How To Get A Job In Tech: Applying (2/4)

Four ways to effectively apply to jobs.

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In this article, we will talk about the RIGHT way to apply for jobs.

NOTE: Some of these methods might be socially unacceptable, and therefore you should do what YOU feel is right.

Now that you have that impressive resume let’s talk about what are the different ways you can apply for jobs.

In this article, I’m going to start with my statistics for how many jobs I applied to, how many interviews I got, and the means I used to get those interviews.

Next, we will move onto what methods we can use to apply to jobs.

Table of Contents

  1. My Statistics of Job Applications
  2. Employee referrals
  3. The art of cold emailing.
  4. Walking into companies.
  5. Career Fairs.

My Job Application Statistics



Application Statistics
Application Statistics

As you can see, an incredible percentage (~72%) of my interviews were from cold-emails or from walking into companies. Only a disappointing 15% interviews were from online applications.

Overall, I converted my application into interviews approximately 1/4 times so, one interview for every four rejected.

An important thing to note: All of these interviews are over seven months. Many variables are affecting these numbers: Continuous iteration of my resume over some time, peaks and valleys in hiring, etc.

But the overwhelming statistic here is that Cold-emailing and walking into companies got me my interviews.

Methods to Apply for Jobs

Employee Referral

The easiest way to get your resume directly read by a recruiter or an engineering manager is by using an employee referral.

The referral almost guarantees that a human will read your resume. So if you can get one of those valuable referrals: Go get em!

Tips for getting employee referrals

Squeeze your networks (Extremely shamelessly - Cannot say this enough): For many people, reaching out to your friends, alumni, professors, classmates for referrals might be embarrassing. Trust me; it was for me!.

But the other point to think here is that it is YOUR JOB/A CAREER YOU ARE INTERESTED IN! The reality is that most people are always ready to help. The other reason they will help you is that Valley Companies often give very high referral bonuses if you get hired (5-10k!), so people are incentivized to provide you with a referral. The other thing to remember is that this is not a huge hassle. It usually takes <2 mins and one click of a button.

Below I have attached samples of 2 emails that I used to ask for referrals. One is with a classmate who works at Atlassian, and the other is with my professor, who has tons of contacts in the valley. For my professor, I just browsed his LinkedIn contacts made a spreadsheet of people I would like an introduction to. For some, he did for most he didn’t. I got an interview at VISA and Apple this way.


Cold Email To Friend/Aquaintance
Cold Email To Friend/Aquaintance


Cold Email To Professor
Cold Email To Professor

The other method you can use for a referral is to use teamBlind. People there usually post for referrals and are often slammed by most people, but you only need that 1-2 to click! Just write a nice message, and I’m sure something will click.

Another way is using Rooftop Slushie, where you can set some amount of money for employees to give you referrals.

Note: I have never used the methods but have seen it happen, so use it at your benefit.

The art of cold-emailing

Here’s the big one. For the next two methods, which is cold emailing and walking into companies, A lot of people don’t use it out of fear, and others don’t because they think its socially unacceptable. Again, I just want to reiterate: Use it at your benefit.

Now, let us say that you have no friends/professors from whom you can ask for referrals. Or let’s say that you’ve milked your contacts and still no luck.No worries, you have officially used what you can say “the tip of the iceberg.”

You now have access to 1000’s if not 10’s of thousands of employees who work at places you want to work. The next step is to cold email the people who work at these companies and try to impress them. Impress them enough that they directly give you an interview or in some circumstances: straight offers.

Who to Email: The people in power. The people who can either get you an interview directly or the people who can hand your resume to get you an interview.

Who are those people: Those people are the Engineering managers or the Engineers working on the team.

WHY?: If an Engineer or Engineering Manager wants you on their team, they can make things happen! They can skip steps, get you ahead of the line, etc. Usually, everyone is spamming the recruiters, so the odds that they get back to you are slim.


  1. LinkedIn: Use this to find the names of Engineering managers. Click on the company name -> People -> Search Engineering Manager.
  2. && Use these tools to find the emails of the managers.
  3. Use this to track who has opened your email. This is to determine whether or not your emails are being read. Usually, an interested manager will open your email multiple times and click on different links. All of which can be accessed for free.
  4. Companies that I got an interview from Quora, 23nMe, VSCO, Apple, Benchling, Mapbox, Zendesk, and many more.

Here is a sample of a cold-email that I used:

Cold Email To Engineering Manager
Cold Email To Engineering Manager

Another Example

Cold Email To CEO
Cold Email To CEO

Yes, you read that right. That was the CEO of the company (whom I did get a response from!). The types of people I have cold emailed and gotten a response from are Engineers, Engineering Managers, VP’s, and CEO.


  1. Show extreme passion and enthusiasm for their companies! Show that you’ve read their blog posts or their patents. If you can show that level of interest for that company, trust me, you are going to get that interview.
  2. WAIT! If you don’t get an email back in a day or two, don’t fret. Even if they leave you on reading, I cannot stress this enough. Its a waiting game and people are busy! (Especially the higher up the chain you go)

Walking into companies

Here is comes. Here is where everyone will tell me how this is unacceptable and why you should not do this. Well, for me, this got me the majority of all my interviews, so please feel free to skip this section if you cannot go forward with this approach.

Having spent all my adult life in the Bay, I’ve always heard about The hustle of the bay and how it is widely respected. I decided to go with the hustle route. A route that a lot of my friends told me is not okay.

So here’s how you do it. Grab your resume, make a cover letter for the engineering manager (could be the same as cold email) and just walk inside companies, and drop your letter off. THATS IT

Go as far as you can in the company; drop off at the entrance desk; give it straight to the Engineer if accessible; whatever you need to do to get it to the right hands.

SECONDARY APPROACH: Mail it. Every Engineer has a mailbox at their company and will have mail delivered to them. Worst case, they open it says a few words and trash it. Best case - They LOVE the way you approach things and decide to give you an interview.

PS: I got an Uber onsite this way; no-frills, no Hackerrank just straight Onsite.

The list of companies that I got interviews with this way is nothing but incredible.

I urge you to drop any shame and just get it done. You can thank me later.

There isn’t just one door to get into a company. There’s always a backdoor - Karthik Uppuluri (Hustler)

Career Fairs

Aah, the college career fairs. The hustle-bustle of the students. Huge lines for companies for a few seconds to talk to a recruiter or Engineer and impress them enough to interview you.

Here’s the know-how:

  1. Have a resume in your hand and be ready.
  2. Have a 30-second elevator pitch: Who you are, what you do, and what you’re interested in.
  3. Have your phone in hand with the contacts open: Immediately after the conversation, ask them for their work email for a follow-up email.
  4. Know who you are talking to the Recruiter or Engineer. (Usually very easy to spot!) If you are talking to a recruiter, know your buzzwords. Mine was React, Machine-learning, TensorFlow, MEAN stack.
  5. If you are talking to an engineer, be ready to explain your past work/projects in detail. You should be prepared at any point to talk 30 minutes about your projects.
  6. Stay till the end. Ask if you can help out. They’re usually carrying a ton of stuff to their cars and are tired at the end of the day. Use this time to sell yourself. [I got an interview with Plaid this way :)]
  7. Same Day Follow up!

A Socially Unacceptable Experiment

I went to a small school in the central valley. The best company that came to my School was in&out. So I decided to drive up two hours to Berkeley, CA and tried to attend the UC Berkeley Career Fair.

Here are two ways that you shouldn’t do it:



As I said, Please DO NOT USE any of the methods I mentioned above. They are not acceptable in any circumstance.

The End

That’s it! In this post, we completed a walkthrough of How you can apply for jobs, get interviews. For the next post, we will concentrate on how you can prepare for those interviews. See you there!

Thanks for reading!

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