It’s a very exciting time to be in Silicon Valley. A lot of really, really smart people are hard at work, using technology to solve real problems. Don’t believe the depressing news reports. There has been no better time to get a job. You have a wonderful opportunity to make a difference and work in an exciting organization with amazing people.
Of course most people would never believe me that getting a job in Silicon Valley is easy. And it’s not. But it’s not as hard as you think. In fact with the proper roadmap, you can target specific companies and increase your chances of nailing that interview.
So here are some tips that I used to land my job in Palo Alto.
1. Reach Out To Your Network
Look through your phonebook and make a note of the ones already working in Silicon Valley. They can help point you in the right direction and in most cases, make introductions to the necessary people.
Of course you have to ask and put yourself out there. No one is going to read your mind that you are looking for an opportunity.
When I first decided to move out to the Bay Area, I reached out to three friends that worked in the industry that I wanted to get into. Within a few days, I had four introductions lined up.
No one knows you better than your friends. And no one will help you quite like your friends.
But what happens f none of your friends work in the sector you want to break into? Well you need to either get new friends or…
2. Reach Out To New Contacts
I received an email last week from a man in New York asking me for career advice. It was a very nice email that showed he knew about our company, knew a bit about me and wanted to know about what it’s like working in Business Development. I was more than happy to meet with him, as I would be in New York that week. Did I have all the answers for Kevin? Probably not. But he took the initiative to ask about a field he was interested in.
And I think you should do the same. If no one close to you works in your target field, then ask! LinkedIn is a great tool for finding such people.
And with a nice written email, I’m certain that you could get at least a 15-minute conversation with them. This is priceless as it builds a new connection and sheds light about that particular field.
Just make sure you do your due diligence. There is nothing once than asking someone for their time, and expecting them to do all the work for you.
Know in advance what you want to ask. Above all be thankful, humble and genuine.
But some people will say “But Eric, I can’t just cold call or email someone like that! It’s scary!”
Yes, it is scary, but you’ll never get answers if you don’t ask questions. Besides, most people were once in your shoes and needed help or advice. They’d be glad to pay it forward.
3. Do Your Homework
Now, I’m not saying that you have to know everything about tech, Palo Alto, Facebook and Techcrunch to get a job in the Valley. That would be ludacris.
But it does help to know the ecosystem that your prospective company is in. It’s usually the first thing career centers tell you, but you’d be surprised at how many people I have had walk into our office asking for a job, yet not know anything about what we do or who we help.
Understand the sector and know the company history. It also helps to know a bit a bout the different culture that encompasses Silicon Valley. That will help you understand why walking into an interview in jeans and a shirt is probably more appropriate than a shirt and tie.
4. Follow Up.
Wait no more than a week to follow up with prospective companies. There is no point in doing all this work and then ruin it by failing to follow up.
Thank everyone you spoke to and tell them you’ll follow up on a specific date (about 2 weeks later) to see the status of your conversations.
Following these tips won’t guarantee you a job. But hopefully they’ll make your search easier.