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Simple Tips For Repsonding To A Web Developer Job Posting

20 Dec 2009 . category: blog . Comments
#Drupal #Freelance


I was recently tasked with hiring a web developer for a redesign of http://www.workxpress.com. I was surprised at the number of poor quality responses I received. The original post can be found at http://drupal.org/node/602292. Looking back, I should have included more details in my post, but that still doesn’t excuse the poor quality of some of these emails.

I have taken examples from many of the emails that I have received for us to analyze. Names and URLs have been changed to protect the identities of the individuals. So, without further ado, I present you with some simple tips when responding to a web developer job post.

1. Use a professional email address

I don’t think a lot of people realize how important their email address can be. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, but suffice it to say that you will not get taken seriously replying to a job post using an email like awesomejedi@yahoo.com. Check out the Men With Pens post Is Your Email Address Losing You Clients? for more on this subject.

2. Use a professional yet personal greeting

The greeting is the first thing in your email to be read. I think everybody knows this, but not everybody seems to think about their greeting. So what makes a greeting professional yet personal? Professional is easy, avoid using words you wouldn’t use when meeting an interviewer for the first time (such as “Hey”). Personal is easy as well, just use the persons name. For example, a greeting like “James” or “Dear James” would suffice. The worst offender I received had to be “hi and thanks-“.

3. Use proper capitalization

We all know not to type in all caps, but all lowercase doesn’t send the right message either. Make sure you capitalize the first letter in names and the first word of each sentence. See below for some examples of poor capitalization. I find the second example to be curious, as he capitalized the supported browsers, but nothing else.

Example 1:

saw your post-
perhaps i can provide the service you need

i am a drupal samurai for hire
based in buffalo, new york usa

Example 2:

output will be drupal theme, valid html/css, major browser compatibility (IE,FF,Safari). additional sub template add $75

4. Add some descriptions to your examples

Including example sites in your response is always a good idea. When providing examples, give some details on each. Example 3 below shows a poor presentation of sites you have worked on. Example 4 shows a much better presentation that includes descriptions of what the web developer did on each.

Example 3:

http://www.example.com (usa, media)
http://www.foo.com (usa. media)
http://www.bar.co.uk (project services, uk)
http://www.baz.ca/web (infotech, canada)

Example 4:

http://www.example.com - I project managed and/or wrote the HTML and CSS for every site in this portfolio with the exception of Foo, Bar, and Baz. Some of the links in the portfolio there are broken, but can be fixed by replacing ‘ex4’ with ‘ex4mediagroup’ in the URL; the company no longer does business under that name so I don’t think they’re maintaining it anymore.

http://www.foo.com and http://www.foo.com/smarty/templates/default/styles.css

  • This is one of the sites that I wrote the HTML and CSS for. This site and the others in this portfolio were built on an in-house CMS using the Smarty templating system.

http://www.bar.co.uk - I worked in some degree with several of the projects in the portfolio at Foo, however the greatest involvement I had was with specific projects that are still in progress or not in the portfolio.

http://www.baz.ca/web - This was the largest project we worked with while I was at Foo, and I both project managed it through most of it’s duration and did much of the Drupal configuration, including extensive work with views and Ubercart.

5. Use complete sentences

This is another no brainier, or so I thought. Use complete sentences with proper punctuation. Run on sentences and simple three word phrases don’t look very professional. The following example could have easily been several sentences and looked much more professional.

Example 5:

I went through your post , i am drupal developer. I am good hand in css. I done following project

6. Use correct grammar

While I understand English is not everyones first language, you should have a firm understanding of grammar before responding in any language. If I don’t feel that I will be able to communicate with you, I’m not likely to hire you. The following three examples clearly demonstrate a lack of proper grammar.

I am John who have experiences in designing and developing drupal websites for national as well as international clients. I saw your post at drupal form and would like know more about the job.

Example 7:

We are Foo Bar, Inc. located in Redwood City, CA. We experience designing and redesigning Drupal based sites

Example 8:

I had a chance to look at your requirement about ,Hireing a drupal developer to complete your requirement ,We could be of great help to you.

Your turn

What are your thoughts on some of these tips? Do you have any other advice for those replying to a job post? Please share you thoughts in the comments below.


James Armes is a software engineer and open source enthusiast from central Pennsylvania.