Build Your Own Luck: How To Increase Your Chances of Being Hired

A man shaking hands with another person. No faces are visible. They are both holding laptop computers.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

We’ve all heard it–the tech job market is currently nothing but doom and gloom.  Someone on the internet has declared that there are no more tech jobs, and so we should all just stop trying… 

Don’t listen to those people.

Securing a tech job these days seems impossible, but it is still doable.  The demand for software developers is going to continue rising, but so will competition for those jobs. So how do you increase your chances of being hired? You’ll need to use every tool in your toolbox and go above and beyond in your job search, especially if you’re a new dev searching for that elusive first job.  It won’t be easy, and it often won’t feel good… but the payoff at the end can be so, so worth it. 

As you start on your job search, remember that persistence, continual learning, and personal connections will be your greatest allies.  Here are four things you should be doing to increase your changes of being hired for a software job:

Have Something to Talk About

Before you start applying, you need to build a portfolio of work… even if no potential employer ever takes a look at it.  Your portfolio should include your personal projects, school projects (if applicable), and any open-source software contributions you’ve made.

Why do you need a portfolio?  It’s not for employers to look at and review… it’s so that you have something to talk about.  There is no point in applying for software development jobs if you have no experience actually making software, even if the only software you make is for your own personal use or practice.  Building projects and adding them to your portfolio will give you concrete things to talk about in an interview.

Try to continuously improve your skills and add new things to your portfolio (which will give you even more things to talk about).  If most of your projects have been back-end or server-side, create a front-end project.  If you’ve built a handful of applications, try creating an automation script.  Dabble in a few different languages and frameworks.  The more new things you expose yourself to, the more you’ll have to talk about in an interview. 

Craft a Professional Presence

If you’re not already on LinkedIn, create an account.  If you are already on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up to date.  Your LinkedIn profile should be polished, use professional language, be free of spelling and grammatical errors, and highlight experience relevant to the type of job you’re looking for.  Make sure that you look “put together” in your profile photo, but also allow it to be representative of who you are!  (I am of the opinion that selfies are fine as LinkedIn photos, as long as they are nice selfies–your mileage may vary, but changing your profile photo is free and a relatively low-stakes operation).

Use LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your chosen area of tech, especially those who work for companies you are interested in.  When you request a connection, send the person a message along with your connection request.  The message should be personalized (don’t use the exact same message for every connection!) and say why you want to connect with that person.

Make sure that you are also posting on LinkedIn somewhat regularly, which will encourage the magical algorithm to show your profile to more people.  You can share your thoughts on interesting articles you’ve come across online, post about projects you are working on, or share a photo from an event you’ve attended.  Whatever you post, make sure that it is “appropriate for work”, and avoid any controversial or potentially offensive material. 

If you have other social media, make sure that the content you have publicly available is content that you wouldn’t mind a potential employer seeing as well. You can be the most hireable person around on LinkedIn, but if you’re posting questionable content on X, it can kill your chances of landing the job.

Go Outside and Make Friends

Search for local technology meetups, user groups, conferences, and workshops–and actually attend them.  Don’t be afraid to talk to people!  You will not make any new tech friends by standing awkwardly in the corner and drinking the free beer alone.  Networking can often help you discover job opportunities that aren’t posted online.  In many locations, the tech community can be very small and interconnected, so if a few people know that you are a new developer looking for that first job, they can ‘spread the word’ and put you in touch with companies that may be hiring, even if those companies are posting openings yet.

Local, in-person networking is very effective, but online networking can also be great!  There are several technology forums and online communities dedicated to software development that you can explore, including technology-specific subreddits, the microblogging platform X (formerly known as Twitter), and GitHub Community.

Utilize Every Resource You Can

Consider working with technology-specific recruitment agencies, which can help connect you with opportunities that match your skill level and interests (at no cost to you!).  These folks get paid by the hiring company when you get a job, so they can be very motivated to help you become an outstanding potential job candidate.  Search online reviews to find agencies that previous candidates have been happy with, and find a local operation who can make personalized connections with potential employers in your city or desired location. 

Apply for internships, if you can–some companies have entry-level programs that are available to students, self-taught developers, and bootcamp students.  If you can make a short-term arrangement work, an internship can often give you valuable real-world employment experience that will make getting your second job slightly easier. Some internship programs also have the capability to turn into full-time employment at the end of the internship period.

The more flexible you can be, the higher likelihood you have of being hired.  Don’t pigeonhole yourself into only looking for remote positions in a time where more companies are trying to move folks back into the office–but also, be open to remote work, as it can expand your job opportunities beyond the area where you live.  Freelancing, contract-to-hire, and other “nontraditional” job arrangements can be valuable experience, if you can make them work with your lifestyle.


It’s important to keep applying for jobs, even if you feel that you may not meet all the requirements of every job posting.  Yes, it’s hard to stay motivated during a long, grueling job search, and rejection feels bad… but if you don’t keep applying, you’ll never get a job.  Your first tech job is the most difficult one to get, so you can’t afford to be picky.  Set a goal of applying to a certain number of jobs each week, and do your best to meet it. Part of getting hired is being lucky, and your goal is to make yourself as lucky as possible by creating as much opportunity as you can for that luck to sneak in and increase your chances of being hired.

The job search takes time, and rejection is part of the journey.  If you can get feedback from previous interviewers, use it to improve your skills and increase your chances of landing the job next time.  Keep working on your portfolio, networking with professionals in the field, and striving for that job… good luck out there! 

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