With the amount of Meetup members and Meetup groups growing rapidly, especially of late, it’s important to know how to best utilize these unique and specialized gatherings for career fulfillment - use these tips to maximize the value you get from attending and networking!
“What do you love?” asks Meetup.com as you view its homepage. Just below, the website encourages users to “Do more of it with Meetup.” Based on Meetup’s own About page, there are approximately 35.3 million members of the website that belong to any one of just over 300,000 groups across the globe. Are you a part of that 35.3 million? Perhaps you should consider it. We have written numerous times about the value of face-to-face networking in our blogs and it should come as no surprise that within the recruiting field, we here at Jobspring Partners consistently see that the most important hiring decisions are made only after a face-to-face meeting has happened.
Different from other events and event series, Meetup groups tend to be very connected to – often born from – the local ecosystem, providing a consistently relevant audience that also offers the opportunity to grow your personal network with people in your own industry.
To top it off, the Meetup community is rapidly growing! For these reasons, it’s important to keep your in-person networking skills as sharp as possible. Here are some tips to reap the maximum reward from these groups and events.
Before the Event
Know the group. How many people consider themselves members of said group? What are the key goals that the group looks to accomplish? Some groups exist to solve problems, some to facilitate networking opportunities, and still others to provide additional content sharing through panel discussions or demo opportunities. It’s important to identify which camp this group belongs to in order to provide necessary context and a framework of how the night may go. For instance, if the group doesn’t do events focused on product demos from local companies, it may not be the best event for pitching your brand-new startup idea. The audience of the group simply may not be who you're looking to get in front of.
Secondly, know the event. If you RSVP on the Meetup page and show up without any other knowledge of the agenda for the evening, you may end up incredibly turned-around once the event begins. Will there be a speaker session or panel discussion or is the event an extended networking period? Having this knowledge beforehand helps color your goals for the evening. If most of the evening is blocked-off for a panel discussion, it’s unlikely that there will be a large portion of time dedicated to networking. Logically, if your aim is to collect business cards, you will most likely experience a difficult time of it if there are only 15 minutes before and after the event to speak with other attendees.
Finally, know yourself. it’s important to set some tangible goals. Whether that means your goal is to leave with a set amount of business cards, shake a certain number of hands that evening, or leave with the email address of a manager that will be hiring for a role in which you’re interested, having preset goals is important for holding yourself accountable. If possible, set yourself three types of goals: a networking goal, a learning goal, and an interaction goal. This way, you are constantly working towards accomplishing something and feel incentivized to meet, learn, and connect.
During the Event
You’ve elevatored up to correct floor and you’re standing in line to be checked in. You see how many people have already arrived: so many new faces and so many members potentially to be added to your network. What topics do you plan to discuss? Consider bringing a few pre-prepared questions for the people with whom you will be interacting. There’s no shame in having three or four questions that you cycle through during your conversations – it’s much better to be prepared.
Now that the networking has begun, it’s easy to lose track of the time as you meet all sorts of interesting people and begun discussing a myriad of topics. It’s important to note that you should constantly be cognizant of the goals you set beforehand and how each conversation is moving you closer towards those goals. More likely than not, a lot of your goals can be boiled-down to something very generic like “learning”, and this is great! Learning should certainly be one of your primary goals at these events. Provided you can either learn something new or share some of your unique knowledge with the audience, you can chalk that conversation up as a win. But it’s important to have a back-up plan in case that isn’t happening.
For example, what if you feel trapped in a conversation as it begins to derail a bit from the topics you were hoping to discuss, and you no longer feel yourself gaining value? Have no fear about politely excusing yourself from a conversation, most people will understand if you feel the need to step away. The night is full of opportunity to spend time with other individuals, just make sure you are respectful to the conversation at hand as you leave. Similarly, if you find yourself wanting to enter an ongoing conversation, don't be afraid to jump in when the time feels right. Be ready to calmly introduce yourself if the conversation lulls a bit and take the initiative to add something to the discussion to keep up momentum.
After the Event
When the evening has wrapped up, you’ll have one more thing to do to make the most out of your Meetup experience: follow-up. You can certainly let this wait until the following morning, but hold yourself accountable to do any follow-up you deem important within 24 hours. If you don’t follow up soon enough, or worse, don’t follow up at all, you risk blending in with any one of the many people that someone else spoke to. To prevent being reduced to a Meetup amalgamation, keep your follow-up short and sweet, while also personalized; make sure to add a sentence that reminds the recipient of you or the conversation you shared. It’s also recommended you connect on platforms simply beyond e-mail. Luckily, social media platforms offer a variety of opportunities to friend, follow, or connect.
The conversation doesn’t just begin and end at the event; almost every Meetup group has both a homepage where members can post discussion points or an actual discussion board to ask questions, post about similar events on the horizon, or continue to connect. Make use of these tools because the attendees of any given event are only a small percentage of the group at large. By using the group’s webpage, you’re much more likely to get the attention of other members of the community, those who couldn’t attend, and those who simply aren’t quite as active.
The Community Is Waiting with Open Arms
Now that we’ve given you the tools to make the best use of your time at the next tech-focused Meetup you attend, the next step is on you. Create yourself a Meetup profile, circle a few potentially interesting events over the next few weeks and make time in your schedule to attend! If you need a bit of help finding the most-relevant local Meetup groups, maybe start with Tech in Motion. Although we may be biased, Jobspring Partners has worked to create an inclusive, generalist community that hosts frequent events that offer something for everyone.
No one wants to play from behind. Whether in sports, projects for work, and especially in their job search. Think about it like this: in IT, it’s encouraged to approach systems proactively. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to approach your career the same way? Too often, Jobspring Partners has seen extremely competent candidates unexpectedly laid off, from no fault of their own, who come through our doors desperate for a role that fits their skillset. At that point, the candidate is playing from behind, when they could have been proactive and taken the power in their own hands before becoming unemployed.
Be Proactive- Start Your Job Search Today!
Had this candidate simply considered working their network and remaining connected with their closest peers to stay updated on openings in the market, they could have positioned themselves a bit better in case of the emergency that ultimately did happen. Like most things in life, the best time to prepare for the worst is before the worst can happen.
If you need more convincing, below are a few of the reasons why you should be looking for a new role while you are still working for your current employer:
The Benefit of Time on Your Side
Think critically: how long could you truly support yourself and your dependents without a reliable income? Is that two months, six months, one year? Regardless of the length, this is the maximum amount of time you will have to find a suitable replacement position once you’ve left your current role. However, if you begin looking while you’re already gainfully employed, your timeframe for finding a new role increases exponentially. Without being taunted by upcoming bills without an income, you can focus your search on a position that excites you or will drastically improve your career trajectory rather than just attempting to make ends meet.
Get Busy Working or…
Time and time again we’ve been told by hiring managers that the best candidates are the ones who are actively working. After all, employed candidates are continually proving themselves as assets to their current company. A notable quote from “The Shawshank Redemption” says, ‘Get busy living or get busy dying’ and the job market is the same way. If you’re not showing yourself in the day-to-day as employable and beneficial to a company, you will be making it harder on yourself to find a new job as time goes on!
Visit your local Jobspring Partners today to start finding your dream job!
Not Under Pressure
Have you ever wanted or needed something so badly that when you were put into a situation wherein you could get whatever it was that you wanted or needed, the pressure was simply so much that you botched your attempt to get it? Unfortunately, this happens quite often during interviews when one is facing unemployment. Contrast this with interviewing while you already have a comfortable employment situation: you will be taking a significant amount of pressure off yourself and will ultimately lessen the likelihood of self-sabotage while interviewing for the new role!
Get What You Really Want
What You Really Really Want
Finally, if you’re interviewing while currently employed, you’ll have more control over dictating your final offer! The same factors apply here as they did above, but the final offer now needs to be better than your current for you to leave your job. This doesn’t have to come down solely to money, but everything in terms of compensation should line up – focus on the total package that the company offers. Not only will you have the upper-hand to hit that higher salary number, but you can also potentially leverage your current job to get additional vacation time, flexible hours, stock options, equity, or a myriad of other perks that can be included when the offer is extended!
So, if you find yourself in a position that isn’t perfect or you feel the winds of change approaching, make sure to keep your eyes and ears open to all new and exciting opportunities. With the benefit of time, it may even be correct to call your localized and specialized recruiter, and make an appointment with them. They may open doors for you that you never thought possible!
In today’s technology driven world, change happens fast. We’ve come to expect it. If you’re someone who thrives on exploring solutions to new challenges, why should your career path be any different? Over the past five years contracting has seen a steady rise in popularity among tech companies because of the opportunities it offers both job seekers and employers.
Contracting Offers Unique & Flexible Job Opportunities
The technology industry is currently seeing its lowest ever unemployment rate, opening the door to fulltime and contract employees alike. More and more candidates are turning to contracting to build their resumes, work with Fortune 500 companies, and help with their work life balance. Jennifer Grasz at Career Builder has this to say about the future of contracting, “The demand for temporary labor will continue to be strong as employers strive to have more flexibility in their staff levels. 51% of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2017, an increase from 47% last year. 63% of employers plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into permanent roles in 2017, up from 58% last year.”
Do you want to spend more time with family during the holidays and summer vacation? Click to find a seasonal contracting opportunity in a city near you!
You Can Earn More as a Contractor
One of the biggest misconceptions about tech contract jobs is they pay less on average than fulltime positions. While it’s true that fulltime employees make a yearly salary and contractors get paid by the hour, there are many other factors to take into consideration when calculating your potential earnings. For instance, if you work more than 40 hours in a week as a fulltime employee, you won’t be paid for your extra effort while contractors get paid 1.5x their hourly wage for overtime. This can have a huge impact, especially in the tech industry where employees often work extended hours.
Enjoy Benefits as Contractor
Surprise! The biggest misconception about tech contracting is that you won’t receive benefits from your employer. The reality is, as a contractor with Jobspring Partners, you are eligible to receive benefits that kick in after thirty days of employment. You accrue sick days beginning on day one of employment. Want to start investing for your retirement? You are eligible for the Jobpspring Partners 401K and will be automatically enrolled after the first 6 months of the contract assignment. Full health coverage including dental and vision insurance kicks in after 30 days of your start date. In addition, there is an option to use a Health savings account to put away money for your health plan every month that is pre-taxed. Beyond these basic benefits, you can also enjoy commuter benefits you can use for parking, public transit, metro, or bus.
Make the money you deserve and explore contracting opportunities in a city near you.
Use Contracting to Improve your Tech Stack
Contracting gives engineers the opportunity to focus on newer technologies, increasing their value as a subject matter experts in niche tech fields and opening themselves up to more lucrative opportunities in the future. It’s a great opportunity to get your foot in the door with tech giants who are only looking to hire contractors. Employers love seeing candidates with diverse backgrounds working on unique projects. We like to call them “unicorns” in our industry.
What Employers Gain from Contracting
The contracting model gives qualified candidates the freedom to develop their skillsets while being exposed to many different projects, technologies and work environments. But it also offers unforeseen benefits to employers looking for qualified talent. It gives them the opportunity to have “try-outs” for contractors hoping to find a permanent position and allows them to bring in highly specialized engineers on a project-basis they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford fulltime.
For all these reasons, contracting has never been a more viable option in the tech industry than it is today. There are many misconceptions about contracting in the tech industry. That’s why it’s important to do your own research, weighing the pros and cons of contracting versus fulltime. The results could surprise you!
Jobspring Partners recently compiled a new report that compares salaries against tech experience. You can read the full report here. Based on the data, we came across a number of interesting results. One of the notable findings was that salary growth virtually disappears for tech professionals after 15 or more years of experience. As we further examined this data, we discovered three main reasons why this could happen.
1) Promotions & Title Changes
Experienced technologists move into higher level roles on the corporate ladder, turning into stakeholders or executives, or becoming independent business owners. Therefore, they are not considered “tech professionals” anymore and are no longer in the same salary bracket.
Are you looking for a title change? Check out or job board for Director, VP and CTO positions.
2) New Trends & Technology
Another reason why salary growth diminishes for tech professionals after 15 years of experience or more is because it can be hard to keep up with new trends in technology. When new tools or languages are released, they could have a very large impact on work flow, processes, and the structure of the organization of projects. Companies with a strong work culture will always encourage growth and learning, and it's up to the employee to seize that opportunity.
What are the highest paid tech skills? Find out in this report!
3) Incoming Workforce
There will always be an influx of new entries to the workforce. With every graduating class, a new set of young minds with the latest knowledge will start competing with those who have been in the business for 15+ years. When preparing for an interview, think about what sets you apart from the rest of the applicants besides your tech stack. Ask yourself this question: what is the difference between someone with a degree from 1990 and 27 years of experience compared to a person who graduated in 1996?
5 Tips for Young Professionals Who Want a Career in Tech
There are several recommended next steps our experts advise you consider in order to continue growing your salary in the long run. We suggest learning the "hot commodity" in your market or potentially relocating to a region where it is more feasible to boost your salary into the $200K-range.
For the complete list of guidelines to keep your salary growing strong and steadily throughout your career, read the entire article here.
If you are looking for a new job or to hire a new team member, you want to find the best in the business. You want to find an employer or employee that syncs up with your values, work ethic, and passions. There is no sure route to finding this perfect match, several experts from Jobspring are here to give their professional recommendations as far as routes you can take:
1) The Web
Mostly everyone is familiar with online job boards. Some of the most popular ones include LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster. What's great about these websites is that they're easy to use in tandem with each other. If you see a new position listed on Monster, for example, then you can search for the profile of the individual you could potentially be interviewing with and connect with them on LinkedIn. However, solely relying on this method has some caveats.
In a recent study, we found that only 30% of jobs were found online. There are multiple reasons for this that are unique to the tech market. For example, tech startups tend to have little or no HR support or process. Additionally, these high-demand roles are opened and closed so quickly that the job posting never makes it online. When it comes to large companies replacing or refilling a position of high importance like a CTO, the company may not want to publicize the employee leaving, and instead, does a confidential search.
So while the web is a fantastic place to start, if you are serious about your search you will have to expand beyond the internet.
Did you know our website is updated daily with the newest tech jobs? Check them out now!
2) Informational Interview
When asking for an informational interview, it is key to use your network’s network. You want to ask your friends, family, mentors, managers, or coworkers if they know anyone that would be an expert. Informational interviews are a fantastic way to get information on the responsibilities of a specific role or learn more about a specific company. By asking questions about the culture or work-life balance of a company, you can accurately gauge if this is the right step in your career.
3) Networking Events
Networking events can be a great place to connect with all sorts of people. At any given gathering, there are bound to be a mix of people either hiring or looking for work. It’s a huge advantage to ask people about past events they’ve attended or companies they’ve worked at. Professional networkers know that when you meet someone, you don’t just meet them, you meet everyone they know!
Did you know that we host free Networking Events every month in 11 different cities? View our calendar here!
It’s not an easy process finding the perfect fit. You want to find a true culture-match with a candidate or company who shares the same passions. Be sure to utilize every resource or tool you have available at your disposal. At Jobspring Partners, we work with some of the largest tech companies in the world and the most talented local developers and engineers. Reach out, and we’d be happy to help you!
All over the country, small startups are providing incredible benefits like unlimited vacation time, pet friendly offices, and rooms filled with every possible type of snack. Has working at a corporation come to feel passé? Consider these four benefits of working at a giant company while deciding the next steps in your professional journey.
Benefit 1: Working with technology at an enterprise level
As a general rule, corporations have more money. Large companies can invest in incredible multi-million dollar projects, the scope of which is much larger than what you’ll experience at a startup. This involves investing in the hardware and software that less well-funded businesses can’t necessarily afford. Additionally, a larger company can provide resources that go beyond inanimate objects; it also means being able to bring on more contractors to meet a project deadline or additional tech professionals to grow your team.
Benefit 2: Building a larger professional network
Instead of working at a company with 20 people, you'll be working with 40 professionals in your department - not to mention other areas of the business. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about other departments and potentially even pivot. Overall, you have a lot more options, whether you’re looking for a mentor at the company, a different team to join, or a position in management.
Benefit 3: It looks amazing on a resume
Isn’t it nice to say where you work and have the name recognized and respected? Working for a Fortune 500 company is like wearing the brand name instead of a local designer, and you’ll get more credibility in more circles for it by sheer reputation. It also gives an immediate idea of what you’ve worked on, especially since most corporations tend to have narrower roles, as opposed to wearing many hats in one. Plus, once you’ve worked at a big company, you can go practically anywhere that uses the technology you’ve worked in, whether it's a startup or corporation.
Benefit 4: Learn more about all aspects of business
Politics, Hiring, Performance, KPIs, Profits, Responsibility à All are tracked by multiple departments. By learning more about these metrics, it can help you in the long run. If you would ever want to start your own company, you'll have had more exposure than you think. Your department head is frequently responsible for juggling many pieces of the business, and it trickles down to all corporate employees. Additionally, there is more opportunity to build your management experience at a large company, which is a vital skill for any businessperson.
Overall, it’s best to have a mix of large and small companies on your resume. It will help you broaden your background and give you more options when you decide it's time for that next move in your professional career.
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With over 400 highly specialized tech recruiting professionals across North America, our agency experts know firsthand how people think and act during the hiring process. Our 2016 research study debunks the biggest misperceptions for tech job seekers and offers helpful advice on how to navigate today’s competitive job market. Here are the four most common myths you should know:
Myth 1: “If I don’t have all the required skills, I shouldn’t bother applying for the job.”
Advice from the experts: “Know where you stand and act accordingly. If you’re less qualified, be prepared to make your business case upfront on your resume or cover letter as to why they should still consider you. Always apply to jobs even if you are not sure since you are applying to the company (not just the job). Other jobs may exist that will be a better fit. Also, job specs can be very fluid in tech and some companies can/will adjust requirements and provide training for the right person.”
Check out which companies are hiring by applying to one of our many tech jobs online!
Myth 2: “If I’ve been a job hopper, potential employers will not consider me for the position.”
Advice from the experts: “It’s not the WHEN, it’s the WHY that counts most when explaining job hopping to a potential employer. There are many completely understandable reasons for leaving a job after a short period of time. Make sure to specify any of these acceptable reasons for leaving directly on the resume to avoid any negative stigmas.”
Read why "Don't be afraid to try different things" is tip #3 in "5 Tips For Young Professionals Who Want a Career in Tech"
Myth 3: “If the company has no job postings online, then they must not be hiring.”
Advice from the experts: “The elusiveness of the tech job market means that candidates should never rely on job boards alone. They should leverage their networks as much as possible and also work with a localized, specialized tech recruiter who uncovers these hidden jobs on a daily basis.”
Let us help you discover your dream job - Contact a Jobspring Partners in a city near you!
Myth 4: “If I’m the leading candidate for a Perm position, I should be able to negotiate my starting offer as high as I’d like.”
Advice from the experts: “As highly qualified as a tech candidate may be, there is and will always be competition. A candidate’s savvy negotiation and education on the marketplace (via salary reports) is expected from employers. But when candidates exhibit indulgence or entitlement in regards to a potential offer, their well-intentioned actions could backfire on them.”
Find out the Expectations versus Realities of Working in Tech
There are several myths out there about the tech job market, but the key is to identify these myths and not fall into the trap that many other job seekers may unknowingly fall into. To sum up, (1) if you’re less qualified, be prepared to make your business case upfront as to why a company should still consider you; (2) if you’re a job hopper, be sure to specify acceptable reasons for leaving on your resume to avoid negative stigmas; (3) never rely on job boards alone, instead, leverage your network and work with a specialized tech recruiter in your city; and (4) don’t be that candidate who exhibits indulgence or entitlement in regards to a potential offer – it could backfire on you.
Contact a local Jobspring Partners today and let us help you kick off 2017 on the right foot.
For the past 27 years, Jobspring Partners has worked with hundreds of thousands of engineers across North America to match these tech professionals with cutting edge positions. From 2013 to mid-2016, Jobspring pulled together the data showing what the highest paid skill sets, locations and experience levels are across the 11 markets Jobspring works in.
Your skills, and how you sell yourself, are essential parts of getting the highest salary possible. Based on the data from past placements, the highest salary increases seen in that time period were received by Java Developers. Mobile, Network Security, Front End, Ruby on Rails, Product Management, and UI/UX were also listed among the highest paid technologies.
Looking for a higher salary in the IT field? Check out our list of open roles here.
While the vast majority end up in positions that pay between $50,000 and $140,000, we have also placed engineers at the $200K-$300K+ range. For the full report and more details on how you can earn the highest salary, read the full report by clicking the link below.
Read the full list: Four factors that will help you make $200K+ in technology
Sloane Barbour, Regional Director of Jobspring New York, weighed in on the growth in Java salaries and credited the financial sector's demand for the rapid increase.
"I think this jump in salary is due to the functionality of Java, and it being used tremendously in the financial space. With the introduction of Java 8, Java now has a functional programming side compared to the past object oriented type development which gives it functionality on both front for large institutions but also be able to compete with Scala and Clojure in the start-up space. One of the biggest factors is also the need for Core Java in the financial space. Knowing Java to the core in a multi-threaded facet is still a strong demand in that space and salaries can pay high for the right candidates."