What Matters Most (Job Hunt Advice)
Out Of Date Warning
Languages change. Perspectives are different. Ideas move on. This article was published on March 29, 2009 which is more than two years ago. It may be out of date. You should verify that technical information in this article is still current before relying upon it for your own purposes.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to review a number of resumes and cover letters, both through my professional endeavors and because of inadvertent posts to the DC PHP list from people replying to job postings.
One thing that strikes me as odd is the number of people who send cover letters riddled with errors.
Im interested in applying for the position your advertising. I have 5 years experience developing applications. I attach a copy of my resume for your consideration.
Two things to note: first, this was made up, based on a common set of mistakes. Second, I’m presuming for the moment that the developer applying is a native English speaker and not someone from another country.
I’ve heard the argument that developers aren’t necessarily great writers, nor do they need to be. But I reject that argument for two reasons. First, email communications are critical to business and yes, though the message was communicated effectively, the message is still riddled with errors.
Second, poor English reflects on your programming abilities.
Programming languages are not that different from actual languages: each has a set of syntactical rules, a set of conventions, a set of best practices, and a way of doing things that’s specific to that language.
If you haven’t taken the time to learn how to communicate in your native language, what makes me think you’re going to be a capable programmer?
Developers, as you prepare cover letters and resumes, please read through them and have others do so, as well. Syntax is as important in English as it is in PHP; knowing the difference between your and you’re or there/their/they’re does matter, as does proper form in a formal letter (even if it’s being sent through email). Don’t jeopardize your chances by writing a crappy cover letter or resume.