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Ask Ada

A service of the Tech LadyMafia. Career advice for professionals in tech, science, entrepreneurship, and media. Hit the ask button and we'll answer to the best of our collective wisdom.
Oct 16 '12

Unsolicited advice: How to get your tech dream job? Drink more coffee.

Every week, I talk to 2-3 people about:

- What it’s like to work at my organization
- How to best apply
- What they should do to make sure a human sees their resume/they have their best chances

They all come to me one of three ways:

1. A friend emails “Hi! I know we’ve been meaning to get together for [insert number of years], but I have a time sensitive excuse to finally get that drink! I want to work with you. Do you have time this week to grab a drink and plot?”

2. Soft intros for friends of friends: “Hey, Copied is a guy, X, that I know from [insert yuppie after work sport]. He’s really interested in joining your organization and wanted to know if you’d have some time to get together in the next few weeks.”

3. Or actual strangers email/DM/tweet me: “Hey! I found my dreamjob at your organization. Could I buy you a coffee to learn more about what it’s like to work there?”

I actually am always the most impressed by the 3rd — that’s a tough communique to send to a stranger, and tells me that they really are curious/determined/passionate/whatever.

And — to be honest — most of these requests come on behalf of male applicants (bless them!). But I want to remind any women who don’t take advantage of this approach that:


a) anyone who cares about their work *likes* helping awesome people join the team,
b) successful people will turn you down if they’re too busy, so don’t worry that they’re too busy to even ask,
c) Your (often male) competition is doing this without hesitation. Your job is to eat their lunch.

—Ada

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