Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Developer Take Aways from Monster and CareerBuilder Access

I've had this posting in a Word document for a while, and finally, I'm getting around to publishing it.  A while ago, I was involved in the searching and recruiting of a new developer for our group.  We were given access to Monster and Careerbuilder to facilitate the search since our HR department had no clue how to sort out all the skills we were looking for.

Well, it was an eye opening experience, and I thought I'd share a few things I learned from this process.

1.       Make a small change to your resume every week to stay on top.  The default filter works by how recently you have updated your resume.  Usually, people will choose resumes updated within the past week, month, or 3 months.
2.       Put some buzz words in your Monster profile, if you have any decent experience (NOT in your resume, which I’ll talk about later).  It will get you more hits, but some of the hits may not be jobs you want, so carefully filter out jobs that don’t fit your skill set.
3.       Put down some lesser known technologies you’ve worked with in case someone wants to key in on that technology. (Like DotNetNuke, Mojo Portal, Kronos, etc).  A company may not be looking for a Mojo Portal developer, but if you know it, they may view that as a bonus and choose to give you an interview over the other 10K .NET developers out there.
4.       It’s hard to search by experience level and/or salary, so don’t feel the need to put salary requirements.  Use your title to let people determine that (like Junior or Senior).
5.       Make sure you have a descriptive  title and a target job title.  I can’t tell you how many resume’s I skipped because it said, “Joe Smith’s Resume” and had no target job title.  Monster is VERY slow at times and sometimes I just didn’t want to click on the link because I know it takes so long to pull up.
6.       Some companies want a Mid Level [or Senior] developer, but find out later that they can only afford a Junior Level [or Mid Level] person.  Don’t let titles scare you away, but be up front about your skills when applying for these jobs.  Be completely honest and transparent about what you have done and what you have not done.
7.       Recruiter fees DEFINITELY play a role in a hiring decision.  I personally know that I lost out on a position because the other candidate applied directly.   If you come from a recruiter, there is a 20%-25% markup.  You may be better than the other person, but if you are going to cost the company about $15K- $30K more (for similar skills), that can be a deciding factor if its close.
8.       Keep your certifications up (if you can), because when all else fails, acronyms are easy to search on AND the person doing the searching may have no clue what they mean.  You can tell me 100 stories about how certifications mean nothing, but for me it does three things:
a.       Gives me an easy way to search for a developer vs. some guy that knows the keywords I am searching for. (I’ve seen so many DBAs put Java and C# on their resume because they took a class in college or wired up a DataGrid to a table on a WinForm one time).
b.      Tells me the person is somewhat dedicated to their career.  Dedicated enough to study a book and take a test.  I put this in the same category as people that attend user group meetings for a particular technology.  You may not know much, but at least I know you care about your career enough to dedicate your own time/money to get the certification.  I know plenty of developers that go home and never touch a computer and have no side projects (a minus to me).
c.       They may just be learning monotonous details, but I’ve run into situations where a senior network engineer didn’t know a lot of the details of security policies that an MCSE would have known (and it ended up wasting 2 days troubleshooting a simple issue because of this).
9.        A cover letter is NOT important on Monster.  At least in my experience.  Disagree if you want.
10.   Get a skill that NOT everyone has.  There are a million .NET programmers out there at all levels and for all salaries.  So, learn some stuff like Perl, Python, RoR, Grails, Scala, etc.
11.   If you are a Web Developer, have some sort of public website, even if it’s just an online resume (and try to make it look decent).  I can’t believe you’ve been building websites/web applications for 6 years, but you’ve never created a public website.  That just shows lack of ambition.
12.   Putting special characters ( like the accented ‘e’ on Resume or a ‘tilde-n’ if you have a Hispanic name) in your resume’s file name can make it so it cannot be opened on some computers.
13.   Key in on some business terms to get Managers to take notice.  In healthcare, you could use: EDI, HL7, PQRI, etc.  We all know computers don’t care about what data they are displaying, but this excites managers to know that you may have some knowledge of their field that you can share with them (or that they don’t have to teach you).
14.   MOST IMPORTANTLY:   Don’t put things on your resume unless you can answer questions about them.  Use your Monster profile to add keywords/buzz words, but don’t put them on your resume because I’m GOING to ask you about them (while you are in front of me).  If I ask you a question about something on your resume and you can’t answer it at all, that makes you look like a liar.  I’d rather teach someone how to program than teach them how to be ethical.