What’s Going On in the Tech Job Market, and How Can Candidates Navigate It?
A tech candidate hands in his portfolio during his job search.

The tech job market has been vastly different in 2023 compared to 2022. Many jobseekers are fighting an uphill battle. It used to be that you could just put your resume out there and quickly receive a number of calls or emails to line up your next opportunity. Now, it’s essential to leverage your network to find those opportunities — and to keep your network strong moving forward.

For staff-level tech positions, the process is still moving quickly for many candidates. However, higher-level roles (like CIO) are becoming more difficult to land. In addition, many companies are looking for in-office or hybrid employees vs. fully remote ones.

With these and other challenges in mind, how can you successfully navigate the tech job market? Here are six recommendations from The Doyle Group that will help:

1. Connect With Past Colleagues, Friends, and Vendor Partners

It’s important to let those in your network know that you’re looking for a new opportunity. They may have inside knowledge that can point you in the right direction. At the same time, you’ll want to expand your professional network as much as possible. Consider attending happy hours, gatherings, and other events where you can meet professionals in the same space. 

In addition, put your name out there when communicating with vendor partners. Work your contacts, and look for referral opportunities. Interestingly, one study found that 88% of employers rate employee referral programs as the best source of applicants. Moreover, the more senior the person referring you, the more likely you are to get hired. In fact, 91% of all candidates referred by a director-level employee or higher land the desired job, compared to 53% referred by entry-level employees.

The point is that working your network can yield good results and may give you a leg up on other candidates applying for the same job.

2. Partner With a Recruiting Firm

Well-positioned and long-established placement firms (like The Doyle Group) keep a good pulse on the job market. They offer sound advice and practical support to help you succeed in your job search. For example:

  • Recruiters let you know what types of roles are trending at present.
  • Placement firms can work through their network, and leverage connections with companies they know are hiring. In fact, they may even be able to provide you access to roles that haven’t yet been posted online.
  • They can advocate for you to make sure that your unique background and skill set get noticed. 

It’s been said that a job search can be a full-time job in itself. Working with a placement firm can take some of that pressure off you, and help you land a role more quickly.

3. Be Flexible

Consider if you can be more flexible in the type of job opportunity you’re seeking. For example, you may prefer a fully remote work environment, but can you accept a hybrid schedule instead? Approximately 40% of tech roles are not fully remote — which means you’d be significantly limiting your options by insisting on a 100% work-from-home environment.

Of course, circumstances vary, and you may require a fully remote role at present. However, flexibility to the extent possible will open many doors in your job search.

4. Use Your Time To Advance Your Experience and Skill Set

Even as you’re looking for a new opportunity, you can use your time to make yourself more marketable to potential employers. For instance, you can hone your skills by completing guided or self-paced training courses; obtaining certifications in your desired field (such as coding/web development); and even looking for freelance opportunities to add to your experience.

5. Update Your Professional Profiles and Portfolios

It’s important to keep up with your profiles and portfolios on social media. For example, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with your latest information, and reflects your current level of experience. If you’re a developer, ensure your GitHub account is updated with recent code samples. Of course, make sure that your portfolio also stays up-to-date.

How important is it to maintain your social profiles and portfolios in this way? One study found that over 85% of recruiters and employers feel that a social media profile is “somewhat” to “extremely” important. Clearly, employers are active on these platforms, and are interested in the digital presence that job candidates maintain on these networks.

6. Attend In-Person Events Specific to Your Discipline

It may be a good idea to attend in-person conferences, trade shows, job fairs, etc. These events can be great networking opportunities, and may even directly lead you to job openings that fit your preferred criteria. 

Keep in mind that it is best to attend events specific to your discipline or desired field of employment. While you may receive offers or identify opportunities for other roles that don’t really align with your goals, attending discipline-specific events can help you to stay focused on what you really want. In other words, it’s a way to prioritize quality over quantity.

In summary, the job market is challenging for many candidates right now. However, by implementing the six recommendations discussed above you’ll be able to effectively navigate the tech job market, and land the right role for you. If you’d like to explore more tips on how to conduct a successful job search, be sure to check out The Doyle Group’s catalog of valuable resources; or reach out to our team directly for more information.

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