Hired! In San Francisco

When people find out that I’m a native San Fransican – it’s typically met with – “Really?!” San Francisco is full of newcomers, transients, and passers-by. It’s part of what makes the city so wonderful and unique. I’m often asked by people who have recently moved here, or are about to move here, how to go about tapping into the thriving job market.

There are a few basics that are necessary:

A killer LinkedIn profile

There are plenty of online resources with tips and guides on how to highlight your best qualities. Stick with concrete accomplishments, a few strong recommendations, and as many connections as possible.

Personal website

Most people who have worked in San Francisco, particularly in tech, have an online presence of one sort or another. Making a simple website using weebly, wix, or (for the more sophisticated users) wordpress is a great way to tell recruiters that you exist and are serious about being in technology. Doesn’t need to be complicated, just include your resume, a few hobbies, and any portfolio of projects. It’s a great way to express yourself and differentiate yourself from the crowd. If you’re applying for a technical role, be sure to include you github account; for designers, a portfolio is a must.

Network

The best way to get a job is through an introduction from someone you know. Period. Bar none. Network, network, network. LinkedIn is a great tool for this. Find a job or company you’re interested in, and then search to see how you might be connected to someone who works there, or who formerly worked there. The valley is a small place – you’ll quickly be connected to many companies. Ask to be introduced, go get coffee, or a drink with folks you know.

Start looking specifically

Job boards

Venture Capital Firms

Read the news

If you are new to the area, and new to the industry – welcome! There is a plethora of information to read about the technology world. VentureBeat, Re-Code, and TechCrunch all report on the goings on, mergers, investments, and new companies. You won’t want to look uninformed in an interview when someone asks you what you think about that latest and greatest happenings.

Show up in person

It’s possible to start applying to jobs before you arrive, but most companies will want to meet you in person – more than once.

Here is a common interview process one might go through:

  1. Skype / Phone interview with recruiter
  2. Phone interview with hiring manager
  3. In person interview with hiring manager and a few other folks
  4. Meet the whole team

Common practices for technical roles

  1. Technical interview (architecture / thought / whiteboard exercise)
  2. Coding test (actually writing code, solving problems)

Common practices for design roles

  1. Design workshop (lead creative workshop on sample project)
  2. Design project (take – home creative project)

Culture fit

It’s easy to think that applying for a job is about the best skill set – wrong! Culture is a very serious part of the technology community here – each company has it’s own vibe, practices, and unique culture. Pay attention to the subjective things you learn about the company through the interview process to learn if you’re going to fit in well. The company will certainly be evaluating you on culture fit as well. Basics such as being friendly to recruiters, office management, administrators, are key – as well as more traditional etiquette such as thank you emails, punctuality, and preparedness.

Attire

Whatever you do – don’t show up in a suit! My first day at my first job I didn’t know what to wear. My manager had told me casual, my parents encouraged me to “step it up.” I ended up wearing a pencil skirt and a blazer. At the end of the day – bless her heart – my manager (a wonderful Executive who was the Chief of Staff at Verisign internationally for many years) took me aside and kindly mentioned that tomorrow, I should feel free to wear jeans.

Not dressing the part demonstrates that you don’t understand the world very well. Dark jeans and a button down with well groomed accessories is good measure for most start-ups. Just be prepared that whomever the interview is with probably will be dressed more casual.

Notable exception:

– Enterprise sales executives: dress the part!

Get the basics right and you’ll have a job in no time. Much easier than finding an apartment!

 Find me on LinkedIn.

One thought on “Hired! In San Francisco

  1. Great tips! I don’t think you can overstate the importance of networking.

    One thing I would add: Networking is not about meeting people to try to get something out of them. It is about making real connections with them. If you meet someone, don’t ask for a job. Ask them about themselves, ask them what you can do to make your skills more relevant, ask them where you can meet more people in the field.

    If they don’t know you well, asking them to recommend you puts them in an uncomfortable position. On the other hand, if you show passion for your work, they will want to get know you more, and eventually will recommend you without you ever having to ask.

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