How to Optimize Your Time in the Developer Job Search

So, you have the skills and a great resume. Now it is time to hit the job market and get a job as soon as possible. Developers are hot cakes in the job market. So, getting employed as a developer might seem like the easiest thing in the world. It’s okay to be in that bubble till you realize that no one is hiring you. Repeating the same cycle in the job market for months, still searching can be pretty frustrating. 


My interactions with candidates as an IT headhunter and some developer friends have opened my eyes to some things. Many developers seeking jobs spend more time doing all the wrong things. Although software development is a vast and demanding field, there is much competition.


According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of employment of software developers will increase. This rate will increase by 22 percent from 2019 to 2029. It means that a large number of skilled developers will get employment.


With these statistics, what could be stopping you from landing that dream job? As insignificant as this may sound, optimizing your time may be the major problem here. If you are new in the job market or have been job hunting for a while, keep reading.


Job hunting takes time. As a newbie in the job market or an established software developer, it pays to use time well during a job search. Your time management determines the outcome of a job search. The tips below will show you how to make optimal time in the developer job hunt. These tips will also help zero out the unnecessary processes so you can focus on the steps that matter.


Find your area of specialization.

“Jack of all trades and master of none” is a phrase well deserved if you take the generalist approach as a software developer. No doubt, there are many juicy and promising areas of software development. From AI (Artificial Intelligence) to mobile and web development, the list is almost endless. So spend time discovering your area of specialization. Doing this would help save time on the hiring landscape.


Knowing where you fit into programming is a push in the right direction for career development. 

When selecting a niche, go for the one that keeps you relevant. Go for a niche with high demand. Also, spend time improving your skills and being up to date on the new technologies available in the chosen area of specialization. 


A tip is to go for an area that helps to solve people’s problems often. Before applying for any job, take some time to get your hands dirty, trying out different areas of programming. Continuous practice will expose your areas of strength and weakness. Focus on areas of competence to make use of valuable time.


Have a Job search strategy

After figuring out your area of specialization in this vast field, have a job search strategy. Streamline your search to the niche and future goals. 


When embarking on a job search, you should be able to answer some questions like:

What kind of work environment is most preferred? Do you want to work remotely or physically in an office? Do you want to work with a startup or a big-shot company? What industry are you drawn to? Are you willing to relocate? 


If you can honestly answer these questions, then conveniently build a job search strategy. There are offline job opportunities also, so it pays to speak to people and ask questions about job openings. A job search strategy will help you find good job roles on online portals.


Get familiar with the requirements of employers in your area of specialization.

Many employers are always on the lookout for qualified talents to join their teams. Before entering the job market, visit job search boards. Spend quality time looking through job postings in your area of specialization.


During the recruitment process, the recruiter almost always wants to know your level of expertise. They will dig into the details of the must-have technical skills. You might look good on paper. They are more interested in how skilled a person is.  


Look for job postings that have clear and realistic expectations of candidates. Update yourself on the tech stacks employers in the specified niche need. It also helps to familiarize yourself with the company of choice. After identifying the technologies or tech stacks, you need to have experience in, focus on getting experience.


Here are a few ideas to help you get experience if you don’t already have experience with the required technologies. 

  • First, visit some DIY sites where you don’t need to ask for permission. Utilize their services to spin up a server, write codes, deploy it and test it. Get involved in open source projects which are publicly available. Anyone can modify the source codes. You can use open-source volunteer projects to practice what you’ve learned. 
  • Volunteering your technical skills for a non-profit organization is another opportunity to gain experience and build your network extensively. Lastly, many companies offer internships. Some offer internships with the option of working remotely. 

These ideas can help put you on the right track and help reduce the time spent job hunting. 


Publish your works

In a competitive profession like computer programming, your previous work is an advantage over other candidates in the job market. Your code is the best foot forward as a developer. Before applying for a job, ensure you have an up-to-date portfolio containing all recent and old works. Unique projects will draw the attention of employers to you. 

Your online presence can make or increase chances of landing a good job. Make out time to create a website to publish readable and engaging codes. Build a profile on a website that would introduce you to employers and clients, show off your talents and also provide contact details. 


If creating and running a website is too much, there are other ways to showcase a unique profile. Publish code online on platforms like Bitbucket and your social media platforms. You can also post your ads on job boards.


Save time searching for jobs by adding a link to your codes or website on your application documents. Also, make good use of your online professional profiles by constantly updating your skills and experience. In recent times, recruiters visit the social media and professional profiles of their candidates. Go the extra mile to show your unique coding abilities. 



Deliberately keep a to-do list.

A job search is a lot of work. Intentional efforts will yield productive results in the end. To optimize your time in your developer job search, draw up a to-do list.  A to-do list may not seem like a creative approach when it comes to time management and productivity. But it remains a very effective way to optimize time. W


riting out plans gives you a clearer view of your goals and how to achieve them. A well-written out plan would help you get things done in the shortest possible time. Many people think to-do lists would not allow a free flow of their creativity. On the contrary, they help you become more productive. 


Studies show that when we make plans to achieve tasks, we are free from anxiety. 

Now you have an idea of what you need to do in your job search as a developer. Put pen to paper and make a list of the things you need to do. There are also many apps available to help you create your to-do lists with reminders too. The to-do list should have a variety of tasks. Assign priority to assignments that go from the simple and most urgent to the demanding tasks. 


Stay Focused  

Set a structured schedule for yourself. Don’t get involved in too many tasks at the same time. Multitasking does not show expertise or superiority. Many developers tend to get trapped with this mentality and end up being less productive. 


Focusing on a particular task and completing the task is good for your mental health. Now you have your tasks prioritized. It’s now time to focus on necessary tasks, to secure your desired job. Studies show that you would be more productive if you ditch multitasking and focus on one task at a time. 


It may help to put away your cell phone and get rid of other distractions like social media during your job search. A minute or two short breaks tend to keep you from optimizing your time in the developer job search. Spend focused time preparing for or searching for a new job. To help your brain and not overwork yourself, take scheduled breaks. Streamline your search for jobs in your field of expertise. 


Don’t be distracted by the other job offers of big shots in the job market.

For some people staying focused may be difficult. If you find yourself in this group, try working offline, get a good night’s rest, or choose a particular work spot. It also helps to have a time block. Assign a schedule to each task. That way, you are self-aware and able to track your time. 


Prepare for your interview rounds.

There is so much competition for developer roles. With the fact that employers now have access to developers all around the world due to the remote working option, the competition is stiffer. For developer jobs, the interview rounds are usually tough. Your experience level would determine the number of interview rounds you will go through. 


Many companies want to know how skilled you are at solving problems with codes. In some companies, you will be given sets of coding exercises, technical challenges, and finally, have conversations. Beyond all the technical exercises, remember your ability to work with people. Recruiters also want to know more about your values and how they align with company values and goals. 


There are many free and paid courses to help you prepare for your interview rounds. Utilize every platform available to prepare yourself. Learn to ask questions from developers ahead of you. Grow a network of mentors to put you through.


Many hiring managers have a way of tactically asking questions to be sure you know what you are doing. Be prepared to answer questions about your previous projects and the information on your resume.


Maintain a good network

Networking should be at the core of your job search as a developer. Networking would give room for the development of your creative abilities. You can optimize time in the developer job search by maintaining a professional network. Build good relationships with IT headhunters, recruiters, and employers. Even if you experienced rejection after a job interview, make it a point of duty to maintain a good relationship with the employer or recruiter.


Most times, they will alert you of a job opportunity. They help to correct mistakes and sometimes help prepare for your interview. Some may share the tips recruiters look out for in candidates. Knowing this will give you an edge over other candidates in an interview. Beyond finding job opportunities, networking can provide mentorship and support.


Focus on creating a good networking path for your career as a developer. Many mentors are more experienced in the field you are going into. Good mentors and professionals can influence growth in your status and give you better career opportunities. Develop long-lasting relationships. Attending a hackathon, tech meetups, and joining an online community will help you meet industry experts.


Make your resume very attractive.

Another tip you need to when applying for a job, customize your resume to suit the job description of the company. Don’t go with the one size fits all approach in your application.


Carefully study the job description you are applying for and put the required keywords in the resume. Recruiters go through several resumes, looking for relevant keywords in the job description. Also, highlight the right skills needed for the job. Even though you have more skills, focus on the skills stated in the job description. 


Your resume and cover letter should outline examples of how you solved problems related to the skills required. 



I hope you found this article useful. Here at Cloud Employee, we assist both developers looking for work and companies looking to hire dedicated offshore developers across many technologies. Talk to us, learn more about how Cloud Employee works, or see our Developer Pricing Guide.


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Maica Padillo
Senior Technical Headhunter
Work with world leading tech companies from the Philippines

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