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Job Search Hacks That Work In Today's Market

Top tips to help you land the role you're dreaming of

Kelli Smith
Kelli Smith
Dec 10, 2023
 min read
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Job Search Hacks That Work In Today's Market

In the latest Tech Ladies Career Office Hours, Wendy Saccuzzo, Head of Community and Career Services at Tech Ladies, along with Caro Griffin, General Manager at Tech Ladies, shared job search tips you need to know right now to give yourself a competitive edge as you look for your next position. And we’re sharing their top recommendations here to help you land your next great opportunity.

Refine Your Resume

Your resume is often the first interaction you have with potential employers. To make sure you stand out in a sea of applicants, refining your resume is a crucial step. Here are some key strategies to enhance your resume and boost your chances of moving to the next stage with a company.

Keyword Optimization

In the age of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), optimizing your resume with relevant keywords is, well, key. 😏 But don’t get carried away! Instead of stuffing your resume with every word you think an employer might be interested in, you should identify 2-3 core areas of expertise that align with the role to get noticed by ATS algorithms.

And, if you’re not sure which areas you should choose, spend some time to identify what energizes you the most – the aspects of your work that make you excited. These are usually where you can make the most impact, which is what an employer really wants from you.

If you're transitioning into a new field, strategically highlight your transferable skills in your resume. Demonstrate how skills from your previous roles can make a positive impact in your new role. By doing this, you not only hit relevant keywords but also showcase your adaptability and readiness to take on new challenges.


Resist the temptation to overload your resume with excessive details. Keep it clear, concise, and focused on the essentials:

  • Accomplishments
  • Career Experience
  • Education

And remember that you can always include more details on your LinkedIn profile if you want employers or recruiters to be able to dive into your background more. Recruiters often have limited time, and a clutter-free resume makes it easier for them to grasp your key strengths quickly.

You can also harness the power of technology for your resume. By inputting it along with the job posting you’re interested in into tools like ChatGPT or JobScan, you can get more insights and suggestions to improve your chances that a potential employer will move forward with you.

But, once you've optimized and simplified your resume, stop tweaking. We’ve seen that, at this point, you’ll see more gains by spending your time learning and networking. Engaging in professional development and building meaningful connections are just as important to  enhance your profile and make you a more appealing candidate.

Tell a Clear Career Story

Your professional journey is more than a collection of roles; it's a narrative that showcases your skills, experiences, and aspirations. One effective way to communicate this story is through the present-past-future structure.

Here’s an example of how Wendy would tell her career story:

"I’m Wendy, and I lead Community and Career Services at Tech Ladies. My work is informed by my experience as a career counselor and coach, working with underrepresented people in career transition."

Wendy begins by introducing herself in her present role, emphasizing the significance of her work now. This establishes a clear starting point and gives context for whatever she shares after.

"My past experience has spanned technical recruiting, customer success, and sales. I thrive on building programs that help companies hire and retain diverse teams."

Then Wendy talks about her past experience, showcasing the breadth of her skills. She paints a comprehensive picture of her professional background and adds a memorable personal touch by talking about her passion for building programs.

"Looking ahead to my next step, I want to contribute my expertise in career development, DEI, and community to further change the ratio in tech."

Wendy finishes by talking about what she’s looking for in the future. This shows she has a clear vision for her career and is committed to making a meaningful impact in her field.

You can include your own career story in your LinkedIn About section, cover emails, and job interviews plus tailor it to specific roles you're applying for, adding, for example, details like recent courses or areas of excitement that align with the position.

Just be sure to keep it clear and concise. It may take some practice and getting feedback from friends or job search partners to refine your story, but it’ll be worth it to have this super effective tool in your job search.

If you’re transitioning fields or or currently unemployed, Wendy recommends a simple tweak to the first sentence to reflect your situation. Simply say instead "Most recently, I have" followed by what you did in your latest role.

Connect with Others

Finding the right opportunity nowadays often relies on more than just qualifications – Leveraging your connections can be just as powerful in your job search. It’s said that over 80% of (and maybe even more) people find work through their network. Whatever the exact number is, it’s clear that networking is vital to both finding a new job and having a successful and rewarding career.

But, contrary to popular belief, you don't need an extensive network of close relationships to make meaningful connections. "Loose" connections, i.e. people you’ve met only briefly, can be incredibly valuable too. The key is to use your network strategically.

Your networking efforts should focus on two main goals: helping others understand your impact and learning from their experiences. This kind of reciprocal approach not only strengthens your connections but also builds a network that’s genuinely invested in your success.

To make it easier - and less awkward 👀 - when you reach out, share the following when you reach out to someone, whether they’re new or well-known:

  • Why you’re reaching out so they understand where you’re coming from and why they should respond.
    I noticed you work at XYZ AI. I’m a full stack engineer, and I’ve really been enjoying digging into how artificial intelligence can be used in software development. I’d love to talk with you about the latest trends and where the industry is going.
  • Your calendar link to make it simple to arrange a time to connect. (You can use a free tool like Calendly or even Google Calendar to set up time slots for networking chats.)
    Would you have 15 minutes to chat next week? Here’s my calendar link or just let me know if you have a calendar I can book from.

And don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply right away. A polite follow-up message a few days later can show you’re really interested in meeting with them and hopefully convince them to respond.

Ask for It

Sometimes the simple act of asking can open doors to new opportunities that you didn’t even know existed. And there’s plenty of ways to reach out to others about what you need.

LinkedIn Posts

Put together something - short or long - about your situation now, what you're looking for, and how others can support you. Drafting this can bring you more clarity, and posting it on LinkedIn is sure to bring you a response, probably even bigger and better than you expect.


Asking for people’s opinions - on your portfolio, on your resume, on an interview, etc - can be intimidating, but it's an important part of professional development. The insights you get from others’ feedback can not only contribute to personal improvement but also foster stronger connections with them. So use asking for it as an opportunity to both learn and build relationships.

User Manual

Consider creating a document about your work style, professional preferences, strength/personality assessments, etc. This “user manual” can be a valuable resource for connections to understand you and of course for new colleagues when you start a new role.

Job Search Summary

When you’re networking around your job search, especially when you’re trying to do it privately (if, for example, you’re still in your current role), you can be much more effective by creating a 1-page job search summary with info on:

  • the key roles you’ve had before
  • what you’re good at and some of your biggest wins and accomplishments
  • the kinds of companies and roles you’re looking for, with examples

Once you have that, you can reach out to your contacts with just a short email like:

Hey! Hope you’re doing well. I’d love to catch up when you have time.

Until then, I wanted to let you know that I’m on the search (privately) for a new role. It’d be great if you could keep an eye out for any roles you think might be a match or if you have any suggestions. I’m attaching a doc with details on my background and what I’m looking for.

Thanks so much! Hope to talk with you soon.

Target Your Search

In this competitive job market, landing your dream role often means more than submitting applications and waiting for a response. If you've been getting rejections or are just looking for a more proactive approach, consider being more focused in your search.

1. Create a Target Company List

Start by creating a list of companies that align with your career goals. Whether you're interested in a specific industry, are looking for a role in a ceratin location, or want to work at a startup or small company, having a list of companies that fit this criteria is the first step.

2. Connect with 10 Companies per Week

Choose 10 of your target companies each week and proactively reach out to someone there. This can be someone in a role similar to ones you’re interested in or someone from their recruiting/hiring team. Send a personalized messages about your interest in the company and ask if they'd be open to meeting with you. Showing your genuine interest this way can set you apart from other applicants and get you personally connected with someone at the company..

3. Stay Informed about Your Target Companies

Set up Google Alerts for news and updates about them. And follow them on LinkedIn to see their posts in your feed. This will make sure you're well-informed for when you talk to the company and have ideas for what to talk about then.

BONUS TIP: If you're open to working with earlier stage companies, use sources like Tech Crunch, Y-Combinator, and Hacker News to identify companies that have recently gotten funding. When this happens, a company will often soon be hiring (plus have “runway” to keep paying their team) so you’ll know when it’s worth reaching out.  often embark on hiring sprees shortly after funding rounds.

Know Your Worth

Hopefully all these tips bring you an offer for your dream job. When they do, you can use our last few tips to navigate the salary conversation.

It used to be the rule of thumb to ask for your last or current salary plus 20% when you were looking for a new job. But, with the shift to more remote work and changes in the economy, it’s been much harder lately to pin down salary trends.

To figure out what might be the right pay level for you, you might need to do some research. The following online resources are great for salary info: 

And, since many employers are now sharing salary levels in job postings, looking at job sites, like the Tech Ladies Job Board, can help you learn on an even more detailed level about what similar roles are commanding. (FYI - Here at Tech Ladies, we educate our partners on the importance of sharing salaries in job postings, including a 5-article series on the pay transparency. And, while we do share roles that don’t include pay levels so that you won’t miss out on these roles, many of our postings do have salary info.)

You can also learn about salary levels in your networking conversations. Be sure to share about the size, type of company, and industry you’re talking about. Then, so you don’t have to ask someone to name their salary, you can instead say something like, “In my most recent role, I was making X. I’m seeing salaries for new roles in between Y and Z. Is that consistent with what you’ve seen?”

Or, with people you’re comfortable with (like with close former colleagues or in private communities, like the Tech Ladies Pro Slack), you can ask more directly (but maybe by DM if it feels more appropriate) about salary. However you do it, you can know that even trying to have these conversations is a step towards narrowing the gender pay gap.

When it comes to filling out an application or talking with recruiters or hiring managers about salary, sharing a range, usually leads to them focusing on the lower end. So try to avoid that and instead calculate an average you’re comfortable with.

Better yet, If you’re asked about salary, try the following to start a friendly and collaborative discussion:

“I don’t know enough about the scope of the role to name a number today. But I’m happy to talk with you about the range you’ve set up for the role and then I can let you know if we’re in alignment.”


“Can we pause the conversation around salary until I know some more about the role so we can align ourselves better at the next step?”

No matter how many of the above tips you decide to use, please keep in mind the 1/3 rule for your job search:  


  • 1/3 of your time in job search activities
  • 1/3 of your time connecting
  • 1/3 of your time learning

This will help make sure your job search is effective, but, more importantly, it will help keep you balanced as you navigate the path to finding a job you love.

Kelli works with our hiring partners, helping them connect with Tech Ladies interested in joining their great teams. She’s an expert in customer success and has worked in tech, including recruiting and hiring, for the past ten years. Kelli lives in southeastern Finland and loves dancing, podcasts, and productivity apps.
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Job Searching

Job Search Hacks That Work In Today's Market

Kelli Smith
Kelli Smith
Dec 10, 2023
 min read
Job Search Hacks That Work In Today's Market