Article written by Brett Miller
Times have changed. In the past most software development initiatives were staffed in-house through a combination of HR pre-qualification structures and a regimen of employee orientation procedures. Both proved to be relatively costly and time consuming. Today many companies have committed to the idea of utilizing temporary contract based skill sets, thus lowering their projected long term expenditures. In fact, the practice has become so ingrained across the business landscape it is now considered more of a norm, than an exception.
IT Job Board Specifics
Job board listings contain detailed qualification requirements for contract positions that need to be filled. Responses are sought that outline work history, portfolios, technical qualifications, requested hourly rate, and more. Even exclusions are generally listed (as examples): no companies, local candidates only, no staffing agencies, and no offshore applicants.
Job board postings are an attempt to crystallize the wants and needs of the development initiative. It is an attempt to clarify which candidates will be considered and which ones will not. Theoretically only the most qualified candidates will apply and the sorting process will have been made a function of the posting itself.
Email Resume Blasts
Unfortunately, in actual practice, nothing could be further from the truth. The search method most used by respondents is to look for certain key words or phrases in a posting … then send out email responses and resumes en masse. Typically the details and specifics of the listing are completely ignored. Worse, the exact same template of information usually goes out to all listings, potentially hundreds of jobs, regardless of the pre-requisites. From the respondents point of view the quantity of responses sent is far more important than the quality. Believe it or not they actually think the sorting process will somehow miraculously float their resume to the top of the “most desirable candidate” list.
Internet job boards like those from craigslist.org, monster.com, careerbuilder.com, dice.com are all familiar with these issues. They know that a large volume of responses puts employers at a disadvantage and potentially masks the most viable candidates deep in an inbox full of unrelated resumes that would never be considered anyway.
If you have been doing what was described above … Stop! Resume blasts are a very poor way of getting the attention of hiring managers. They really don’t like being bombarded … and some have a long term memory that could come back to haunt you.
Software Companies Apply Too
Even custom software development companies get into the application process too. It is an attempt to convert a freelance position into a client for their company. If you represent a software development company, the least you can do is explain why a company would handle the project better than an individual.
Software Job Application Suggestions
To greatly increase the chances of landing a project, Job Respondents need to …
- Read the full details of the project.
- Write a succinct email (cover letter) tailored for each specific job.
- Explain why you are right candidate, differentiate yourself from competition.
- Ask some detailed questions (it shows curiosity and interest).
- Modify the resume to highlight applicable skills.
- Match the language style of the listing.
- Have a stronger writer review your response to ensure quality and clarity.
As far as the exclusions: If you do fall in the exclusion category (like your not local) and you still want to apply, make it clear why you feel you should be considered. Similarly, if you aren’t going to send some request information (like references) be sure to indicate why.
Software Development Project
Make no mistake; hiring managers know who is applying “specifically” and who is “blasting”. If you are serious about a specific contract and believe you could make an important contribution … take the time to read the listings thoroughly … take the time to respond in a professional manner. Your enthusiasm and sincerity will get you noticed and may just be the key to landing the project.
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