Getting a Flash Dev Job in NYC (Part 3)

Part 3 is has some of extra lessons that I learned from the other aspects of job hunting. If you have questions about my experiences not answered in the other posts, leave a comment and I’ll make one last post answering any lingering questions that I have answers to.

When to Look for a Job
It’s tough to look for a job during the holidays. If you are job hunting during November and December, don’t get discouraged if potential employers don’t contact you, even if it says that they’re hiring on their website. Chances are that they are busy wrapping up projects by the end of the year and taking care of other year-end business, which is good news for you. At that point a lot of companies are more aware of their budget and amount of work that they’ll have for the upcoming year, so if they’re looking for more people, they’ll do it once the holidays are over. Just keep sending in your resume. I’ve noticed that, especially this past year, that a ton of companies were hiring in January and February. That’s not to say that you can’t find a job throughout the year, but if you’re more of a newbie, just try to get in there before the college grads sneak in there and steal your potential job for less money.

The Cover Letter
This is usually just the email that you write when applying, but a few times, I’ve been asked for a separate letter. In that case, I made the email shorter than usual. Overall, make your cover letter short, but not too short and more importantly, to-the-point. Please don’t have misspellings or grammatical errors. I’ve done it and as a result, there was no result. I didn’t hear a thing. I’ve also seen cover letters that have had misspellings and disregarded them (it just makes the person sound stupid). This goes for everything that you show curing this process including code samples.

Code Samples
The biggest question I had when I started interviewing was what to provide when the interviewer asked for code samples. Every company has done one of the following:

  • Given a code sample test
  • Requested code samples before the interview
  • Requested code samples with the cover letter
  • Requested code samples after the interview

One thing I was surprised about was that I’ve never had to walk through my code with them. If anything, I made sure that there was some kind of explanation about what the code does, even if it’s partial or theoretical. Another thing that threw me off-guard was having to provide “dirty” code along with “clean” code. This was to show what my thinking process was when having to do quick tasks and prototypes.
As mentioned above, it’s important to make sure your spelling isn’t off in your code samples. They also want to make sure that function and variable names make sense and that you use comment appropriately.
On the other hand, you might not be asked to send code samples at all. If that happens, don’t fret. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not interested, just that they do things differently.

This is usually the first opportunity, besides the intro/cover letter, to show the potential employer what you’re all about, so don’t mess around. I approached my portfolio site as a portfolio piece in itself as a functional piece that has a specific function, to show off your work and to show who you are. So I think the best way to go about it is to make the work the main attraction. It’s fine to have an “about” section, but the work should be the first thing they see. Also, the navigation should be straightforward enough to get to and have a short load time.

Rejecting a job
If your ever in the oddly fortunate position of turning a job down, its good to do it in a way that keeps the option of working together in tact for the future. It shouldn’t have to be said, but just be polite and let them know that you’re sorry to turn them down, but another opportunity came about. People get it, just don’t be a dick.

If you missed it, Check out Part 1 and Part 2 to for tips on getting the interview. Part 3 will about other random aspects of flash dev job hunting such as what to put together for Code Samples and rejecting a job offer. If you have any questions or anything to add, let me know in the comments below. Good luck. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Greg Kepler is an interactive developer at the Barbarian Group. He started as a design student graduating from RIT with a degree in New Media Design and Imaging in 2004 and fell in love with Flash. He worked for 4 years as a designer, developer, and interactive studio manager at Iomedia and moved on to the Barbarian Group in 2010 as an interactive developer where he tries to get his hands dirty with whatever technologies he can.