I can plz has resume?

A how-to guide to writing awful recruiting emails, with real examples from my inbox.

Step 1. Border Control!

Hi Michael,
Do you have a valid US work visa? Are you looking for a role as a Developer for Java with a company for one of the clients [sic]. If so, we should talk….

We should definitely talk. But, quick question: will your company accept US citizenship in lieu of a work visa? Let me know, thanks. Ever since I was a little kid, I have dreamed of one day getting a job with a company, I hear they have been doing really amazing things in their space. Where do I apply?!?

Step 2. Pretend to research the person you’re contacting.

Based on your LinkedIn profile, I think you could be a great fit for this job. It is a full time job with an excellent company based in Tallahassee Florida and requires 7+ years experience in Python. Rates competitive for the right candidate. No relo. Please call me at (555) 555-5555 as soon as you can if you are interested.

Well, call me flattered. Even though the job requires 7+ years in a language that I’ve barely used, and happens to be located 1,000 miles from where I now live, the recruiter was still kind enough to think of me. That is so nice. I will definitely give it some serious thought.

Step 3. Only tell me the requirements.

5+ years in large-scale product development
2+ years leading a team of back-end Engineers and front-end Engineers
3+ years working in an enterprise java stack
Expert in back-end (java/python/etc) development or front-end (html/js/css)
Let me know if interested.

Finally. A gig that requires either several years of Java or HTML or whatever. Please, don’t bother mentioning anything about the company, its culture, why you think I would be a good fit, or why I should spend my valuable time speaking to you—none of that really matters if I don’t meet the requirements does it!

Step 4. Advertise a salary that is WAY higher than what’s being offered.

Well-known hedge fund seeks an exceptional Java developer, comp to $1M+

Yes please! I would like all of the money, thank you. How much will they actually pay for someone with no finance experience? $100k? Wait, that means I will not be able to buy a mega-yacht and sleep on a bed of caviar and truffles. Never mind.

Step 5. Have absolutely no idea what any of those acronyms mean.

We want it to be fast, so we are building it in git instead of php.

(source: @molovo)

You mean I could stop using a programming language entirely and build an app inside of a source-code repository protocol? What is this black magic you speak of. Unless git has just introduced “git if”, “git while”, “git declare:variable -name foobar=1,” and “git func” into its command language, I think the company’s efforts to replace PHP with git may be an uphill battle. I for one, am always looking for a challenge.


But please, don’t let this monochromatic picture of incompetence paint an apocryphal or negative picture of recruiters in general: this is truly a sampling of the worst of the worst.

One of the best jobs I’ve ever had came via a recruiter, who I felt was my advocate as much as he was the company’s. There are thousands of thoughtful, smart, careful, and knowledgeable recruiters out there responsible for building just about every great organization in the world. If you like having an iPhone, searching on Google, or saving the planet on Change.org, you have a recruiter to thank for helping to put the right team in place to get the job done.

My next blog post will also be drawn from the deep stack of real recruiting emails that I have received over the years, but instead, I will focus on the other end of the spectrum. You will see how the best of the best recruit, and no surprise, many of those recruiters work for the world’s best brands. Until next week.

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