Michael Dinowitz poses a very interesting question over on Blog of Fusion: are there really ColdFusion jobs out there?
What he’s mostly talking about are those open reqs that you keep seeing, month on month, that never seem to get filled, but he is also asking why well-qualified people have a hard time getting hired. He doesn’t really answer his own question but he gives some good advice about applying for jobs…
- If the job requirements are specific, ensure your resume makes it clear you really have those skills.
- Keep your resume current and if the application says “attach an up-to-date resume” then make sure it is current and attach it to your response! I’m guilty: I tend to send folks a link to my online resume which is generic, not tailored to a specific job.
- If the application asks for your salary expectations, be reasonable but never undervalue yourself.
- The cover letter is the first impression you make – and may be your only impression! Judith provides good advice in the middle of Michael’s post.
- If the application asks for a code sample, send them something appropriate to the job (although I’ve not actually seen an application that requests this – and most code is proprietary and belongs to an employer/client unless you write a lot of open source stuff!).
I’ve definitely seen some of these perpetually open job requirements. I’ve talked to the companies posting them. Their two most common responses?
- “We get lots of applicants but they aren’t the right people.”
- “Almost no one has applied for that job.”
The second one I can understand when the application reads like an encyclopedia of “required” skills (which many of them are). I’ve looked at job openings and thought yes, yes, yes, er… gosh, no, hmm… yes, yes, nope… really? They require that skill? It’s part of the problem with “laundry list” job requirements – and yet it’s needed to help filter the flood of applications that many jobs might otherwise get. It’s why Michael recommends you tweak your resume to “match” the job requirements.
What about the first response? I know lots of “right people” but they are mostly very happy in their current workplace and aren’t interested in applying for another job. In fact, when Broadchoice wanted to hire people, we drew up a shortlist of people we’d like to hire and then simply asked them to join us! It’s a tactic I highly recommend. You might get turned down but you might not. The important thing here is not to think “I can’t have X – they’d never come to work for us!” because that will stop you going after the people you really want. Go on, just ask them!
So let’s go back to part of Michael’s question where he asks “why can’t I get a ColdFusion job?” and let me assume he’s asking specifically for himself and people like him, by which I mean “well-known people in the community”. Why would a company not hire a “Community Expert” (to use Adobe’s term for a select band of several hundred of the top-notch developers / designers in each product user base)? Part of the problem is our level of involvement in the community – we attend and speak at a lot of conferences, we seem to spend a huge amount of time blogging, answering posts on mailing lists, writing open source software and twittering. Given all that, how can we possibly have time for a full-time job? The conferences alone are a huge issue for many companies. I’ve had interviews where one of the first questions out of my prospective employer’s mouth is “do you expect to continue attending several conferences a year if we hire you?”. I’ve also actually been asked “do you really have time for a full-time job with all the community work you do?”.
There’s also the aspect of “fit” with the team. If the company is looking for even a senior level developer to work in a team, they probably want someone who will work happily with their peers and code like a demon. Companies are wary of “Community Experts” because they fear those folks will want to change things, to “educate” the other developers, to introduce “new” technology and processes, to agitate for training and conference attendance. Heck, such outspoken people might even challenge management itself in trying to “improve” the way a company’s software gets built! That can definitely work against the more outspoken members of our community.
So, if you have thoughts on this subject, drop your thoughts on Michael’s blog!