My Four Tips For Job Seekers

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Ok, I just have to take a moment to rant a bit. We’re currently looking for some mid-level developers as well as a System Administrator. Naturally we posted a job description on Dice.com and craigslist.org. In general I find the best candidates through referral, but occasionaly I’ll get a few good ones through a job site.

If the crop of resumes and cover letters I received is a fair indication of the quality of developer job applicants out there (and I hope and believe this is not the case), then either the U.S. developer population is nearly fully employed (in which case I’m cool), or outsourcing to offshore countries is starting to make a lot of sense.

So let’s start of with an episode of:

Haacked.com’s 4 Tips For Job Seekers

1. Your cover letter and resume should be an example of the best work you can do. \ Initially, I have absolutely nothing to judge you by except your resume and cover letter. So take the time to get it right. If you’re applying to be a system administrator and you spell virus as viurs, I have to wonder if you’ll take the same care with our production servers.

If you are a developer, don’t tell me I spend 5 years working ASP.NET sites. Try to squeeze a preposition in there. I get absolutely giddy with joy when I receive a cover letter that is concise and well written. Compared to the other gruft I get, a well written cover letter is page gripper. I’ll take it to the beach and read it over and over.

2. Learn to use a spell-checker and have someone else proof-read your resume. \ As a developer, I understand that a spell checker chokes on the line where you list your skills as

Expert in C#/C++/C/PERL/J++/WMD/ASP.NET/Stamp Collecting/Java/J2EE/Oracle/Cisco/SQL/Table tennis/Chess/Jai-Alai/Math/

But you’re supposed to be a problem solver. Figure it out. If your resume has obvious spelling and grammar errors, it reflects poorly on yourself (see tip #1).

3. Provide working and professional contact info\ I kid you not, I received a resume with the email address WatchYoBack@[Domain Witheld].com.

Trust me, I’ll do exactly that by not calling you. In this particular situation I didn’t notice the email address and tried to call the applicant. Both his cell number and land line were disconnected. Apparently you didn’t watch yo phone bills.

I can’t imagine what would compel you to send me a resume with phone numbers that don’t work.

And why use such an email address when you can create one for free. It doesn’t have to be your name. It can be something obtuse or abstract. But I’d recommend against threatening people to watch their back in your email.

Another applicant had an email address where the domain name is slang for sexual intercourse. Something to do with uglies. That one I found funny, but would not recommend it as not everyone shares my sense of humor.

4. Lastly, do provide an updated resume \ I was speaking to one candidate and he started talking about recent employers that I could not find on his resume. His last job listed ended in 2003. When I asked about this discrepancy, he apologized and said that he hasn’t updated his resume in a while. That’s odd I thought, I downloaded this resume off his website like he asked me to. There were two links, one for a resume as a Word document and one for a resume as a PDF.

Apparently neither of those resumes were updated. I was supposed to click on a tab of his website with the word experience and look at his HTML formatted resume. Are you trying NOT to find a job? Do us all a favor, send a nicely formatted resume when you apply for the job, or don’t apply at all.


That’s it. Only four. I don’t have time to tell you how to look for a job. Besides, I think Joel Spolsky did a fine job in this article. You might be quite qualified, but you’ve disqualified yourself by using poor English, bad spelling, and general inability to communicate well. Undoubtedly I’m preaching to the choir. But if you know people looking for a job, remind them of these four tips.

And with that, I end my rant. Have a nice weekend everybody.

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