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📨 Connecting with employers

Now that you’ve successfully developed your portfolio, you can start connecting with employers. This first impression is massively important as it determines whether or not you’ll begin the interview process.

No matter if you initiate the first reach out or the company does; you want to make a good impression in all of your messages to companies.

Below are some tips for how you can structure your first reach out or reply to a hiring team:

Reaching out directly to employers

If you come across a role and company you’re excited about, you may feel a bit uncomfortable initiating the first reach out. However, employers are often impressed when developers take this proactive approach.

Thoughtful outreach, with a well-composed message, can help you stand out as a memorable candidate.

Include the following in your message:

  • Introduce yourself and why you are reaching out: include a brief description of yourself, your current work and what has led you to reach out.
  • Be honest about why you’re excited about the opportunity: is it the industry, the product, their culture, responsibilities the role demands or growth opportunities – it could be more than one of these elements.
  • Provide physical evidence of your previous experience: use your technical abilities to showcase why you’ll be a good fit for the role. You can link your GitHub profile or another medium that shows off your coding.
  • Thank them for their time and provide your contact details.
  • Attach a copy of your CV and possibly a cover letter. Cover letters are not always required, but it’s a great way to introduce yourself and stand out amongst hundreds of CVs.

Responding to outreach

As a developer, you’ve likely had a recruiter reach out to you on LinkedIn about a potential opportunity. It’s important to respond to every reach-out to make sure you don’t miss out on any promising opportunities now or in future. The same can be said for responding to hiring managers reaching out to you on a job search marketplace like OfferZen.

How to accept a request to interview

Here is how you could respond to accept a request to interview:

Get your template!

Hello [hiring manager’s name],

Thank you for reaching out, I’m excited to learn more about [company name] and the role.

I will be available for a chat at [time and date - give them a few options]. Please let me know if I can prepare anything for our first meeting.

Kind regards [your name]

If they don’t have access to your CV already, attach this and possibly a cover letter or your online portfolio. If relevant, include your cell phone number and email address.

How to decline a request to interview

Some opportunities may prove fruitless in terms of your job search goals, but creating solid connections with recruiters may be the reason you find out about the perfect opportunity.

Since you should focus your energy on more promising connections, if you think an opportunity won’t be worth exploring, decline the request to interview in a way that still creates a solid connection with the hiring manager. You never know – you may want to get in touch with the hiring team again in future.

Here is how you could respond to decline a request to interview:

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Hello [hiring manager’s name],

Thank you for reaching out, it seems like your company is doing some exciting things! However, I don't think it's in line with where I am wanting to head at the moment because…

Kind regards, [your name]

Include a reason why you don’t want to take on their interview process, such as the tech stack, location, industry or compensation not aligning with your job search goals. They may respond with an alternative opportunity that’s more suitable.

Although it’s important to focus on opportunities that will drive your career goals, don’t shut down opportunities that aren’t perfectly aligned with what you’re looking for next. You may find companies are flexible on certain elements but you’ll never know unless you engage with them. Don’t avoid opportunities that may assist you in working towards your long-term goals.

How to ask questions when deciding on the request to interview

Here is how you could respond if you want questions answered before taking any next steps such as scheduling the first chat:

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Hello [hiring manager’s name],

Thank you for reaching out. I am interested to chat further about this opportunity. Is it possible for you to answer my below questions before we set up a chat?

[Your questions here]

Kind regards, [your name]

Make sure you fully explore every opportunity by asking questions. Once they’ve responded, you can determine if the opportunity fits into your job search priorities.

Some companies may say they’ll be able to answer in the first interview. This is where your job search strategy will assist you.