responsibilities to engineers has been growing. I don’t know where it started, but it’s a very bad habit. And as expected, the consequences were immediate: the app in question began to suffer from frequent crashes and production issues.

App crashes can significantly impact sales. A study at Wayfair found that crashes could reduce revenue from engaged users by up to 89%. Witnessing this first-hand, it became clear how chasing industry trends without considering the implications can really damage a company’s bottom line. These practices not only destabilize individual companies but can also ripple through the entire industry.

As of July 2024, reported that 306 tech companies had laid off 89,333 employees. What were the primary components? Many companies overhired during the pandemic in an attempt to aggressively expand their market share. Now, combined with an economic recession, many companies and their middle management are succumbing to investor pressures, cutting perceived “liabilities” to present better quarterly balance sheets. This reactionary approach often leads to short-term financial gains but risks long-term stability and growth. I think of it a bit as starting out that 5k with a full-out sprint.

Opportunity in the chaos

Despite these mass layoffs, there is still significant activity and some growth in the tech sector. According to CompTIA’s State of the Tech Workforce report, the replacement rate for tech occupations during the 2024–2034 period is expected to average about 6% annually, translating to approximately 350,000 workers each year. This means several million positions will be filled through replacements by 2034, highlighting ongoing demand for tech professionals.

Recent graduates are also entering a dynamic job market. In 2022, around 60,631 students earned Computer Science degrees, with this number growing by 1.69% annually. While the influx of new talent and the replacement rate indicate some opportunities, the job market remains highly competitive. There may not be enough newly created or replaced jobs to accommodate all recent graduates and those affected by layoffs.

If you’ve been on the job hunt, you probably know the grind of applying to multiple positions online. I’ve heard it said that if you want a job, you should treat the job hunt like a job itself. While this is important, there’s another strategy you might be overlooking — one that can get your name out there and even attract job offers to you.

New features don’t just improve apps

I understand that for many in the tech community, especially those who are more introverted, the idea of attending public events and networking can be daunting. If this resonates with you, it might be the perfect opportunity to work on your conversational skills and charisma. While this article isn’t a motivational speech on charisma, it’s worth noting that becoming comfortable in social situations, even if it doesn’t come naturally, is incredibly valuable.

The most successful people often excel at adapting socially to various situations. Think of it this way: As a father, you naturally interact differently with your children than with your spouse. Similarly, as a young woman, you interact differently with your friends than you do in the workplace. We all adjust our behavior based on context more often than we realize. Embrace this adaptability and apply it to networking.

It’s often said that success is where preparation meets opportunity. Many job seekers are well-prepared for various roles, but finding the right opportunity can be challenging. Some people excel at creating opportunities but may not always be fully prepared when they arise. And yes, sometimes “faking it till you make it” can be a viable strategy.

So, how can you create more opportunities? How can you make opportunities come to you? The key lies in networking, building meaningful relationships through providing value, and showcasing your talents when appropriate. For me, attending networking events more and stepping into public speaking created great opportunities; more on that in a bit.

One of the greatest advantages of networking events is the personal touch they bring compared to the impersonal nature of resume reviews. You never know who you’ll meet or who they’re connected to. Networking allows you to meet face-to-face with individuals who can recommend you or create opportunities for you. By making a strong first impression, marketing yourself in a non-aggressive manner, and showing genuine interest in helping others, you can cultivate relationships that lead to future opportunities. These connections might not pay off immediately, but when the time is right, they can come looking for you.

Jedi mind tricks? Well not quite…

By employing strategic questioning — often referred to as the Socratic Method — you can help business owners and others you meet at networking events recognize the gaps in their current strategies and understand the potential value of your assistance. Ask probing questions that lead them to self-discovery of what they might be missing and how your skillset can fill those gaps.

There are some fantastic meetup apps available that can connect you with local tech communities. Apps like Meetup and Eventbrite make it easy to find and join groups for professionals. Additionally, leveraging platforms like LinkedIn can help you tap into these communities and stay informed about local events.

How I created an opportunity

Last year, I attended a big tech event in Tampa. There, I got the opportunity to speak with many professionals across the industry. While there, I met a guy that I just clicked with. He was just starting out his own company to help writers get publishing deals. We chatted and met up a few times after that, and I gave him advice and some practical tools to help him in his journey to build his app through a no-code platform and market it. What this didn’t turn into was an opportunity to write the app for him. I did however, make a good friend out of it who also has some great connections in the area.

From this one chance encounter at that tech event and from his recommendation, I got an opportunity to do a public speaking event at a tech incubator, an opportunity I otherwise would not have had. From that opportunity, I was able to create great business relationships, showcase my knowledge and skillset, and get people to start recommending me to others. That one chance encounter has allowed me to step more into consulting and partnering with local companies, as well as generating leads for app development through my agency.

Oh yeah…

Thank you for making it to the end! I hope you found this information helpful for your current or future job hunt. I’m the owner of an IT Consulting Firm that specializes in app development, team augmentation, mentorship, public speaking, and more. If you’re looking for guidance on your journey, feel free to reach out to me here at Don’t forget to check out my other articles as well!

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