A few tips for job seekers

I am in the process of hiring for a couple of roles at Cloudflare, so I’ve been talking to a lot of candidates over the past few weeks. I noticed a few trends along the way, so I thought I’d share a quick list of tips for anyone who is currently in the job market. This is obviously just one hiring manager’s opinion, but hopefully there’s something helpful for folks here!

  • Fill out your LinkedIn profile. So many people have empty LinkedIn profiles that just show their roles with no other details. Even if there is detail in your resumé, the LinkedIn profile is often the first thing I look at. It’s an opportunity to get to know you a little bit more than the formality of a resumé usually requires. Make sure the details about your responsibilities—and some outcomes and achievements—are listed within each position.
  • Write a summary paragraph at the top of your resume. Possibly the most impactful resumé post I’ve read in recent years is Austin Belcak’s How To Write A Resume Summary That Works In 2024 . He explains in detail the importance of these 3–4 bullet points (he calls it a “highlight reel”) at the top of your resume—before you even get to the details of your previous roles.
  • Send a note to the hiring manager if you know who it is. This works, if you do it right (see the next tip…). I have over 2,000 applications across roles right now, so there is no way to look at every single resumé. If people reach out with a message about their interest it’s a good signal that it’s someone who is excited about the role, which is one of the big things I’m looking for.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, use ChatGPT to write your outreach or cover letter for you. This should go without saying by now, but so many letters and notes are clearly written by ChatGPT. If you read as many of these as some of us do it’s really easy to spot. It’s about the cadence and the words—so much “utilizing” and “enhancing”!—and the particular style of grammar. We want to get to know you. Use your own words.
  • Learn about the company and the hiring manager before your first chat. I want to work with people who are excited about the job. I want to know if this is one of a thousand applications, or something they are truly interested in. I know it’s not possible to spend hours on research for every single call. But a little bit goes a long way.
  • Answer questions succinctly, and then stop. I know interviewing is stressful, and sometimes it’s hard to come up with answers on the spot. But the strongest candidates are able to distill their thoughts into a few short sentences, clarify some things if they need to, and then let the answer rest. Don’t keep saying words just to fill the space. Rather ask a question back, or wait for the interviewer to finish their notes and ask the next question.

I also feel like it’s important to point out that I truly believe the hiring manager / candidate relationship should not be an adversarial one. Hiring managers want someone who will be great for the role just as much as candidates want a role they love. No one wants a mismatch that’s not going to work out. So we have to help each other out. As hiring manager I have to be transparent about the role, the team, and the process. And candidates can help by providing enough relevant information to help us figure out who would be good to explore that fit with.