Break into Tech with a Job Pipeline

Break into Tech with a Job Pipeline
John Suh
  People have different opinions on how to approach the job search. There’s definitely no “right” way to do it, but there are definitely certain things you can do to not only improve your response rates, but to potentially earn more too. Some people submit online applications while others solely rely on referrals through their network. I used the latter strategy, but you can’t always get lucky, in fact you’ll only get lucky once or twice. The strategy I’d like to share isn’t based on luck. Instead it’s based on working hard AND smart. You’ll be casting a wider net than attempting one-offs, but you still have to be focused on what you want as in the type of company you want to work for. You’re not fishing with a spear, but rather casting a net towards a specific target (or a specific spot in the ocean). Trust me, the metaphor makes more sense once you learn the strategy. First, online job applications historically convert at a 2% success rate. That means for every 100 applications you fill out, you’ll only get 2 phone interviews. That’s not working smart, that’s just working hard. Job applications are just advertisements to gauge who’s interested in working for them. That doesn’t mean you have to complete the job app, just like you don’t always have to call the number on any other ad you see. You can email them, hit them up on social media, or just walk into their store. Second, there’s always a hiring manager. They can be working with a recruiter to help them, but at the end of the day they’re managing a funnel of potential prospects trying to find the right hire. The best hire. Much like sifting through dirt to find gold. Third, recruiters and hiring managers are constantly going through a high volume of applications that are majority low quality. That’s a lot of noise you’re competing with. How do you help yourself stand out? The strategy:

1. Determine your ICP

Mostly known for “Ideal Customer Profile”, let’s call this your “Ideal Company Profile” for the purpose of the strategy. Traditionally in sales, ICP is used when determining the type of leads that should enter your sales funnel. That is, the customers that meet a general set of criteria that make them potential good fits for your product or service. Here is a set of criteria you can use for your ICP:
  • Location
  • Size
  • Funding Stage
  • Vertical
  • Need (are they hiring for the position you’re seeking?)
Once you set your ICP, now you can start building a list of companies you want to work for. Some will disagree here, but having objective reasons for your ICP is what will help you be able to have a lead list to build a job pipeline. By having more than just a couple leads moving forward at once you can use the fact that you’re in mid to late stage interviews to leverage time to speed up other interviews. If you manage your job funnel well you can end up with multiple offers not only to leverage time but for a higher base salary or bonuses. The companies not on your hot list are great for practice and building confidence too.

2. Find the Decision Makers (DMs)

Time to find the hiring managers. This is usually the Director or VP of the department you’re applying for. Engineers would target CTOs, designers would seek VP of Product or Head of Design, and sales would look for VP of Sales. Use an email cracking tool to look up your DMs emails. Here’s LeadIQ, a tool you can use that grants you 100 free credits upon signing up for their free trial. Now you have the email addresses of the DMs you need to reach! “(You have to enter your cc info. to initiate the free trial, but you won’t be charged for your free credits). If you pull up their professional profile, on LinkedIn for example, the chrome extension will easily allow you to use 1 credit for 1 email address. I also recommend Mailtester as a second layer of filtering to confirm the email address is valid.

3. Outreach Strategy

At our school, we train our students on sending direct cold emails to the DMs on their list and it’s converted at a 10–20% conversion rate to phone interviews. In 2017 we averaged a 12–14% conversion rate from a sample size of 100 students. That’s up to 5x the average from online job applications to phone interviews. With an ICP, a list of companies and the DMs, and the outreach strategy above you’re now ready to start building a pipeline of companies. If you send out 20–40 emails every week you can potentially land 5 phone interviews per week. Repeating this every week you’ll begin to accumulate interviews in multiple stages and the best case scenario is you may end up juggling multiple offers at once. Here’s an example of what your email can look like. It’s using the Why You Why You Now technique crafted by the gurus from Salesforce: “[First Name], Reaching out because you have an open SDR position. (hyperlink the job post board) In my previous roles with Freshworks and Aspect Software, I was doing full cycle sales. Quota was $3,000/month in MRR. To get there, I had to book 1 demo a day and close 15 deals a month. GE and Avast are just some of the new clients I closed. In my next role I’m looking to work for a VC backed SaaS company selling at a Mid-market or Enterprise price point. Would you be open to discussing your open sales role on Tuesday or Wednesday?” You have to break through the noise and be sure your email is concise, direct, and data always helps you stay concise by saying more with less words. Give it a try and would love to hear your experience/results. Good luck!  
  John Originally posted this on his Medium. -- Creating a pipeline like this is extremely important for your job search. It helps you in the following ways: Navigate the complexities of the job hunt Discover where in the process your weaknesses are (and fix them!) Modify different aspects to see what is working and what isn't -- The job pipeline ultimately gives you a plan of attack. It provides clarity in an otherwise hazy part of life. Remember, we have free training videos online for you to get an intro to what our bootcamp is.