A geek's guide to getting hired


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Today's job market is many things. It's demanding. It's competitive. But it shouldn't be scary. Employers get more responses to their job ads than ever, but the scattershot approach most job seekers take makes it easy to stand out from the crowd. Come learn what employers are looking for, but would never mention in their ads. Topics will include resumes, cover letters, and personal branding, from a developer who has hired developers and just completed a successful job search himself.


Dave Ross has been developing software professionally for 11 years, and currently works as a lead developer strengthening teams to build amazing web sites and applications. He's active in the local tech scene, running a PHP user group and speaking at other groups in the area. In addition, he finds time to develop plugins for Wordpress, a popular open source content management system, and volunteers at a local cat shelter.

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A geek's guide to getting hired

  1. 1. A geek's guide to getting hired <ul><li>Dave Ross for Uniforum Chicago </li></ul><ul><li>August 24, 2010 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Dave Ross <ul><li>Lead Developer at Straight North </li></ul><ul><li>Founder, Suburban Chicago PHP & Web Development Meetup </li></ul><ul><li>11 years experience </li></ul>
  3. 3. Dave Ross <ul><li>Star Trek & Doctor Who fan </li></ul><ul><li>Linux user for 15 years </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed to wife on a Scrabble board at a Mensa meeting </li></ul>
  4. 4. Turing
  5. 5. Finding Jobs
  6. 6. The big three <ul><li>Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice </li></ul><ul><li>Recruiters, fake jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Scams </li></ul>
  7. 7. Alternatives
  8. 8. Automate <ul><li>“ Email me this search” </li></ul><ul><li>RSS </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo! Pipes </li></ul>
  9. 10. The target area is only two meters wide <ul><li>What jobs sound exciting? </li></ul><ul><li>Focus your search </li></ul><ul><li>Don't waste your energy </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Higher-level jobs are not posted as often as lower-level jobs online. In-person networking may be needed to uncover these higher-level positions... </li></ul><ul><li>Tim Schoonover, OI Partners, qtd. Wall Street Journal </li></ul>
  11. 12. Your Resume
  12. 13. Multiple pages <ul><li>Automatic keyword filters </li></ul><ul><li>Online viewing </li></ul><ul><li>More detail </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>IT professionals...their roles are so complex and...they often wear multiple hats. It's hard for them to encapsulate everything they've done into just a few bullet points per position. </li></ul><ul><li>Shana Westerman </li></ul><ul><li>Recruiting Manager, Sapphire Technologies </li></ul><ul><li>qtd CIO.com </li></ul>
  14. 15. Stand out <ul><li>PDF (have a plain Word version) </li></ul><ul><li>Fonts (within reason) </li></ul><ul><li>Color </li></ul><ul><li>Humor </li></ul>
  15. 16. Get a life! <ul><li>Volunteering </li></ul><ul><li>Open source </li></ul><ul><li>Groups/associations (Uniforum!) </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>As long as your resume only shows accomplishments that others asked you to do, you are not showing signs of an entrepreneur. </li></ul><ul><li>Those of us who went the extra mile and did cool stuff without asking for permission or without being told to do so, that’s a major sign. </li></ul><ul><li>Alain Raynaud, Founder Institute </li></ul>
  17. 18. Tailor your resume for the position
  18. 19. Personal branding <ul><li>Companies do use Google, LinkedIn, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>How do you sell yourself online? </li></ul><ul><li>Github, Sourceforge </li></ul>
  19. 20. Cover letter
  20. 21. <ul><li>Company name </li></ul><ul><li>Hiring manager’s name </li></ul><ul><li>Specific technologies they use </li></ul><ul><li>Local color (restaurants, employees you’ve met) </li></ul>Customize it
  21. 22. Call to action <ul><li>Review my resume </li></ul><ul><li>Call/Email me </li></ul><ul><li>Provide contact info </li></ul>
  22. 23. <ul><li>First impressions are important. Yeah, I know, it sucks and your technical prowess should speak for itself, but it doesn’t. Let’s face it, if you forget the “L” in Klocwork in your cover letter, I’m laughing too hard to pay attention to your superior coding skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Carolyn Perkins, Director, Human Resources at Klocwork </li></ul>
  23. 24. Submitting
  24. 25. <ul><li>Usually only allow DOC or text resume </li></ul><ul><li>Generic questions </li></ul><ul><li>“I paid for this lead” </li></ul>Form on a job site
  25. 26. <ul><li>Job title in the subject line </li></ul><ul><li>Cover letter as the body </li></ul><ul><li>Resume attached </li></ul>Email it
  26. 27. <ul><li>Read about them </li></ul><ul><li>Look for a career section </li></ul><ul><li>Fill out forms or email </li></ul><ul><li>“Someone was checking us out” </li></ul>Company Web Site
  27. 28. Interviews
  28. 29. What should I wear? <ul><li>Learn the culture </li></ul><ul><li>Dress one step better </li></ul><ul><li>One thing that surprises </li></ul>
  29. 30. Do I need to say this? <ul><li>Be on time </li></ul><ul><li>Dress nice </li></ul><ul><li>Dress appropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Be polite </li></ul>
  30. 31. We know you're nervous.
  31. 32. We're gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what's Fonzie like? And what's Fonzie like? And what's Fonzie like? And what's Fonzie like?
  32. 33. Practice interviews <ul><li>Spouse/siblings </li></ul><ul><li>A mirror/your cat </li></ul><ul><li>School career center </li></ul><ul><li>Toastmasters </li></ul>
  33. 34. <ul><li>A year from now, my advice could be different. What worked five years ago for a resume probably doesn't matter now. </li></ul><ul><li>Shana Westerman </li></ul><ul><li>Recruiting Manager, Sapphire Technologies </li></ul><ul><li>qtd CIO.com </li></ul>
  34. 35. davidmichaelross.com