Monday, January 29, 2001

Developer Career Tip #0034---Job Interview Practice

Developer Career Tips #0034

Job Interview Practice

A few weeks ago, one of my students was preparing for a job interview for a Visual Basic programming job, and asked me for some advice. I had some free time, and so I spent about a half hour with him conducting a simulated job interview. Last week I saw him again and he said that the interview I had conducted with him was right on the mark. This didn’t surprise me, as I've conducted many real interviews like that in my career. While I would love to be able to conduct these same simulated interviews with all of my students, time doesn't permit it. I recently came upon the next best thing---a web site that can help you prepare for that upcoming job interview called

This site features mostly free information, and includes mock interviews for a variety of jobs, interview tips, interview do's and don'ts, job interview questions and answers, and links to other good sites. I found this link on their site

to be particularly useful for first time IT job seekers. Most IT job seekers have the skills to get the job they're seeking--what they lack is the perspective of the 'big picture' that employers seek. This link can help prevent the typical derailment that occurs when a job interviewer asks the novice programmer about Systems Development--not programmer specific questions. For instance, describe the Systems Development Life Cycle (something most of them have never heard of), or discuss the role of the user in the development of a new Visual Basic application.

In the next few months or so, I hope to develop a list of questions that prospective Visual Basic programmers have been asked during a job interview. I welcome your contributions---if you'd like to contribute, please send me an email to

Monday, January 15, 2001

Developer Career Tip #0032---Finding a high-tech job---Part 3

Developer Career Tips #0032

Finding a high-tech job---Part 3

In my last tip, I listed some popular job-finding Web Sites, and I promised to discuss how to write a resume to post online--and the pros and cons of doing so.

There are probably as many resume-writing Web Sites as there are job-finding Web Sites, and they're all loaded with good advice---just search for resume+online in any search engine and you'll get dozens of sites. I can summarize, in one word, the advice that these sites will give you when writing your resume---keywords.

In the past, those writing resumes were advised to include lots of action verbs. Resume search engines aren't looking for verbs--they're looking for keywords to help match candidates with positions, and Keywords are generally nouns. You should load up your online resume with as many nouns as you reasonably can---but don't go to extremes as some of my students have. Remember, if the resume search engine matches you with a job position, a human being will ultimately read your resume--and it better make sense..

The pros of posting a resume online? They are countless. More and more companies are searching for, and finding their candidates, online. Any more, if you don't have a resume posted online with one of the major job-finding Web Sites, it's a tremendous opportunity lost.

The cons of posting a resume online? There are several.

First, if you currently have a job, and you post your resume on-line, there's nothing to prevent your resume from being seen by your current employer--and this can make things very uncomfortable for you to say the least. Always date your resume. If two years from now your current employer sees your resume online, you can always explain you posted it when you were at your former job.

Secondly, there have been stories about headhunters finding attractive resumes on-line, and marketing them to potential employers, hoping to cash in on a lucrative finder's fee. This practice can set up a big conflict of interest (through no fault of your own) if the resume search engine matches you up with an employer to whom your resume has been sent via a head hunter. It could even cost you a job. For that reason, include with your resume some wording that forbids unauthorized transmission of your resume by headhunters.

Monday, January 8, 2001

Developer Career Tip #0031---Finding a high-tech job---Part 2

Developer Career Tips #0031

Finding a high-tech job---Part 2

There are literally hundreds of job-finding Web Sites, and in this tip, I thought I would highlight several nationally known Web Sites that have good reputations. All of these sites allow you to post a resume and be notified when a job matching one you looking for is posted. ( may be the most recognized name on my list, and it's worth a look. The site is nicely organized, and boasts a list of nearly half a million posted jobs. permits you to post your resume on their site, and much more. The site has a bunch of job seeking material, ranging from articles on how find one, online chats with job seeking experts, tips on creating your resume, and something I think is extremely worthwhile, a virtual interview that allows you to practice 'interviewing' for a job, and even provides feedback on how well you did. (, like the more well-known, also has a large number of posted jobs, about a quarter of a million as of the writing of this tip. Its site is not as full featured as, although it does provide some job searching tips, and does permit you to post a resume. An interesting sister site you may wish to check out is, which is aimed at marketing those interested in finding freelance and contract work.

America's Job Bank ( claims to have 1.2 million jobs posted, with about half a million resumes available for viewing by prospective employers. Although this site has the most posted jobs of the sites I've reviewed, it's easily the most 'bare bones'. The U.S. Department of Labor developed this site in partnership with the states and private sector organizations. Anyone can search for jobs, but you'll need to register in order to get into the 'meatier' portions of the site, such as posting a resume. ( unlike the other sites I've reviewed concentrates solely on IT jobs, and currently lists over 100,000 high tech jobs. If you are looking for a job in IT, I would start with this full-featured site that has great links, and a bunch of worthwhile information.

In Part 3, I'll discuss how to write and post a resume online---and the pros and cons of doing so.

Monday, January 1, 2001

Developer Career Tip #0030---Finding a high-tech job---Part 1

Developer Career Tips #0030

Finding a high-tech job---Part 1

With the New Year upon us, I thought I would do some research on Job Searching strategies. I wasn't planning on starting with Internet-based Job Searching strategies, but then I came upon an article on ZDNet which cited a higher than expected success rate for job seekers who used the Internet to find a job. According to the article

just over 40% of job seekers who used the Internet to post their resume or retrieve job listings received interviews as a result. I think that's an outstanding rate of success, and one that surprises me a bit. The article went on to say that it's not only IT workers finding jobs via the Internet, but others job seekers as well. Surprisingly, the highest percentage of job seekers getting interviews is in the Human Resources area---most likely because they know best where to look and post their information on the web.

I'm always skeptical about claims such as this---as the particulars about the job seeker's situations are not noted in the survey. For instance, what were the respondent's years of experience? I've known beginner programmers with no work experience who have posted their resumes on the various search sites who haven't gotten a nibble.

Still, there's no doubt in my mind that finding a job via the Internet is a viable alternative to the more traditional methods of job searching such as scanning classified ads in newspapers or using an employment agency. Companies seeking qualified candidates find it a useful alternative as well.

In Part 2 of this article, I'll list and discuss the popular Job Search Web Sites, along with the pros and cons of posting your resume on a Job Search Site.