Do’s and Don’ts of Getting a Job Part 1

Over the past 10 years of interviewing and hiring developers I’ve accumulated some recommended Do’s and Don’ts for getting your foot in the door, nailing the interview and with a little luck getting the job. And now, as a professor and guest lecturer I’m frequently asked for advice on applying and interviewing for jobs.

These Do’s and Don’ts only cover getting the interview. Part 2 will help you nail the phone screen, in person interview and hopefully get that dream job!

Do research companies in your area and beyond to find opportunities that truly interest and maybe even excite you.

Don’t not just blindly go on every interview a recruiter wants you to. Be selective.

Do customize your resume for the job. If it’s worth applying to, then it’s worth investing the time to make your resume align with what the company is looking for.

Don’t send pages and pages of resume. A good rule of thumb is a page for every decade in the industry.

Do send your resume as a PDF to reduce formatting issues form different versions of Word, etc..

Do write a cover letter introducing yourself and explaining why you would be a good fit for the role and what interests you about the company. If you are applying via email you can just include it in the body of the email. No need to attach a separate doc.

Don’t address it the cover letter to “Dear Hiring Manager”, “To Whom it may concern” etc..

Do find out who your application may concern by researching the team on the company’s website, LinkedIn, talking to people or even by calling them.

Do follow up. If you don’t hear back within a week follow up. They may have gotten a lot of applications and follow up can show that you are very interested and make you stand out.

Don’t hound people. There’s a fine line between being persistent and aggressive. Toe it politely.

Do include work samples. If you are applying for a job that has a pseudo tangible work product like code or designs. Make sure to link to or attach work samples. Better yet, Establish a portfolio site that give some context to your work samples and give your personality a chance to shine through too.

Don’t just attach random chunks of code or link to your github with no explanation of the projects, the problem you were solving and your contribution to it, especially if it relies on open source frameworks / libraries like so most projects do these days.

Do include links to your social media accounts, especially LinkedIn and maybe even Twitter if it’s remotely professional. A little research is the first thing a potential hiring manager is going to do if you look remotely well suited to the role. So, why not just make it easier on them.