Finding a Job

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

26 Replies - 5094 Views - Last Post: 19 May 2010 - 04:01 AM

#16 nooblet  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict

Reputation: 120
  • View blog
  • Posts: 541
  • Joined: 12-March 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:12 PM

This is base on my experience as an employer in the valley and of friends I have that have hired employees as well. However, I will note that not all employers look for the same things. This is simply what we look for (I haven't really encounter people looking for something else).

A degree helps, although it isn't required. I look to see if someone does have a CS degree whether its a bachelors, a masters, or a PhD but in the end, just because they have one, doesn't mean I'll hire them. It does depend on more than that and if I find a talented programmer I believe in, I could care less about the degree. As a few people already mentioned above, the key when applying for a job is extensively listing your skill set and programming languages you have. BUT, to take it a step further, you should always include a cover letter mentioning things you've done that may not be job related, things like pet projects, stuff you've coded for fun, or complex things you've built to demonstrate your capacity for coding. A resume will never reflect those things. And of course a portfolio is vitally important, something an employer can see and feel for a sample of your work.

Having said the above, a few other things to note. A skillful programmer who is absolutely passionate about programming, and all they do is talk shop and dream of programming all day and night shows. A lot of people like programming, but they don't love it. They do it as a means to a job and not as a hobby outside of work. The programmers I've worked with live and breathe code at work or at home. These people are the people who solve great problems on the job. Ideally what I want is someone who can learn and adapt fast. Pick up new languages if they must, program apps if they have to, etc.. These are qualities people want rather than someone who is a great master of any given language. I also care greatly about how well a person can document code and how secure they program. How fast they can scan code if needed and see problems within the code. A typical resume won't detail this stuff.

Lastly, of course, what languages they know and how well of a fit the criteria I'm looking for. A normal resume may lack this and I won't really know if someone can pick up the past when challenged and hence why the other stuff is important. Unlike another person who mentioned certification, no one I know really cares about those things. They are easy enough to get and at the end of the day don't mean much. The quality is in the programmer themselves. I can tell you I've scan through hundreds of resumes and it is extremely difficult to find even one person who becomes a good fit. I'd honestly kill to find the right programmer. Still do. To date, I've only found about 3 people among countless resumes that come through. And believe me, these programmers are definitely elite in their own right and it shows through work they've done or work they're able to produce.

I should also mention I'm big on hiring full time employees and they must be local. I don't do telecommute or contract base positions and I'm sure a lot of companies are the same way if they had to choose.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 16 May 2010 - 07:18 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 3
  • +
  • -

#17 keakTheGEEK  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular
  • member icon

Reputation: 107
  • View blog
  • Posts: 344
  • Joined: 23-February 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:58 PM

View Postnooblet, on 16 May 2010 - 06:12 PM, said:

Unlike another person who mentioned certification, no one I know really cares about those things. They are easy enough to get and at the end of the day don't mean much. The quality is in the programmer themselves.


You must be referring to my post (I am the only one who mentions certification). I just want to clarify that I wasn't implying, in any way, that having a certification has anything to do with the quality of the programmer. Simply just another option to help increase your visibility of your resume when shopping it to potential employers. That's it. I agree with you 100% that the quality is in the programmer themselves. However, it's hard for any programmer to prove themselves on a resume alone. All a resume does is hopefully catch your attention so that you would want to contact that applicant for an interview. That's where proving yourself is going to happen. If an applicant doesn't have any educational degree or training in programming and also doesn't have any previous work experience and your resume is included in a pile of 100+... Certainly a certification will not hurt. Wouldn't you think that it would even help increase your chances of getting an interview sooner than later (if that employer even really goes through each and every resume)?

EDIT: Corrected some punctuation errors.

This post has been edited by keakTheGEEK: 18 May 2010 - 07:19 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#18 nooblet  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict

Reputation: 120
  • View blog
  • Posts: 541
  • Joined: 12-March 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:52 PM

View PostkeakTheGEEK, on 17 May 2010 - 08:58 PM, said:

Wouldn't you think that it would even help increase your chances of getting an interview sooner than later (if that employer even really goes through each and every resume).


In all the cases I've come across, I can only say rarely. The best chance a person has of getting hired beyond a resume and its one of the primary things employers look for is a portfolio of their previous work. Along with that, I also request that people submit a cover letter detailing work that may not be in their resume. Things they've done for pet projects or things that may demonstrate their ability to solve problems that isn't otherwise reflected in the resume. The problem is a large portion of people who apply for work lack these two things. However, they would provide a much better end result than anything else.
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#19 Mion  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 1
  • View blog
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 23-April 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:33 AM

Well as a uni graduate I can say its certainly true that all the bits of paper you get through education don't SEEM to help that much.

I've got A position myself but honestly I've been looking for another position for over half a year now. To actually GET interviews I find the best thing to do is to literally tailor your CV/resume for each type of application - especially when you have a degree behind you considering degree's can teach you a broad spectrum of things.

Just as an example I learned VB.Net, Oracle SQL and Java. I KNOW T-SQL from my job and picked UP ASP/JS and SOME C# from it too. Now if I was aplying for a T-SQL role I'd probably omitt specifically mentioning Oracle from my degree while adding something to the effect that my current job RE-ENFORCED my T-SQL knowledge. If I was applying for a Java position I would highlight the fact my degrees dissertation was a Java client/server based program and for that module I received a First.

Basically you need to have your CV/resume blatantly show the qualities that make you right for the position while maybe adding small detail with other desirable qualities. Don't let the important bits be drowned out by everything ELSE in other words.

Of course I always seem to fall down at the interview stage somehow or other xD My most notable fail being that I failed a personality test because it indicated "I MIGHT lead through authority rather than experience" -_-;;
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#20 keakTheGEEK  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular
  • member icon

Reputation: 107
  • View blog
  • Posts: 344
  • Joined: 23-February 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:22 AM

View Postnooblet, on 17 May 2010 - 09:52 PM, said:

View PostkeakTheGEEK, on 17 May 2010 - 08:58 PM, said:

Wouldn't you think that it would even help increase your chances of getting an interview sooner than later (if that employer even really goes through each and every resume)?


In all the cases I've come across, I can only say rarely. The best chance a person has of getting hired beyond a resume and its one of the primary things employers look for is a portfolio of their previous work. Along with that, I also request that people submit a cover letter detailing work that may not be in their resume. Things they've done for pet projects or things that may demonstrate their ability to solve problems that isn't otherwise reflected in the resume. The problem is a large portion of people who apply for work lack these two things. However, they would provide a much better end result than anything else.


Even though I am not the one who started this thread, I would like to thank you @nooblet for participating in this discussion. It's great to have an employers perspective first hand on a topic such as this one. Good Stuff.

This post has been edited by keakTheGEEK: 18 May 2010 - 07:23 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#21 nooblet  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict

Reputation: 120
  • View blog
  • Posts: 541
  • Joined: 12-March 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:13 AM

View PostkeakTheGEEK, on 18 May 2010 - 06:22 AM, said:

Even though I am not the one who started this thread, I would like to thank you @nooblet for participating in this discussion. It's great to have an employers perspective first hand on a topic such as this one. Good Stuff.


Thanks Keak. If anyone has any direct questions, feel free to post them on here. As I've said, I've gone through hundreds if not thousands of resume and applicants, some responding to a job posting I've done, and others actively seeking employment from me. There are several things I look for. I'm sure every employer have their own hiring process on evaluating programmings and I'm certain because I'm not Google or Microsoft, my method is a bit less intensive yet still valid. As I have said, in all the applicants I've ever come across, only so many are truly rockstars.

Not saying that not everyone else who applied weren't rockstars, just it wasn't obvious in the evaluating process because they neglect to include this (and I do a test after the initial review and initial interview; a 3 step hiring process on my part). Outside of skill set and what a programmer is capable of, there are SEVERAL tidbits to be wary of in the application process that automatically eliminates candidates all of the time. Those interested, I can make a list for, otherwise I'll try to keep this short. Also I can make a list of things to avoid listing.

I should shamelessly mention that I'm always looking for top talent with or without a degree if such a programmer exists, and I welcome anyone here looking for a job to feel free to reach out. I'll evaluate you first hand and at worse, I'll help point out the flaws so that you may adjust them for a future employer if needed.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 18 May 2010 - 09:22 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#22 keakTheGEEK  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Regular
  • member icon

Reputation: 107
  • View blog
  • Posts: 344
  • Joined: 23-February 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:46 PM

View Postnooblet, on 18 May 2010 - 08:13 AM, said:

Outside of skill set and what a programmer is capable of, there are SEVERAL tidbits to be wary of in the application process that automatically eliminates candidates all of the time. Those interested, I can make a list for, otherwise I'll try to keep this short. Also I can make a list of things to avoid listing.

I should shamelessly mention that I'm always looking for top talent with or without a degree if such a programmer exists, and I welcome anyone here looking for a job to feel free to reach out. I'll evaluate you first hand and at worse, I'll help point out the flaws so that you may adjust them for a future employer if needed.


If you don't mind, please do share your list of tidbits and any other information you can relating to experience with the application process. I think that it will add even more value to this thread.

This post has been edited by keakTheGEEK: 19 May 2010 - 07:51 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#23 Mion  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head

Reputation: 1
  • View blog
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 23-April 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:27 AM

Adding my voice to keaks - I'd like to see that list too.

Being in the UK I can't really go through your interview process though however :(. but yea yours doesn't sound like the worst interview process I've been through though I've definitely been through "easier". The worst I've been through was a six stage interview for a company called ThoughtWorks.That was the "most notable fail" I mentioned in my last post >.<. Stage 6 of 6 and borked up by a personality test >.<. Consisted of application, an online quiz, phone interview, in person interview, in person logic quiz and a group interview...
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#24 nooblet  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict

Reputation: 120
  • View blog
  • Posts: 541
  • Joined: 12-March 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:48 AM

*
POPULAR

It's difficult to put together a list because there are a lot of things to consider and they vary depending on the employer. I can create a general list but it won't really reflect everything. However, with that in mind, I'll try to list some of the things that I see in applicants that apply. Please keep in mind that there are multiple steps and processes applicants typically go through to get hired and this will also vary from employer to employer. While I can't tell you how to land a surefire job with the interview process and testing, if any, with any particular company as it varies too much, here is a list of best practices to consider from the beginning.

01. When I make a posting, I am very specific on who I look for and what qualifications and skills I want the programmer to have. Ideally, I want the person who is most targeted as any employer would want. You'd be surprise but NO ONE I've ever met bothers to take the time to redo their resume before submitting it to cater to the posting. Just because you're a programmer and you have specific experience and skills and is applying for a programming job doesn't mean you should construct a generic resume for all programming positions.

Just like how every employer have different requirements for different programming positions, it makes sense to have different resumes for different positions you are applying for because chances are, no two employer are looking for the same skillset in a programmer. This is a mistake of epic proportions because why would an employer need to see all your other skillsets if they have no need for it. This is just a bunch of noise and unnecessary space wasting an employer's time when reviewing an applicants resume.

Instead, I want to see that a programmer clearly meets my requirements. In addition, rather than list positions they've held at previous companies and a super brief description on what they worked on (which does no one any good), list details on how you were able to solve the problem or what you did in terms of code. Evaluating a programmer strictly relies heavily on their ability to program. What an employer is interested in is why hire YOU vs the other thousand applicants who can program as well. Practically 99% of resumes I see don't tell me anything about the programmers ability, only projects they work on. This doesn't help me at all.

02. As I said before, make sure you have a portfolio of previous work done visible online and if possible, interactive. Do the same with your resume (don't just submit a word doc or PDF and leave it at that. Having a presence online that represents your work is a thousand times more effective than anything you write. Most people overhype their resume and employers know this. Fancying it up with pretty words and making your achievements greater than they really are is meaningless in most cases. I can tell you in the history of all applicants I've ever come across, the number of programmers with an actual portfolio can be narrowed down to a handful of people. Maybe it's because people make the mistake of thinking portfolios are only for designers or something. Not sure, but it's a bad mistake to make.

03. The cover letter is crucial. Like #2, the number of applicants that actually take the time to submit a cover letter is nearly zero. I've even had an applicant email me once saying "I don't have time to write a cover letter". Let's just say no one has the time to hire someone like him either. A cover letter is NOT strictly for expressing interest in a job position. Maybe in other fields it is, but in ours, it's about clarifying your capabilities as a programmer. There are certain things that don't make sense to include in a resume that makes perfect sense to write in a brief explanation on a cover letter. Things such as pet projects you've done that demonstrate your programming abilities that might not otherwise fit in a resume. Be creative in this area.

04. Never submit your resume and cover letter titled "Resume.pdf" or "CoverLetter.doc" or whatever. Always include your first and last name such as John_Smith_Resume.pdf. Not doing this is just asking for it to get lost in the sea of applications that come through. In this economy, more than ever, there is a massive army of programmers looking for work and any advantage you can give yourself, do it. People who are too lazy to spend a second or two to rename their resume have no right to expect a job. After all, it'll only make the employer think they're just another bulk application in the applying game an employee plays. Not a good first impression. Even worse, make sure you adhere to #1 here. I once had an employee submit a resume titled "Nike_Resume". Needless to say, it was thrown out (I'm not part of Nike and never was). If you're too lazy to take the job seriously, I'm too lazy to bother hiring you or looking at your stuff.

05. Never be pushy. This next part is subjective but employers typically have a lot of applicants to go through and a lot of screening to do. Naturally it isn't a quick process and you should expect it to be so. Some of the larger companies have wait list of months. Smaller ones will still take time to process things. If you have access to email an employer directly, always do one intro email when sending your resume for the first time or so, maybe do one follow up a week later, and one last email two weeks after that. Anything beyond that, you may be pushing someone's button or making yourself look desperate. Not a good sign. Great programmers rarely if ever apply for a job. They know it too. Instead, they get recruited away to other companies. Facebook steal Google employees and vice versa all the time. The ones that are on the market are often the ones that have no job experience or have yet to prove themselves. Making yourself look eager for a job may not always be in your best interest. Compose yourself professionally even before an interview happens. Believe me, it matters. If you don't hear back from an employer, don't stress over it. This happens a lot. As much as I wish for every employer to follow up with every employee to kindly turn them down, this doesn't always happen.

06. Should have mentioned this earlier but it just came to my mind. Make sure you always submit a resume. In most cases, no resume equal automatic disqualification. If you have no job experience, build a skills resume. If you don't know what that is or never heard of it, Google it. I've come across a few cases where people just email interest and ignore giving me anything to go off of.

07. Make sure you apply for the right position and that you've read (even re-read) the job listing. I get applicants who apply for the wrong position or submit a resume for a position I'm not hiring (probably in hopes of landing a job when one becomes available). My take on this is you may annoy the wrong people and even worse, risk losing potential job opportunities in the future. Even worse, people don't bother reading the listing and submit their resume and application only to not realize it's completely off from what an employer wants. Or they ask a question that is clearly stated in the job posting. Doing this can translate to the employer you don't care to read the posting properly, they don't care to hire you.

08. Never ever talk about what you previously got paid, how much you expect to get paid, or put what hours you're willing to work. You'd be surprise how often this happens. Pay and benefits are reserved for later in the interview process. If one of the things you do up front before even landing an interview is demand a certain criteria, guess what, there are a few thousand other applicants who are happy to apply. If you want a job, remember beggars can't be choosers. This is not to deter or put anyone off. As much as you want to find out what everything offers so you know if you're wasting your time or not, the follow up phone call or interview is not too far off. Get your foot in the door first before blowing your chance to even get there. You do your best and negotiate later (and you will and should always negotiate when the time is right). The important thing you're trying to achieve here it to get to the interview to begin with. I once had someone going as far as emailing me a follow up emailing saying they were "hot" on the market and that other companies were interested in hiring them and that I should hurry if I want to hire them. I shot an email back saying good luck with the other "companies". Be respectful but above all else, have respect for yourself.

09. A massive number of applicants often list how many years they've been programming something. This is a subjective area but my take is, none of this matters. For example, some will list they have 9+ years of php, 12+ years of C++, etc... No one cares about the numbers. A 1 year programmer can out program a 20 year veteran and if you know anything about programming, you'll know this is true. Employers for the most part aren't dumb. Focus on catering your skills to what they look for and find creative ways to demonstrate your abilities, no bloat info that servers no real purpose.

10. Certifications. This is an earlier subject on this thread. Good programmers come from all backgrounds, with or without a degree of any kind. The best ones are those who are passionate about programming and live and breathe and talk about this stuff all the time. Anyone who has any experience building a tech company of any kind knows this, or should. While degrees still matter to a large number of employers, certifications for the most part, do not. Degrees take a lot to get and show you can pass tough courses. Certifications are not always so difficult to achieve. Like taking a driver license test, fail, and you can take it again. Relatively speaking, the material are often not that difficult. Regardless if they are or not, they're not important. YOU are. Focus on that.

11. Complementary skills. In addition to catering to the job position. It is important to be wise on including complimentary skills and leaving out all unnecessary skills. If I post a position for a backend web developer for example, I don't mind that you include the fact that you have good front end skills and what languages you have to prove this (will be apparent base on your portfolio as well). However I don't need someone to list a bunch of languages no one cares about or the long list of unnecessary languages, and DHTML is not a language to begin with. Things like being able to code W3C compliant code would be a good addition or relevant languages you think is good to add. Otherwise, be careful of including too much.

12. Make sure you choose a clean and easy to read format for your resume. Some people choose layouts that are just unbearable to read. Keep your resume (print) to one page. Anything more is unnecessary. Include awards you've won but avoid writing crap like how you helped scaled a company to a 2 billion dollar acquisition. Let's face it, unless you were the CTO of that company, which means you wouldn't be applying for a job, writing that you were part of a huge team that helped a company get to acquisition doesn't mean anything. Be relative and be concise on things that matter, not things that make your resume "sound" better than it really is. Again, employers are generally use to hiring processes and they'll smell this coming from a mile away. Smart companies will get some of their top engineers to be involved in the hiring process and a good engineer will smell your BS a mile away. Be real and more importantly, focus on sharpening your skills in areas related to the position you're looking to apply for. It'll matter.

You'd think that all of this would be pretty huge common sense but every day, I run into applicants who fail to spend quality time adjusting their resumes (which usually means an extra 5 mins) and properly apply for a job. This isn't the lottery and you're not submitting to hope to hit the jackpot. That doesn't work. And in a sea of hundreds to thousands of resumes, every bit counts. Even in startups, this will count. Hopefully this gives everyone some general basic insight. Again, this isn't a comprehensive list and a lot of things may vary but these are in general best practice guidelines.

If anyone is interested in wanting me to review their stuff or is interested in a job position, I'm more than open to discussion and willing to help. I want to note that with a job description to gauge your material is better than just giving me a resume, cover letter, and/or portfolio. The job description is what determines the rest.

Update: 13. Avoid using language of any type regarding how interested you are in the company you are applying for or how much you love the company unless you genuinely do and have an extensive knowledge of the company. I almost forgot this one but I get applicants who say this, then when I asked them some rebuttal questions in the initial email exchanges or phone calls prior to an interview, they sound like they know nothing about the company. If you don't genuinely know, no one is going to penalize you for it or care. If you lie, it will count against you.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 19 May 2010 - 04:39 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 13
  • +
  • -

#25 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

  • "ADDICTED"[2:5]
  • member icon

Reputation: 526
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,397
  • Joined: 02-September 09

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 19 May 2010 - 03:01 AM

EDIT:

I removed everything. Considering how constructive this thread is, I don't want to be the one to pollute it with my negative attitude. I'm just frustrated.


Anyway, to nooblet - do you think the resume should be a sort of call-and-response type thing to the job posting? Do you get what I mean or should I elaborate?

This post has been edited by MentalFloss: 19 May 2010 - 03:06 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#26 MentalFloss  Icon User is offline

  • "ADDICTED"[2:5]
  • member icon

Reputation: 526
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,397
  • Joined: 02-September 09

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 19 May 2010 - 03:15 AM

Also, what are some good applications to create for your portfolio? Should they be whatever I cook up? Or should I make something business-y like time tracking, payroll management, inventory control, access control, etc?
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#27 nooblet  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict

Reputation: 120
  • View blog
  • Posts: 541
  • Joined: 12-March 10

Re: Finding a Job

Posted 19 May 2010 - 04:01 AM

View PostMentalFloss, on 19 May 2010 - 02:01 AM, said:

EDIT:

I removed everything. Considering how constructive this thread is, I don't want to be the one to pollute it with my negative attitude. I'm just frustrated.


Anyway, to nooblet - do you think the resume should be a sort of call-and-response type thing to the job posting? Do you get what I mean or should I elaborate?


I'm interested in knowing what was posted LOL

I think I understand but to make sure, you should clarify if my next answer doesn't seem to follow. A resume is indeed a response specifically to any job posting you are interested in. At the end of the day, an employer is offering a specific position and they want someone that can fit that position or role as best as possible, ideally the perfect candidate that has all the skills they require. Resumes should reflect as much of that as possible.

Keep in mind that there are probably hundreds of other applicants that fit this role too so you'll want to make sure yours is as targeted as possible to garnet attention early on. The more you can do to improve this, the better. Afterall, if someone is hiring a Java programmer and 500 Java programmer applies, why should they hire YOU. The above comments starts to make more sense when you look at it like that.

It is a given that good programmers can pick up any language within a short time period and they can do what is needed. That isn't the reason for submitting a resume. Employers like to see applicants with experience in specific languages because those who actively work on those languages know more than those that are picking them up, including ways to creatively use the language to do what they need. Even expert programmers who are excellent at any given language are constantly learning new things about the language themselves. As such, an employer will want someone that meets the needs they are looking to fill and if possible, find out how good they are at utilizing their programming skills (which is why the portfolio and cover letter is a crucial component to make you shine.

I can tell you that since there are only a handful of people that even bother submitting those two (generally not both on top of that), you'd be one of the rare few to do so if you did. That by itself is a great start assuming you did it right.

Your resume is not an introduction to your overall career or accomplishments (which probably works wonders in other fields) but rather is a detailed look at your capabilities to fulfill the role. Our industry is vastly different than others and as such, you can't view it the same way you would for say a marketing position or an HR position, etc...

As for applications to create a portfolio, I don't have any particular recommendations although you should be building it yourself, from scratch. The portfolio is meant to be a reflection of your previous work and programming abilities including things you've done with previous employers (posting should be with permission) or projects you've done on your own. It can be anything, does not need to be business related. It's a reflection of how well you can program.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 19 May 2010 - 04:23 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2