The advice I’m about to impart won’t work for everyone but if you are an above average developer (or at least think you are) then the following advice will work. There are a few fundamental facts that we need to address first:
When you first start looking for work do not upload your CV/resume to jobsites unless you want to be harrassed by average recruiters promising you the world and rarely delivering.
Put some effort in. You are looking for someone to pay you tens of thousands of pounds/dollars a year, don’t go about it half-arsed. Put effort into your CV, put effort into researching the company prior to interview and put effort into your appearance.
Research. No-ones knows better than you about what job would suit you best. Despite the recent recession there are a massive amount of opportunities out there if you are willing to invest time and effort into looking for them.
There are a huge number of myths surrounding the ‘Golden Rules’ of CV/resume writing, most of which are perpetrated by corporate HR professionals who are too self-absorbed and process driven to care about creativity and personality.
If you are a hacker or simply one who loves to build stuff, chances are you won’t be interested in working for a huge conglomerate where a perpetual battle with HR drains your soul before you even reach the interview stages, if you are looking for work with a major corporate then this blog isn’t for you.
Do not limit your CV to one page. If your experience spans more than 3 years or more than 3 jobs then you need details and it’s madness to limit yourself to one page in this situation. The reason for the ‘1 page rule’ is down to HR laziness. They generally can’t be bothered to read the detail on your CV and mostly just want a snapshot of your experience as well as a few keywords that match the job spec sitting in front of them. Most start-ups or relatively
new businesses don’t have a HR department and appreciate relevant and interesting detail which leads me to my next point.
If you see a job that sounds perfect for you, do your research. Look up the company on their website, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc and find out the relevant hiring managers name. In most cases you are looking for a CTO, Technical Director or Lead Developer. Once you think you have the appropriate person, send them your CV directly quoting the job title in the subject.
THE COVER LETTER
Put some time and effort into writing a brief but relevant cover letter. Don’t include it as an email attachment; write it in the body of the email. Tell them who you are, tell them briefly why you want to apply for the role advertised and give them some bullet points on the key areas of your experience, a snapshot of your resume if you will. Don’t forget to attach your resume. You would be amazed how many people forget. Never, ever include a stock cover letter. Make it relevant to the role and the company you are applying to.
Back to your CV. If you are a developer and you don’t have a GitHub repo, get working on one. Even if it only contains basic examples of your coding ability, it all counts. The best hiring managers are the ones who know what GitHub is for a start and more often than not they will shortlist those candidates whose code they can see before inviting them for interview as it gives them an instant impression of your ability.