Interviewing and hiring developers has been an eye opening experience for what to do when applying for a job. The biggest thing that got my attention was how import the little things are when applying – specifically how easy it is to tell if someone cares at all by things like spelling errors, attention to application instructions, and their online profiles. Here are a few tips for anyone applying at Old Town Media.
Spellcheck. Holy cow, just spellcheck
Spelling and grammar are the most basic of job tasks. If you can’t be bothered to check for misspelled words when you’re applying for the job, how can I trust you to write intelligent emails to clients, communicate with our team or write helpful code comments? It shows a complete lack of attention to detail and, frankly a lack of “giving a crap”.
The initial email and CV/resume should be the most polished thing you’ve ever written because I WILL judge you on it. We often have too many applicants to waste time on someone that doesn’t care.
Don’t give me what I gave you
On one of our recent hirings, about half of the applicants tried as hard as they could to get the exact same adjectives/wording in their cover letters as we put in the job description. This is not only lazy and unimaginative, it’s downright pandering. I’m interested in employees who have their own individual thoughts and ideas – I don’t want someone who will just spit my words right back at me.
Now, I know this is what a lot of university career centers tell their graduates to do. But you should ignore a lot of what they told you.
Don’t give me templates
I can tell if your cover letter is a template that you replaced a few words in. If you’re thinking about sending us a template, instead write a thoughtful paragraph. I would prefer a single short paragraph about yourself to a wall of text that was clearly brilliantly written for another prospective job two years ago.
Have an online presence
The first thing I do after reading a resume is Google someone. I get concerned if I can’t find anything about someone on Google. That means either a) you’ve done a magnificent job of hiding something about yourself or b) you’ve made no mark on the Internet at all. You can’t have experience in developing well and not made any mark on the Internet.
Make it easy on me and include links to several relevant profiles that I can check out. It’s better than me Googling and finding the drunk college version of you on a slip and slide.
I’ve been there. Waiting is downright painful. Did they receive my resume? Did they not like it? Is the job still available? Probably yes, no, yes. As a small company it takes a lot of time to parse through resumes and if we’re hiring someone it means that we’ve run out of time for us to do work which means we’re reviewing resumes during or 50th hour of work that week. It’s painful but be patient and it will be rewarded.