My post on "Are there really ColdFusion jobs?" got a comment which was echoed by Sean Corfield on his blog (ColdFusion Jobs? Really?). It seems that I didn't answer my own question. In truth, I was using it as a jump off point but looking over the job attempts I've had recently, there are lessons to be learn in all of them. I'm not including things like my ongoing ColdFusion / SEO contract nor the emergency, server on fire calls I get. I'm only looking at the things I've actually sent my resume to:
- A mid term city contract - This is through a nice headhunter and is a waiting game. City contracts can take a long time, from the initial call for resumes to finally choosing someone to finally starting up the job. Advice: Learn patience
- Another city contract for some basic maintenance of a site with a few added features. The department was moving to .Net and wanted their current application to reflect some of the new features that would be in the final system. I was called in as a last minute, emergency resume by the same headhunter as above. When I was interviewed, the person must have been reading off of a script, and some of my responses were not the scripted, expected ones. In addition, I offered some advice for the server, trying to be helpful. I'm betting all of that lost me the contract. Advice: Learn when to shut up and just answer the questions simply. There are times when the interviewer expects open creativity and times when he expects set, standard responses. Know which time is which and control yourself.
- A perpetual request from an ecommerce company who really wants to pay the rate of a kid right out of college. I don't even bother sending my resume to them, especially as I know them and they always want to pay nothing, even for emergency contracts. Advice: Know when to walk away.
- A contract or two which I sent my resume into a few days after it was posted. Some really nice ones which I'm sure had been jumped all over in the first minute. Advice: you snooze, you lose.
- A contract which was mislabeled as being in NY but was actually in another state. The interview was quick and nice but the bottom line was that I would not move and the posting was in error. Advice: It's not your fault if the ad is wrong.
- One or two perpetual ads listed on multiple sites which are probably headhunters fishing for resumes. I bit. Advice: Sometimes an ad is just bait.
- Another ad or two on a site which required signing up and signing in. This is a bigger scam than the resume fishing. The more 'real' people that sign up to a site, the more that site can advertise as reaching. The site can also advertise as having X number of resumes on file. It's resume fishing plus. And I've never gotten a response from one of those types of ads. Advice: A scam is a scam is a scam.
There are also ads that I've seen which I have not pursued due to what I perceived as a lack of skill. I don't think I have enough .Net skill to take a ColdFusion to .Net transformation project. Of course, I'd be morally against such a contract unless I was in danger of losing a limb or the like. Just because a contract asks for every skill in the book doesn't mean you actually have to have them. Putting into your resume or cover letter that you are "familiar" with a language or technology may get you the job. You don't have to be an expert in everything. You just have to judge when a job will need familiarity and when it will need real knowledge. Advice: Know what you know well and what you know not so well.
Finally there have been a few ads that I didn't send a resume to but did contact about location. A New Jersey job right across the river from New York is reachable by public transportation. A job in the New Jersey Pine barrens is not. I just missed a job in Staten Island because I waited too long thinking it was not reachable. It was actually a lot closer than I thought. Advice: Know where things are.
Again, these are just my suggestions based on specific cases and I'm positive that there are sites out there with this advice and more. Now all I have to do is find the time to look for and read these sites. :)