Whether you're a hands-on DevOps practitioner, a VP, or any other title under the DevOps sun, there's no question you're in hot demand. However, some of you will be sitting out there reading this and thinking "What is this guy talking about? I've been searching for a new DevOps job for 2 months and haven't even got past the recruiter interview to speak with the hiring manager." Good news, this article is for you.
First things first, are you selling yourself correctly?
No matter if it's your resume, LinkedIn profile, personal website or any other methods you may be using, make sure you're making those first impressions count. Your LinkedIn profile should be up to date with relevant content. Do hiring managers need to know that you worked in a part-time job in the local grocery store 10 years ago? No. They do however want to see what you have achieved in your current and previous roles, and in the mind of these managers, not all DevOps jobs are created equal. There are a number of you out there who come from systems administration or infrastructure backgrounds who aren't selling yourselves correctly. If you have been using configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible or Saltstack, you should add these to your resume. The same goes for container orchestration tools such as Docker and Kubernetes, continuous integration tools, and so on. Don't create an exhaustive list, but make sure to mention how whichever technologies you most often used allowed you to achieve project goals.
Are employers able to find you easily?
Don't bother uploading your resume onto every single job board, this just wastes the time of all parties concerned. You should, however, upload your resume to the right locations. Hired and Monster are some of the go-to places, and while there aren't many specialist DevOps recruitment companies out there, I can drop a shameless plug and mention my team at Salt is always worth speaking to, whether it's for consultation on current market trends or to actively search for your next move.
Drop your ego!
In my last post over on DevOps.com, I told hiring managers to drop their ego when it comes to hiring. Sometimes, candidates need to drop theirs as well.
"I won't consider working at any company that won't let me wear a Batman outfit every day of the year, barefoot and with an automated snack machine that unwraps protein bars before passing them directly into my mouth."
Stop being so entitled. Don't get me wrong, I love freedom of expression and the idea of wearing whatever you want. The point I'm getting at is to be open-minded and not to put roadblocks in your own way. Open as many doors as possible at the start, and focus your options once you truly know what you're dealing with. That one company you may have written off in the beginning might have given you the opportunity to work with an exceptional team, on the coolest and most innovative products you've ever imagined. Who knows, maybe they would have been the next Netflix, Twitter, or Snapchat.
You're speaking to a recruiter, great...but are they reputable?
Some recruiters are generalists. That's not an automatic red light, but when we're talking about a niche area with a plethora of technical skills to understand, it helps to speak to someone who speaks your language and can easily decode your likes, dislikes and overall background. On the recruiter's LinkedIn profile, do they have recommendations from other clients and candidates in the same tech space, or have they only been referred by other recruiters? If you're going to trust them with finding your next career move, it's worthwhile to ensure you're speaking to someone who can understand and go to bat for your needs. Speak to other folks in the space as well -- who did they use to find their dream job?
Rapport isn't just for sales people.
Amazing technical skills but no knowledge of the company? You're starting off on the wrong foot. It doesn't take five minutes to find out some useful information on the company prior to the interview. Go to their website and click on the "About Us" section. Now to show you actually care, think about your own passions and values and demonstrate how they align with those of the company - hiring managers will love this, so be genuine.
To really make a great impression, do some research on your interviewing team on LinkedIn. Where did they work previously? Do you have any mutual connections? Asking about their triathlon last month or mentioning you both worked with the same person on a project five years ago may seem trivial, but it can go a long way towards warming an interview team to you. Remember, this doesn't need to be time consuming, just take a quick look and find something you have in common to build some rapport.
Searching for a new job doesn't just mean sitting behind your laptop or making calls. Be sure to attend events and conferences to continue learning and networking. You'll often bump into hiring managers or other team members who could end up being future colleagues. A tip is to also promote yourself via social networks. Take some pictures, tweet about the event and/or share some content from the event on LinkedIn. This reinforces you are part of the DevOps community and someone worth connecting with. In many cities, there are conferences such as DevOpsDays, Container Days, and CloudExpo, among others.
Make the right decision for you.
Figure out what drives you, be it interesting projects, great working environments, awesome teams, making an impact, or a mix of the above. If you're lucky enough to have two or three job offers on the table, you need to dig deep to differentiate between the opportunities. I've seen people walk away from $250-300K salaries to take a job paying $180K. Why? Because they looked internally and realized that the other role suited their lifestyle, allowed them to prioritize family life, and the work was way more stimulating. In a different scenario of course, another individual might be better suited to take the heftier salary.
Once you've decided what really matters to you, there are a few simple things you can do to help with making these tough decisions. Start with getting a pen and paper to list out the pros and cons of each job - you'd be surprised how effective such a simple process can be for visualization and helping to clear your mind. Once you've had this internal discussion, engage with some trusted resources. Speak to your partner, family members, some ex-colleagues who know your working style, and finally consult with your recruiter - a good recruiter will provide non-biased advice with the goal of helping your career.
As a final point, I know the job searching process can be arduous for many people. For those of you with many options to choose from but who are still finding it stressful, remember to enjoy it! You have the opportunity to re-evaluate what's truly important to you and align it with your future. Realize how lucky you are, don't take these times for granted, and be proud you have such in-demand skills.