Alumni Article: Sandeep Rajan highlights important elements of a successful job hunt process

Sandeep Rajan is a 2017 MS in Telecommunications graduate and currently a software engineer in Cloud and Open Source at Infoblox.


Job search is a very tedious and frustrating process. It creates a pressure in succeeding to find a job before graduating due to our visa constraints. During my time applying for jobs, I had accumulated some tricks through my experiences. I am sharing them in the hope that it shall be useful for anyone who is in the process of apply jobs.

    The right time to start applying is now. If you haven’t started your job hunt yet, I urge you to start today. Take time from your busy schedule to prioritize job applications for at least one hour a day.

    Make sure you have a different resume for different job roles you’re submitting. If you post a general resume everywhere, it just shows to the recruiter that your thought process isn’t clear enough. Your resume must be streamlined specifically for the job you are applying. If you are interested in Network engineering, system engineering, and software engineering, please make sure you have three different resumes for each of the roles. It doesn’t make sense to add your network engineering projects in your software engineering resume.

    The most important part of your application is not your resume, but your cover letter. Almost everyone I know usually skips this part because they either do not ask for one or because it is marked as optional. Cutting corners in your application will do you no favors. The reason cover letters are important because it is the only part of your application which is read by the recruiters. Resumes are all processed by tools and a good cover letter will make you stand out.

    In the job post, if you have been shared a contact info, make sure that you email the person iterating your interest in the position in addition to applying for the job online. This increases your chances of you being noticed. This is more important in applications where you don’t have space to send cover letters as your email will serve as a cover letter.

    The key to boosting your chances for a screening call in online applications is to apply as soon as a job has been posted. This is important because your application is viewed by the recruiters on a first come first serve basis. Only a few early applicants who are shortlisted are considered for the next screening process while the rest of the applications are processed only when there are no viable candidates from the first shortlist. It is, therefore, vowed important to be among the first 10-20 applicants for any job application. There are moments where you will feel that you aren’t ready to apply and shall do so after preparing. This just increases the chances that your application will be lost in the “Online black-hole of resumes”.

    There are a few tricks to ensure that you are among the first applicants for a job post. The most important trick is to subscribe to daily updates of job postings. I had subscribed to Career4terps, LinkedIn, Indeed and all the companies where I had the interest to work.

    Networking is everything in the US and one of the biggest platforms is LinkedIn. Add recruiters as your connection on LinkedIn, but please make sure you’re not random about it. Send a note along with your request stating your interests and if possible showcase your research on few job postings. This increases your chances to be accepted and taking your application forward. It’s the same process for adding alumni. I see a lot of requests from juniors, but adding an alumnus as a connection doesn’t make any sense if not approached for an opportunity.  

    The other part of networking is meetups and career fairs. While these events are sadly viewed as a place to gather freebies, I assure you that this is one of the BEST places to land an interview call. Take these events very seriously and show the people you’re meeting how informed you are with the company and cutting-edge technology by researching.

Job application is only a part of the process. To succeed, it is also important to prepare for the interviews. The best way to do that is to attend mock interviews. It doesn’t have to be an official event to practice mock interview. Pair up with your friends to setup interviews. This accomplishes two things: Practice of attending a real interview and also experience yourself being a recruiter, helping you to gain some insight on the entire process.