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Megan
Megan

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180 Days into my Job Search - Reflection

Wow... I can't believe it's already been 6 months of being on the job search. Given the global pandemic and whatnot, it has definitely not been easy!

But I've been lucky enough to have an internship and a bunch of great interview experiences.

As the end of my 6 months is coming quickly, I just wanted to share my reflections on the last 180 days with anyone going through the same challenges and difficulties of finding a software engineering job during this time.

I've found my #1 most important part of all of this:

Mental health

Along the way I neglected this the most and found that now, 180 days later, it's really come to back to bite me. I pushed through all of the difficult days and kept my eyes on the prize for 6 whole months but now that I've gotten my fair share of rejections and have had time to reflect, I've realized I'm totally burnt out.

I've been working on a project for a potential employer and have had difficulty just staying focused. I had to email them and let them know I wouldn't be done on time, which is something I work my hardest to never let happen. But I had to take this time for myself.

So please don't be like me and make sure to prioritize your mental health first and foremost. It is the most important thing and believe me when I say opportunities will always be there but your sanity won't.

Reach out, reach out, reach out

People swear by referrals, but that didn't actually end up working out that well for me. Surprisingly just reaching out to people really helped me to connect more with the community and just gain great advice from more experienced, senior devs.

I found that hearing about other people's journeys really helped me to put my own into perspective and gave me confidence when approaching interviews and recruiters.

I did however, have a great response rate from direct emails. That is 100% the way to go and I would tell my younger (6 months ago) self that LinkedIn connection requests will not get you anywhere.

I was also prescribed LinkedIn premium and that too did not seem to be worth its weight in $$$ at all. This is just my perspective but in my opinion, for what I was offered (even with just the free trial) it does not nearly justify the price.

Practice makes perfect

Do:

  • do more projects and continue to work on your skills
  • learn new technologies and try to stay up to date on exciting new products that interest you

Don't:

  • forget to look back at old projects and polish up ones that you might want to show to prospective employers
  • get too discouraged from rejection emails, they're common so just keep your head up!

Stay active

Keep up your social profiles and blog posts just to show that you are a part of the community.

I had a response to one of my emails letting me know that the prospective employer had read one of my blog posts and was reminded of their earlier experiences. Honestly, up until that point I didn't think anyone really paid attention to my blog posts.

But it was a good reminder that it's important to stay active in the community, be it by writing blog posts or just tweeting about what you've been up to. It's good to have a social media presence even if it isn't a huge one.

Thank you

I wanted to say thank you if you've actually been following along with my blog posts in the slightest. I know lately I've written a bunch of reflective blog posts, but I have done so in the hopes that these posts could be helpful to others going through the same things as me!

Just know that if you're still on this journey, we'll get there eventually. And as my old teacher told me, it just takes one! Hopefully you'll get that one soon 😊

Wishing you all the best! ❤️

Discussion (5)

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jonlim profile image
Jon Lim

Hey Megan,

Thanks for sharing your experiences after 180 days of searching for a job. If you're looking for your first role as a software engineer, it's definitely a journey (and a tough one, at that) to land your first gig, especially if you are coming from a less traditional background.

Keep fighting the good fight, and take care of yourself during these times. Feel free to reach out if I can help at all - I'm 5 years into my career in software, started as a self-taught developer, and constantly thinking about where my career can go from here.

Cheers,
Jon

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mwong068 profile image
Megan Author

Hi Jon,

Thanks so much for your response! I really appreciate the kind words. I'd love to chat sometime if you're free and hear about your 5 year journey in software engineering.

All the best,
Megan

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jonlim profile image
Jon Lim

Hey Megan,

Happy to chat any time. :) Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, and we can figure things out from there.

linkedin.com/in/jonlim/

Cheers,
Jon

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ericfleming profile image
Eric Fleming

Mental health is so so so important. I definitely had a few weeks where I burnt out and didn't apply to anything. But that was also a part of the recovery process that allowed me to keep going until the point where I finally broke through. Trust in the process of doing, reflecting, and incremental improvement through iteration. You will break through too! This is just another chapter in your superhero story of obstacles that you will over come.

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mwong068 profile image
Megan Author

Thanks Eric! I really appreciate that and thanks for sharing your experience!