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Applying for a job? Read the requirements first!

I’m amazed and disapointed by the response to my job posting.  I received about 75 resumes over the course of a week. 

At first I wanted to help people.  I even replied to one person, thanking them for applying and (while letting them know that they didn’t meet the requirements) pointing out that they really have to build an appropriate resume before applying for other jobs.

Clearly I have to do some rewriting of my job posting.  Most likely, I’ll have to include a list of people the job is NOT appropriate for and post it in some more focused areas. 

Here’s some observations and thoughts for those people applying for jobs.  I might add more later, but I’m out of time for now.

Read the Job Posting First

This may seem like something pretty straight-forward, but clearly it isn’t.  I received a good number of resumes for programmers looking for work.  Only a couple of them were from Indian outsourcing companies …

Write a Real Resume

What do you get when you send a one page resume, done in 9 point Arial bold?  Certainly not an interview.  And yes, I did get more than one of these (maybe not that met all the options).

Today there are so many GOOD sample resumes, templates, resume creation tools and the like out there that some of the crap I received absolutely blew me away.  Believe it or not, some technical people (with more than 3 years of experience) even sent me resumes that fit on a single page. 

Before applying for any job, stop and review your resume.  Make sure you’ve promoted yourself well and shown your technical prowess.  Try using a Skills Matrix.  Remember to tweak your resume to meet the requirements of the job posting. 

Now that you have your amazing skillset listed, print your resume.  I don’t care how good you are techincally, presentation matters.  Would you show up for an interview in your wife-beater shirt and torn jeans?  No?  Your resume promotes you the same way.

If your resume is ugly, have your friend with some design skills help you make it pretty.  If you’re not sure if it’s ugly, it’s ugly.  Do remember to turn off the formatting marks in Word – they’re really distracting when reading the resume online.

Read the Job Posting Again

What?  Do it again?  YES!  For example, my job posting was very clear about a few things:  it’s a consulting role and that strong communications skills was of prime importance.  I clearly asked for a cover letter.  Why would I do that?  To test people’s communication skills, of course and to see if they could meet a client’s clearly written requirements. 

Sample cover letters I received:

“Find attached my resume”
“Attached: MyResume.doc”
“Please e-mail me your e-mail address so I can send you my resume”
“<System Message: Chinese characters not installed …>”

Truthfully, after filtering the telecommuters and offshore outsourcing groups, I only received 5 cover letters.  Which means that only 5 people really read what I wrote. 

Final Note – You can’t work a part-time business hours job if you’re working full time.  That’s just common sense, people!

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