It’s not all about Cupertino and Mountain View—the whole of the U.S. Pacific Coast has become a hotspot of tech activity, and will continue to be, with thousands of workers still moving there each year.
What began as a community centred around San Francisco and Silicon Valley has since spread down through Southern California, but also far north, through the green forests up to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. While the changing job market due to Covid-19 caused somewhat of a worker exodus from San Francisco, the westward pull of top tech talent continues.
With all of this comes not only fierce competition for roles, but from the outside looking in it seems like applying for jobs there is a whole different ball game, with unwritten rules. For those of us who have recently or are in the process of switching to the tech world, breaking in can look impossible.
You’ll need several things to learn, starting with research on any insights and insider tips possible, then to prepare yourself. You’ll want to arrive (physically or digitally) into the Californian sunshine with your personal branding on point, with professional connections already being made, and a bit of a profile already.
Not only will you need to present your most engaged, inspired, and competitive self to them, but the tricks and tactics you were using elsewhere won’t work out here. This means dispensing with moves like the spray-and-pray attitude to job applications and applying to multiple positions in the same company. Instead, the potential employer needs to see you as an applicant with a unified approach tailored to them, who not only can match the skills but also has researched and is in tune with the culture of their company.
You’ll have to change up your networking game, too. Sending out speculative LinkedIn connections and flattery won’t get you so far out here. Focus on adding value to your relationships, and you’ll find things opening up—active, transactional networking is your friend here.
Cracking the West Coast tech scene takes a bit more work and a different approach than the rest of the U.S. But take the time to cultivate the right job search strategy for this popular corner of the job market, and you won’t look back.
Tiffany A. Dedeaux
Career Advisor at CareerFoundry
Tiffany A. Dedeaux is a certified career coach and senior resumé writer based in Seattle. She empowers purpose-driven professionals to work outside the box of buildings, expectations, and routines to find personal growth and career satisfaction. She is a cross-pollinator of ideas with a background in broadcast journalism, social and ecopsychology, and coaching. When she’s not supporting top tech industry workers, Tiffany is passionate about helping new grads and career changers find their voice and prepare to rise and meet every challenge.
Geeta Pereira specializes in People/HR Operations—essentially, optimizing systems and processes to serve and empower any workforce. She has extensive experience in helping start-ups and tech companies scale. She has worked as an HR generalist and recruiter in New York City and now does so in Los Angeles. Ask her about the tech job market, her ambitious baking and cooking endeavors, and Masterpiece television.
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