Job Search Tips for SXSW & Tech Career Expo

Job Search Tips to take From SXSW Conference & Tech Career Expo

If you’re eyeing out jobs at SXSW, you’re not alone. Conferences are amazing places for recruiters to source for talent but are equally important for job seekers who are in the market for a job.  SXSW 2012 is no different and some of their events this year make is extremely easy.  Building relationships and contacts through job search networking by far is the most productive way to job search either online through social media or in person.  As a blogger and writer online, I prefer online job search networking, but in person opportunities are even more important especially at a conference as big as South by Southwest 2012. I’ve compiled some job search advice for individuals trying to make the most of their SXSW experience:

Job Search Tips to take From SXSW Conference & Tech Career Expo 2012

Job Search Tip for SXSW 2012: Vendor Areas

This year I’m proud to report that the SXSW Conference has taken notice of the increasingly competitive job market for technology companies looking to snag talented programmers, engineers, and developers or what I call the Knowledge Class.  Their first ever 2012 Tech Career Expo takes place March 9-10 with over 65 companies looking to meet potential job applicants.  Many conferences offer job boards or locations for companies attending the conference or who serve as vendors at large conferences and events to post their job openings.  Look for those and don’t be afraid to ask a company representative about opportunities as you navigate the vendor booths and other common areas. Heeding this job search advice, your SXSW job search may turn out to be very fruitful.

Job Search Advice at SXSW 2012: Tweet with Caution

The world is a stage, even at the SXSW Conference.  While getting trashed may be tempting is the risk of your friend posting the photos worth it?  Using secondary hash tags during sessions to connect with potential hiring managers is a great idea. Keep a running list of Twitter accounts and companies you have interacted with during the event to follow up after SXSW 2012 to inquire about potential job openings.

Small Meetups are Best

The SXSW schedule is best known for its large parties that go on for deep into the night.  Loud music and free flowing alcohol doesn’t always make for the most meaningful business conversations.  Connect with people one on one in a more intimate and smaller setting like over dinner, quiet drinks, or at the many meetups specific for industry and job title.

Update Your Social Profiles for Job Search Networking

When giving the opportunity to engage a large audience who is inherently social, it’s important to make sure that your blog, LinkedIn profile, and other social media accounts are up to date, current, and contain the appropriate contact information to assist your search for SXSW jobs.  If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your cell phone number with the Internet masses, set up a Google Voice number for no cost and little risk.  I can answer the phone and receive texts without the risk of sharing my personal cell phone number to the social media masses.  (Here are 3 suggestions to update your LinkedIn Profile.)

Final Job Search Tip for SXSW 2012: Say Hello 

The SXSW Conference is one of the friendliest and most laid back conferences you will ever experience.  Pull up a chair at a table and start talking.  For those PR, marketing professionals or bloggers, consider visiting the blogger’s lounge to connect with an eclectic mix of social media influencers, PR professionals, and others.  A key component of conference job search advice is to keep business cards handy and make sure they include important contact information, such as your Twitter profile. The relationships established here may be imperative to your SXSW job search.

Stand Up, Stand Out, and Relax at SXSW 2012

Most of all relax, enjoy and open yourself up to meeting new people outside your comfort zone.  Conferences like SXSW can lead to amazing job opportunities and new business connections.  Put yourself out there and enjoy the SXSW Conference!

*Be sure to check out my 2012 Beginners Guide to SXSW

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. David Smooke (@DavidSmooke) says


    Good tips for the job seeker. There are so many good companies and talented people at SXSW that meeting the right ones – to find that new opportunity – is a definite possibility. Check out Jessica’s article that describes the other side of the recruiting coin, “4 Ways to Recruit at SXSW” on the SmartRecruiting Blog:

    Recruit (& get recruited) Smarter

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks David,

      It’s a good idea to look at both sides as a job seeker. Understanding how recruiters use conferences to build relationships is equally important and gives the job seeker great perspective.




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