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Tips for Your San Francisco Job Search

Posted On04/24/2017

ContributorNelson Jobs

Since the early days of the gold rush in the 1850s, the city of San Francisco, California, has long been a beacon for individuals seeking opportunity and new beginnings. Today’s aspirational job seekers can find an active hiring market in the City by the Bay – everything from IT and engineering positions to accounting and finance jobs.

Yet today’s job seekers who want to relocate to this West Coast urban center must prepare for their journeys just like last century’s gold seekers. An in-demand city, San Francisco offers a high number of employment opportunities, but also a competitive job market. Job seekers from all over the U.S. flock to the city every year.

If you’re starting a job search in San Francisco, you’ll be facing heavy competition. There are some specific tips you should keep in mind to understand the unique San Francisco job market and help you succeed in finding your next role in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Cost of Living
Accounting and Finance Jobs in San Francisco
IT or Engineering Jobs in San Francisco
IT Soft Skills Tips
San Francisco Resume Tips
Working With a San Francisco Recruiter

What Does It Cost to Hang Your Hat in San Francisco?

In addition to practicing your interview skills and getting your resume ready, be prepared to open your wallet. San Francisco continually ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to reside. Though you can reduce some of your living expenses by getting a roommate, renting outside of city limits, and forgoing vehicle ownership for car-sharing services or public transportation, you should be ready for some serious sticker shock.

On the flip side, the city offers some of the most competitive salaries. It has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, and employers in many industries – including nursing, engineering, tech, and finance – do pay more when compared to other areas. With an average one-bedroom apartment costing $3,400 per month (2015), competitive wages for finance jobs, accounting jobs, and engineering jobs in San Francisco are a must.

So now that you know what to expect from Bay Area living, what can you expect from a San Francisco job search for your particular career path?

Searching for Accounting and Finance Jobs in San Francisco?

New York City may be the financial capital of the nation but San Francisco holds that title for West Coast. Though engineering and tech jobs in San Francisco have been in the spotlight lately, the city remains a financial epicenter.

Firms such as Charles Schwab Corp., Visa, and Wells Fargo have deep roots in the area. The city is also home to hundreds of smaller and mid-sized investment and wealth management firms. A quick search for finance jobs in San Francisco on major job boards reveals 6000+ positions available.

Yet blasting out your resume to an array of employers might not be your best job search strategy. A more savvy approach might be to partner with finance and accounting recruiters in San Francisco. These recruiters are familiar with the hiring landscape and can help you find the right position based on your level of experience, area of expertise, and skillset.

Partnering with recruitment or temp agencies is an option that is too often overlooked by job seekers. Yet by working with finance and accounting recruiters, you can best position yourself in the market and target jobs that match your capabilities. The recruiters job is to find the right fit for you, increase your chances of landing that job and negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf. If you haven’t considered this option, you can learn more about what recruiters do here.

Technology and Engineering Jobs in San Francisco

Engineers and tech industry professionals can also find a wide range of job opportunities in the Bay Area. If you’re in technology or IT and considering searching for a new job, there’s a good chance your skillset is in big demand in San Francisco. Whether you are a software developer, programmer, tester, or database administrator, San Francisco companies are always in need of technical talent. Yet with the high cost of living, you want to find the best position and salary while avoiding a case of finding “just another job.”

Likewise, Nelson’s engineering recruiters are finding that positions in civil, electrical, mechanical, or software engineering are consistently available in San Francisco and that there is a strong need for quality candidates.

Salaries and compensation packages can vary widely, so it is best to have a plan and to find an opportunity that meets your salary needs. Again, reaching out to a recruiting agency in San Francisco can be a viable option, particularly in a job market where you might be overwhelmed by choices.

IT and Engineering Job Search Tips

There’s little doubt that technical and engineering skills can take you far in today’s fast-moving world of technology. But one skill that can really set you apart from other job candidates might not be what you expect: the ability to communicate.

Company leaders report lack of communication skills to be a major problem among candidates seeking engineering and tech jobs in San Francisco. Being able to effectively interact with team members, managers, and clients is a skill that can set you apart in a big way.

Managers want to hire high tech professionals and engineers with soft skills, and job seekers who offer both of these competencies have a considerable advantage with a job search in San Francisco. So put down your phone and brush up on your communications basics, such as minding your manners, maintaining eye contact, and building conversational rapport.

When considering your options, also consider how your approach to finding an IT job may need to differ depending on the firm. The hiring process at some companies may depend on networking and reaching out to connections you have made, as they might prefer to hire from the inside. It could also require working through a recruiting agency, like Nelson, that was hired by your potential employer to find the right candidate. Meanwhile, other companies may follow a more traditional hiring process that requires you to fill out an online application and provide your resume. Make sure you understand the process that the potential employer is taking and tailor your approach accordingly.

Show More and Tell Less

The landscape for accounting, finance, engineering, and tech jobs in San Francisco may be ripe with opportunity, but it also draws top talent from around the world; the city has one of the highest populations of college-educated residents in the country. So despite low unemployment and a high number of positions, the job market is still competitive; so it’s important to make sure you stand out as a candidate. One way to do this is to make sure your resume highlights your accomplishments rather than just your abilities.

Avoid overusing buzzwords or falling into the pitfalls of these bad resume examples. Be specific with your accomplishments and their impacts. For instance, instead of writing, “Five years of experience in developing software for clients,” include what software you worked on, what specific role you played (were you a programmer, a project manager, or both?), and how your contributions led to increased efficiencies or other quantifiable results for the project or your client.

A better example might be, “Led programming team to develop client order tracking system with improved functionality, which increased speed of order processing by 20%.”

It isn’t enough to say you know how to code or are a balance sheet guru. You want to show hiring managers what you bring to the table in a meaningful, measurable way. Both on your resume and during job interviews, you need to prove that you have a track record of producing work that is impactful.

Recruiters Accelerate Your Job Search in SF

Whether you’re seeking a position in finance, accounting, or IT or engineering, the City by the Bay offers vast opportunities. In addition to refining your resume and job interview skills, you can get some job search help by partnering with an accounting and finance recruiter or an IT recruiter at Nelson Jobs. We are specialists in helping great candidates land great jobs in San Francisco. Being strategic in your job search can pay off both in terms of overall compensation and greater job satisfaction. If you are looking to accelerate your career or make a move to San Francisco, reach out to Nelson and see how we can help!