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2021: Breaking Up with the Casual Job Search

January 6th, 2021

Over the past year, companies have scrambled and adapted to the chaos of the pandemic. Even software engineers, who are typically in high demand (and often insulated from layoffs) have found themselves looking for new jobs.  But looking for a new job and committing to your job search are two very different paths.

This year, we break up with the casual job search.  Maybe not forever, but for now. We move into 2021 with the prospect of an effective vaccine, traveling, and seeing friends & family again.  We’re also looking forward to more stability in the job market.  And for some industries, 2020 has catapulted businesses into rapid growth. This year we expect that the fintech, online gaming and health tech industries will continue to grow and hire.  

The way businesses are hiring and how they are deciding to expand their teams is undeniably linked to what has happened over the past year. Casual job seekers who are not motivated to make a move or aren’t dedicated to the jobs they are applying for will be overlooked.

Take it Seriously: It’s expensive and time consuming to hire a new employee.  Some TA or HR teams may be short staffed as furloughed employees have not returned. Hiring managers are stretched thin; trying to rebuild and reorganize teams to meet demand.  Just as your time is valuable, so is theirs.  Take your application and interviews seriously.

The First Impression is More Important than Ever: Not only do you have to get off to the right start in the interviewing process, but you also need to show that you are an employee capable of transitioning to your new job. This is particularly important if you are working remotely or partially remotely.  You are asking a new employer to trust you without them ever having seen you interact in-person with clients or co-workers. Your first impression isn’t contained to the first video interview. It is extended into your first days or weeks of work, where you must build their trust in your abilities as you meet (or e-meet) your team one-by-one. You will be making a first impression over and over again. Even living room video meetings need to exude professionalism.

Ask the Right Questions: It has always been important to ask useful questions in an interview. But now, more than ever, you need to research and prepare your questions (with follow up questions & researched responses) prior to your interviews. Time is a premium – your ability to ask insightful questions will start a conversation in lieu of a back-and-forth Q&A. This is the time to show your investment in the job and the company.

Know the History & the Market: You know the company and the job inside and out. But do you know what their hiring looked like pre-pandemic? How have they adapted or changed their structure over the past year? Know their pain points and show them how you can concretely contribute to solving their business needs.

Be Ready: Your resume, or at minimum, a strong foundation for a resume should be ready to edit and send on-demand.  While many companies are abandoning cover letters all together, it is important to have bullet points and a general format prepared. Expect potential technical tests and think about how you will need to plan your time – especially if you are home with children or other distractions.


If you’re not sure how to get your technical job search started, the Talener team can help to guide you as you consider whether a change in position is right for you.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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