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What is the optimal way to job search as a new grad?

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Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

I recently graduated with my MS and I'm still job hunting. I'm unfortunately at a point where most of my strengths/impressive accomplishments are in MLE/DS which is

  1. Harder to break into at the new grad level
  2. Fewer jobs in the market

I need a job ASAP and would love advice on how to job search optimally

Here is what I'm doing

  1. Creating regular content on LinkedIn
    1. (I've gotten 3-4 interviews from this), 3 of them were recruiter calls that went nowhere, one was an interview that went to final round
  2. Applying to any and every job with < 4 YoE requirement with tailored resumes for verticals (MLE/DS/SWE)\
    1. I got 2 interviews from this. Unfortunately didnt get either
  3. For strong matches, I am trying to arrange coffee chats with managers at the company.
    1. This has not worked well at all
  4. I've tried getting referrals but it's never resulted in an interview. The strong referrals (where the person sends the resume directly to HM) I get the feedback of some internal red tape (not hiring NG, only return intern, or cannot hire international students) or sometimes they just simply want someone with more experience with a specific area (training models, or a specific framework)
  5. Trying to apply to SWE roles as well. But quite frankly since I have just spent most of my time, internships, projects directed at MLE/DS, the SWE tailored version of my resume is not top tier. It's quite average in my opinion

I'm not sure what else to be doing or if anything else I can do that I am missing. Any advice would be appreciate!

If you can even just share your experience on what works for you/what doesnt work that would be great to hear as well

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Discussion

(4 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    This is the easily the worst job market for new grads in 10 years, and it's going to be worse for you as an international student. I wish I had a magic wand and I could fix it for you and everyone else in the Taro community, but I can't. 😔

    What I will say is that it's clear to me that you're working very hard, and you're definitely doing a lot of things right, including more creative endeavors like posting to LinkedIn. You should be proud of your hustle so far, and this market largely comes down to each person's personal level of grit and persistence.

    ... the SWE tailored version of my resume is not top tier. It's quite average in my opinion

    Most new-grad resumes are complete garbage. There are going to be far more SWE roles than MLE/DS roles, so I would apply more to SWE personally. MLE is also very rough as AI is so hot right now, so competition is so fierce for a relatively small amount of MLE roles.

    If you need more help with your resume, check this out: [Taro Top 10] How To Write A Better Engineering Resume To Get More Jobs

  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    I'm not sure what else to be doing or if anything else I can do that I am missing.

    Side projects and open-source contributions. I know you're really busy, but these 2 (especially side projects), need just 2 hours per week. Engineers have historically been too lazy to do these, but in this market, I pretty much think they're required for junior engineers if they want to find a job within a reasonable amount of time.

    Back when I was a new-grad/junior engineer, the tech market was better than it is now but still feeling some pain from the 2008 crash. Despite this, I was able to get multiple offers as a fully-fledged Android engineer with 0 professional Android experience. How? Because I had built multiple Android apps for fun with 10,000+ users.

    The biggest fear employers have with junior engineers is that they can't do anything. By creating your own experience shipping real-world software via side projects and open-source, you are getting as close as you possibly can to showing an employer that, yes, you can do something.

    For side projects and open-source, you should marry these to your LinkedIn presence and post about the stuff you're building.

    If you want to learn more about side projects, check this out: [Taro Top 10] Building Impressive Side Projects

    For open-source, we actually don't have a good resource IIRC. Maybe you can ask "How to get started with open-source contributions?" into Taro.

  • 1
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    Machine Learning Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    Thank you @Alex Chiou for your thoughtful response! Really appreciate it! I will slot in some time to work on software projects

    I see there is another question about OS vs. Side projects

    https://www.jointaro.com/question/A6bcor40G6yNGteMKQ9n/projects-vs-open-source-which-is-better-for-my-career/

  • 1
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    Software Engineer @ Tesla
    a month ago

    Are you an international student? Because that adds an extra hurdle.

    I would focus companies that sponsor. Don't waste your time with companies that do not sponsor.

    I think creating content on LinkedIn is a pro gamer mover because it increases your visibility. Are you creating relevant content to your field of expertise? Do you get good engagement?

    I'm glad to hear you're getting interviews, that's a good sign. Are you following up with the recruiters after the meeting?

    But here's the optimal way of job searching imo:

    1. Get clarity. Find out what you want. It sounds like you'll take anything at this point but try to narrow it down to what you want to work on. What is your ideal position? What companies are you targeting? This just helps guide you on your next steps.
    2. Increase your visibility. Again, great that you are creating content. Make sure they are relevant and consistently showing your skills and qualifications.
    3. Network. This is really your best bet. You might be short on time but that's why clarity is so important. Network strategically. Engage with other's content. Provide value. Don't just ask for referrals, show your work and what you're capable of and develop a relationship.
    4. Tailor your resume. Make sure your resume is tailored to every position. It gets easier after a few iterations. I use Tealhq.com.
    5. Actually apply. Up to a point, it's a numbers game. But you gotta hit that point so you need to actually apply! Make sure these are quality applications and you follow up with your network.
    6. Create a showcase of your work. Create a document besides your resume to showcase what you can do. You mentioned you had some projects, create a presentation and share them as part of your step in networking. The more proof of concepts you have, the more you de-risk yourself as a bad hire.
    7. Practice interviewing. I know you asked for job search advice but it will all be for naught if you don't interview well!

    Hope this helps! I hope you find something soon, good luck!