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Re: [hackers-il] My Cover Letter for Jobs

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  • Shlomi Fish
    ... Yes, my phrasing was similar to this. ... Thanks! ... Right. ... You are right of course. ... That would be a good idea. ... Hmmm.. that s only four times
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 16 7:45 AM
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      On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 17:07, Ori Idan wrote:
      > The only thing I can say about this letter is that it is too long...
      > I tried reading it as I would read it if I was looking for a programmer
      > which I did many times
      > in the past so I have a lot of experience seating at the other side of
      > the table... :-)
      >
      > You are right that you should put modesty aside when writing such
      > letters but not too much.

      Yes, my phrasing was similar to this.

      > Your letter I think is good.

      Thanks!

      > But...
      > Try to think as if you are a team leader looking for a new programmer.
      > You get about 10 mails a day only from programmers (I even got 50 a day
      > few years ago)
      > You are very busy so I assume you wouldn't have read such a long letter.

      Right.

      > The first 5 lines should give the reader an idea what you are looking
      > for and thus he/she will know if it worth a while reading it.

      You are right of course.

      > Also keep in mind that in many cases your mail gets to an HR
      > lady/gentleman an HR person
      > only knows keywords such as PERL, QA, Linux, BSD etc.
      > So for example if I am looking to work as a Kernel space Linux
      > programmer I would write:
      >
      > "I am looking for a job as a Linux kernel programmer, I am an experience
      > programmer in
      > C/C++ Perl, Assembly, I have written several device drivers for use in
      > analog measuremnt systems, in addition I have help bringing up Linux on
      > various embedded based on x86 and PPC."
      >

      That would be a good idea.

      >
      > These where 3 lines that can give a little idea who the guy is, after
      > that a little more details should come such as Open Source projects you
      > are contributing too etc.
      > I would limit myself to up to 20 lines.

      Hmmm.. that's only four times the opening paragraph. But I think I can manage.
      I'll see what I'm going to do.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      --

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

      Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
    • Tal Rotbart
      Hey Shlomi, Firstly, take note that HR departments are getting SOOO many fucking CVs in the eMail and Fax that they only look at the CVs for about 5 seconds
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 16 11:03 AM
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        Hey Shlomi,

        Firstly, take note that HR departments are getting SOOO many fucking
        CVs in the eMail and Fax that they only look at the CVs for about 5
        seconds before deciding if to discard them (the quick reject pile) or
        keep them in the processing pile.

        Secondly, you have a much better chance of your CV being viewed by
        sending it as a Fax and not as an eMail. I've seen my former
        employer's HR department, and I know what happens to a CV when it
        takes just a tad too long to load in Word. i.e. "Whoops, eMail
        accidently deleted. Oh well, the Internet is so unreliable."

        Thirdly, make sure your cover letter is short, printed in large fonts
        and contains upper case versions of the buzz-words relevant to the
        position.

        Good luck with the job!

        Tal

        On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 15:33:41 +0300, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
        > Hi!
        >
        > Recently, a very attractive job offer came into my attention. I decided that I
        > really want it, and so took the time to write a nice cover letter about
        > myself to send with the E-mail containing the Resume/s. I'd like to get your
        > comments about it: what I should add? What I should remove? What I should
        > edit? Note that it is directed at a certain type of job, which I'd like to
        > work at.
        >
        > Here it is:
        >
        > <<<
        > I am a very experienced programmer, who's been programming since 1987 (when I
        > was 10 years) old. Throughout the time I've dabbled with DOS, Windows-16,
        > Win32, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris. Before enrolling in the Technion, I
        > worked in three workplaces, all very different and rewarding. (details about
        > that in my C.V.). I worked in one Win3.11 environment, one mixed UNIX and
        > Win95 one, and one Win95/98, and have plenty of experience in Windows
        > development. I have graduated from the Technion in Electrical Engineering
        > (cum laude) recently and am now looking for a job.
        >
        > I am a very active user, developer, writer, advocate and activist of
        > open-source technologies. My most successful individual project so far has
        > been Freecell Solver, which is an ANSI C library for solving games of
        > Freecell and other variants of Card Solitaire. Throughout its programming I
        > learned a lot about C programming, optimization, data-structures and
        > complexity, algorithms, user-interface design, GNU Autoconf/Automake/Libtool,
        > refactoring. As a result, I am much less dumber than I was when I started
        > it. ;-)
        >
        > I also developed other, more minor, but still useful, projects. Lately I've
        > been contributing to large-scale international projects which I found
        > important. I wrote some patches to Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/)
        > and the GIMP, and also made the Perl 5 documentation more user-friendly.
        > Aside from that there's also a lot of added experience of fixing simple bugs,
        > which I ran into, or writing programs for my own use. I like to code for fun.
        >
        > I'm actively using Mandrake Linux 10.0 at home, and upgrade it whenever a new
        > stable version comes out. I also selectively upgrade packages or programs
        > from RPM or SRPM or from source. Many times, I stayed on the bleeding edge of
        > many programs. (I'm using it to write this E-mail as I speak)
        >
        > As a contributor of documentation, I started several popular web-sites:
        > http://better-scm.berlios.de/
        > http://perl-begin.berlios.de/
        >
        > and gave various presentations to various local clubs:
        >
        > http://vipe.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/lecture/
        >
        > As an activist, I am an active member of many online mailing lists and forums,
        > a registered Member of Hamakor, the Israeli NPO for Free Software and Open
        > Source Code, and formed several mailing lists of my own.
        >
        > As an advocate, I recomendded using various software or technologies to
        > friends and acquaintances, helped them learn or debug them, and also wrote
        > various essays and documents about open-source.
        >
        > More information about all this is accessible from my homepage:
        >
        > http://shlomif.il.eu.org/
        > >>>
        >
        > Please respond to the list (I won't be offended). If this seems like a
        > hyperbole to you, you should note that modesty is one quality that you should
        > temporarily weaken when writing a cover letter.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Shlomi Fish
        >
        > --
        >
        > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
        > Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/
        >
        > Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        --
        /************************************************

        Tal 'redbeard' Rotbart
        Software Wizard

        eMail: redbeard of gmail dot com
        Tel: +972-2-671-6178
        Mobile: +972-52-896-5025

        Snail mail:
        Klozner 7/2
        Jerusalem 93388
        ISRAEL

        ************************************************/
      • Arik Baratz
        ... [rest deleted] Hi Shlomi, all Take a look at: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ResumeRead.html (Yes I know you probably read it, Shlomi, just in case
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 16 1:55 PM
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          On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 15:33:41 +0300, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:

          > I am a very experienced programmer, who's been programming since 1987 (when I
          [rest deleted]

          Hi Shlomi, all

          Take a look at:

          http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ResumeRead.html

          (Yes I know you probably read it, Shlomi, just in case someone wants
          to refer to it)

          I think your cover page is way too long. Shorten every paragraph to
          one sentence and you'll do fine. If I had to read such a cover page
          I'd just skip it and flip ahead to the resume.

          >>>draft below

          Dear x,

          I am a very experienced programmer, since 1987. I had a chance to work
          in many, diverse environments. I have graduated from the Technion in
          Electrical Engineering (cum laude) recently and am now looking for a
          job.

          I am a very active user, developer, writer, advocate and activist of
          open-source technologies, and I have develped small to medium-sized
          projects from scratch. Lately I've been contributing to large-scale
          international projects which I found important, like Subversion, GIMP
          and Perl 5's documentation. I've given several presentations in
          various local clubs, and I'm active in many online lists and forums,
          as well as a member of Hamakor.

          I use Linux at home, and I like to code for fun.

          More information about myself, code and documentation I've written,
          links to project sites I have created and my lecture notes are
          accesssible from my homepage:

          http://shlomif.il.eu.org/
          >>>end of draft

          -- Arik
        • Shlomi Fish
          ... I read it yes. ... Hi Arik! Thanks for writing the revised cover letter for me. (:-)) I think I can use it as a basis with some modifications. Thanks
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 16 9:34 PM
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            On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 23:55, Arik Baratz wrote:
            > On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 15:33:41 +0300, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
            > > I am a very experienced programmer, who's been programming since 1987
            > > (when I
            >
            > [rest deleted]
            >
            > Hi Shlomi, all
            >
            > Take a look at:
            >
            > http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ResumeRead.html
            >
            > (Yes I know you probably read it, Shlomi, just in case someone wants
            > to refer to it)
            >

            I read it yes.

            > I think your cover page is way too long. Shorten every paragraph to
            > one sentence and you'll do fine. If I had to read such a cover page
            > I'd just skip it and flip ahead to the resume.
            >

            Hi Arik! Thanks for writing the revised cover letter for me. (:-)) I think I
            can use it as a basis with some modifications.

            Thanks again!

            [snipped]

            Regards,

            Shlomi Fish

            --

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

            Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
          • Shlomi Fish
            ... Right. ... Hmmm... faxes are Evil (with a capital E). I haven t configured the modem in my Linux workstation yet. (and am not sure I can because it may be
            Message 5 of 16 , Aug 16 9:38 PM
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              On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 21:03, Tal Rotbart wrote:
              > Hey Shlomi,
              >
              > Firstly, take note that HR departments are getting SOOO many fucking
              > CVs in the eMail and Fax that they only look at the CVs for about 5
              > seconds before deciding if to discard them (the quick reject pile) or
              > keep them in the processing pile.
              >

              Right.

              > Secondly, you have a much better chance of your CV being viewed by
              > sending it as a Fax and not as an eMail.

              Hmmm... faxes are Evil (with a capital E). I haven't configured the modem in
              my Linux workstation yet. (and am not sure I can because it may be a
              winmodem) A service like fixfax.co.il would be ideal, because then I can send
              the faxes through the Internet. Hopefully, my father will let me register.
              Recently, he has been overly cheap, trying to save on computer resources. He
              probably haven't read the Joel Test. ("do you have the best equipment money
              can buy?")

              > I've seen my former
              > employer's HR department, and I know what happens to a CV when it
              > takes just a tad too long to load in Word. i.e. "Whoops, eMail
              > accidently deleted. Oh well, the Internet is so unreliable."
              >

              My CV is very short, with very little formatting, and loads in a snap. There's
              also a short PDF.

              > Thirdly, make sure your cover letter is short, printed in large fonts
              > and contains upper case versions of the buzz-words relevant to the
              > position.
              >

              Good suggestion.

              > Good luck with the job!
              >

              Thanks!

              Regards,

              Shlomi Fish

              --

              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
              Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

              Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
            • Nadav Har'El
              ... If I was your father, I wouldn t let you register to fixfax. Fixfax are slimy spammers... -- Nadav Har El | Tuesday, Aug 17
              Message 6 of 16 , Aug 17 4:08 AM
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                On Tue, Aug 17, 2004, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] My Cover Letter for Jobs":
                > winmodem) A service like fixfax.co.il would be ideal, because then I can send
                > the faxes through the Internet. Hopefully, my father will let me register.

                If I was your father, I wouldn't let you register to fixfax. Fixfax are slimy
                spammers...


                --
                Nadav Har'El | Tuesday, Aug 17 2004, 30 Av 5764
                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |If you're looking for a helping hand,
                http://nadav.harel.org.il |look first at the end of your arm.
              • Evgeny Gesin
                Not all employers allow employees to share knowledge in free communities or spend paid time in activities not relative to the company s business. If so, you
                Message 7 of 16 , Aug 17 4:46 AM
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                  Not all employers allow employees to share knowledge in free
                  communities or spend paid time in activities not relative to the
                  company's business. If so, you may need to delete from the letter
                  about free contributions and funny stuff.

                  Also, unless you want to apply for a job in startup or similar
                  risk-unclear incubator, you can consider to remove text about your
                  children programming age.

                  That's first what come in mind.
                  I think this is my first post here. Hello Tal.. :)

                  Evgeny Gesin
                  Javadesk Owner
                • Shlomi Fish
                  ... The thing is: I don t want to be employed at such places. Workplaces that are secretive and don t allow people to tell some elementary things about what
                  Message 8 of 16 , Aug 17 5:15 AM
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                    On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 14:46, Evgeny Gesin wrote:
                    > Not all employers allow employees to share knowledge in free
                    > communities or spend paid time in activities not relative to the
                    > company's business. If so, you may need to delete from the letter
                    > about free contributions and funny stuff.
                    >

                    The thing is: I don't want to be employed at such places. Workplaces that are
                    secretive and don't allow people to tell some elementary things about what
                    they are doing or did at their workplace, are not good for me, because I like
                    to tell what I did and what I learned.

                    Workplaces that frown upon their workers being active in the free software
                    community are also not my ideal workplace. I am proud of being a free
                    software hacker, and also do not want to isolate myself from the community
                    completely because of a job. I'm not saying I'm going to spend all the time
                    in my job hacking on open-source code, but I want to be able to do it when I
                    get home.

                    Many workplaces are impressed by involvement in the community. These are the
                    workplaces I'd like to be in. While I may be able to tolerate working on
                    Windows, or hacking on proprietary, marketplace software, I certainly don't
                    want my open-source past and present to be frowned upon.

                    For other ideas like this, refer to:

                    http://www.paulgraham.com/hp.html

                    > Also, unless you want to apply for a job in startup or similar
                    > risk-unclear incubator, you can consider to remove text about your
                    > children programming age.
                    >

                    That may be true. Still, I did program starting at the age of 10. But of
                    course, it's meaningless, because many good programmers started much later.
                    My friend and I once discussed the fact that some programmers are better
                    after 1 year of experience, than many (or most?) are after 10.

                    In one of the software houses I worked in before I enrolled in the Technion
                    (the last one, actually), I was considered the resident jack-of-all-trades,
                    because I knew about so many different computer technologies. We were
                    developing a soundcard-turned-into-software-based-modem and so it proved very
                    helpful. I really enjoyed working there.

                    Regards,

                    Shlomi Fish

                    --

                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                    Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

                    Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
                  • Omer Zak
                    ... Tsk tsk... Before cellular phones and the Internet took over, FAXes were the principal method used by the deaf in Israel for utilizing the phone network
                    Message 9 of 16 , Aug 17 10:36 AM
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                      Shlomi Fish wrote:
                      > Hmmm... faxes are Evil (with a capital E).

                      Tsk tsk...

                      Before cellular phones and the Internet took over, FAXes were the
                      principal method used by the deaf in Israel for utilizing the phone
                      network for communications. The percentage of FAX ownership among the
                      deaf is still much higher than the percentage in the general population.

                      --- Omer
                      My own blog is at http://www.livejournal.com/users/tddpirate/

                      My opinions, as expressed in this E-mail message, are mine alone.
                      They do not represent the official policy of any organization with which
                      I may be affiliated in any way.
                      WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
                    • Shlomi Fish
                      ... Well, I was referring to faxes _now_, when there s already E-mail. E-mail, being text and all, is more accessible, more user-friendly and less costy than
                      Message 10 of 16 , Aug 17 12:43 PM
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                        On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 20:36, Omer Zak wrote:
                        > Shlomi Fish wrote:
                        > > Hmmm... faxes are Evil (with a capital E).
                        >
                        > Tsk tsk...
                        >
                        > Before cellular phones and the Internet took over, FAXes were the
                        > principal method used by the deaf in Israel for utilizing the phone
                        > network for communications. The percentage of FAX ownership among the
                        > deaf is still much higher than the percentage in the general population.
                        >

                        Well, I was referring to faxes _now_, when there's already E-mail. E-mail,
                        being text and all, is more accessible, more user-friendly and less costy
                        than Faxes. E-mail can be read by everyone, even people who are both deaf and
                        blind. E-mail can also be saved for later use, while faxes are a mess to
                        manage. And you can always scan images and send them as attachments. I think
                        it's one case where one technology has mostly superceded the other one. I
                        could prove to be wrong, and faxes may not diminish in significance or find a
                        newfound age. Or there could be Internet faxes, that send it over the
                        Internet.

                        Historically, faxes were very nice. But historically horses were an efficient
                        means of transportation, and people wrote on clay tablets, papyrus and hide,
                        and food had to be dehydrated to be preserved. But to quote Ovid:

                        <<<
                        Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.
                        >>>

                        And Ovid lived from 43 B.C. - 18 A.D., so what he says is much more truer in
                        2004.

                        Regards,

                        Shlomi Fish

                        --

                        ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                        Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

                        Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
                      • Tal Rotbart
                        [snipped] ... Hey Evgeny, welcome to Hackers-IL. Enjoy, Tal -- /************************************************ Tal redbeard Rotbart Software Wizard eMail:
                        Message 11 of 16 , Aug 17 2:05 PM
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                          [snipped]
                          > I think this is my first post here. Hello Tal.. :)
                          Hey Evgeny, welcome to Hackers-IL.

                          Enjoy,
                          Tal

                          --
                          /************************************************

                          Tal 'redbeard' Rotbart
                          Software Wizard

                          eMail: redbeard of gmail dot com
                          Tel: +972-2-671-6178
                          Mobile: +972-52-896-5025

                          Snail mail:
                          Klozner 7/2
                          Jerusalem 93388
                          ISRAEL

                          ************************************************/
                        • Omer Zak
                          Hello Shlomi, I don t remember seeing references to horse&buggy or clay tablets as evil . Granted, they were obsoleted by other technologies, but this didn t
                          Message 12 of 16 , Aug 18 2:09 AM
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                            Hello Shlomi,
                            I don't remember seeing references to horse&buggy or clay tablets as "evil".
                            Granted, they were obsoleted by other technologies, but this didn't make
                            them "evil".
                            --- Omer

                            Shlomi Fish wrote:
                            > On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 20:36, Omer Zak wrote:
                            >
                            >>Shlomi Fish wrote:
                            >>
                            >>>Hmmm... faxes are Evil (with a capital E).
                            >>
                            >>Tsk tsk...
                            >>
                            >>Before cellular phones and the Internet took over, FAXes were the
                            >>principal method used by the deaf in Israel for utilizing the phone
                            >>network for communications. The percentage of FAX ownership among the
                            >>deaf is still much higher than the percentage in the general population.
                            >>
                            >
                            >
                            > Well, I was referring to faxes _now_, when there's already E-mail. E-mail,
                            > being text and all, is more accessible, more user-friendly and less costy
                            > than Faxes. E-mail can be read by everyone, even people who are both deaf and
                            > blind. E-mail can also be saved for later use, while faxes are a mess to
                            > manage. And you can always scan images and send them as attachments. I think
                            > it's one case where one technology has mostly superceded the other one. I
                            > could prove to be wrong, and faxes may not diminish in significance or find a
                            > newfound age. Or there could be Internet faxes, that send it over the
                            > Internet.
                            >
                            > Historically, faxes were very nice. But historically horses were an efficient
                            > means of transportation, and people wrote on clay tablets, papyrus and hide,
                            > and food had to be dehydrated to be preserved. But to quote Ovid:
                            >
                            > <<<
                            > Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.
                            >
                            >
                            > And Ovid lived from 43 B.C. - 18 A.D., so what he says is much more truer in
                            > 2004.
                            >
                            > Regards,
                            >
                            > Shlomi Fish
                            >
                          • Shlomi Fish
                            ... Well, whatever. In any case, I think the people who lived in the transition between these technologies to something better did consider them as a
                            Message 13 of 16 , Aug 18 4:57 AM
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                              On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 12:09, Omer Zak wrote:
                              > Hello Shlomi,
                              > I don't remember seeing references to horse&buggy or clay tablets as
                              > "evil". Granted, they were obsoleted by other technologies, but this didn't
                              > make them "evil".

                              <sigh />

                              Well, whatever. In any case, I think the people who lived in the transition
                              between these technologies to something better did consider them as a thing
                              of a past.

                              Please don't take the word "Evil" as issued by hackers too seriously. What I
                              meant was just that it was superceded by something else. I think BASIC is
                              Evil and stupid, but having learned how to program in it, I still have fond
                              memories of it.

                              Regards,

                              Shlomi Fish

                              There is no IGLU Cabal! At the year 2450, all the IGLU Cabal were superceded
                              by something else. This has made the people of the year 2480 consider IGLU
                              Cabals as redundant and Evil.

                              --

                              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                              Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

                              Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
                            • Shlomi Fish
                              ... I second that. Welcome Evgeny! Regards, Shlomi Fish ... -- ... Shlomi Fish shlomif@iglu.org.il Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/ Knuth is not
                              Message 14 of 16 , Aug 18 5:13 AM
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                                On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 00:05, Tal Rotbart wrote:
                                > [snipped]
                                >
                                > > I think this is my first post here. Hello Tal.. :)
                                >
                                > Hey Evgeny, welcome to Hackers-IL.
                                >

                                I second that. Welcome Evgeny!

                                Regards,

                                Shlomi Fish

                                > Enjoy,
                                > Tal

                                --

                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                Homepage: http://shlomif.il.eu.org/

                                Knuth is not God! It took him two days to build the Roman Empire.
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