Of the hours I’ve been awake over the last couple of days, I’ve spent about 15 of them reading resumes and applications for the current Engadget/AOL Tech front end web developer position. I’d like to share some advice regarding applying for jobs.

  • If you’re going to send out a pre-fab application email with customizable fields, make sure you fill them in using the same font.
  • Include a resume if the posting requested it. Don’t ask permission to send it.
    • Customize (or at least supplement) your resume. If you’re going to link to a web resume, it’s awesome if you make it a unique url tailored to the job you’re applying for.
    • Don’t list 10-year-old, deprecated technologies under your current skills. Your awards in COBOL programming are actually a turnoff when listed under skills instead of a achievements.
    • Have a skills section. Your job as manager of a restaurant franchise location is less interesting to me than your current capabilities.
    • Put that skills section at the top. You know, before your extra-curricular activities.
    • Make your resume a well-formatted PDF, not a DOCX file1.
    • If you don’t know how to make a PDF pretty, use a template.
    • if you happen to be applying to a position I’m handling the interviews for, go ahead and include that Markdown version you generated the beautiful PDF from. Extra points to that guy.
  • Your resume is not your first impression. The email you send it in is.
    • Spell things correctly.
    • Don’t use abbreviations for words you would normally spell out.
    • Dnt tlk 2 me like yr txt peeps. Evr.
    • Respond to the job requirements that were posted, not what you think they should be.
  • If the job posting has a set list of skill requirements, it should probably be noted in your resume or cover letter that you have those skills, or why you think your similar-but-different skill is relevant.
  • If it’s a tech job, link your GitHub account.
  • Have a GitHub account.

Thank you for your time, we’ll be in touch.

  1. I have been informed that many job postings require a DOC file, so take this with a grain of salt. I personally hate loading up Word repeatedly, and Quick Look and Google Docs both tend to wreak havoc on certain formatting, so the applicant ends up looking bad for no good reason. A PDF lets one control the formatting and presentation on any platform. In the end, though, it sounds like DOC/X is a more accepted solution. See how much I know?