By Molly Connolly
Over the years I’ve found myself in a position to both hire developers and help developers find good jobs. Since I talk to both developers who are looking for work and developers who are looking to fill FileMaker positions, I thought it might be helpful to share a list of things you could do to strengthen your own job applications.
Whether you are looking for a full-time position or work as a sub-contractor, including this information will increase your chances of getting hired and winning the salary you’re looking for.
If you have anything to add to this conversation or you’d like to submit a question, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts and develop these ideas in future posts.
Jobs in FileMaker:
5 Things to Help You Get Hired
1. Submit a sample file.
If your previous work is proprietary or was created as part of a team so you aren’t able to showcase your skills, then build a simple file that shows me that you can build something yourself. Your sample file tells potential employers much more about your skill set than your resume ever will. Show us:
- You have decent design skills. Submit sample file that uses a template; that lines up fields, has decent navigation and is easy to use.
- You have decent Quality Assurance skills: Check your tab order, don’t leave me hanging, and give me a user name and password that works.
- You know how to properly implement standards (I don’t care if you use anchor-buoy or not, I just want to know that you are consistent)
- You understand relational design: Build at least 3 tables in to your sample file. I’d love to see a few complicated join files
- The scripts and calculations you’ve included demonstrate that you know what you’re doing.
2. Get certified in the current version of FileMaker.
Certification is the path toward making more money and getting jobs quickly. Seeing Certification on a resume is a metric that makes it easier for companies to identify you as a viable candiate and typically qualifies you for a higher rate of compensation.
While Certification won’t demonstrate your development and consulting skills, it will be an indication of your commitment to learning and the time you’ve invested to study and take the exam.
I wouldn’t wait to submit your resume until you obtain or update your certification, I’d just put it on your “to do” list. Better yet, initiate and commit to the Certification process and include it in your cover letter as work in progress.
3. Focus your resume on FileMaker experience.
When I’m reviewing candidates for an open position I spend the most time looking at your sample file. But before I send candidates forward to the hiring manager I do make sure each candidate’s resume is a good match for the job description. Here’s a brief checklist of items to strengthen your CV:
- Make sure your resume has a focus on your FileMaker specific experience. Highlight your FileMaker experience either at the top of the page as a list of bullet points or in your cover letter.
- Go into detail about your skill set and project experience. If you’ve implemented a security system using LDAP or integrated using ESS, the hiring manager wants to know about that. Do you have consulting experience? Describe how you’ve analyzed, designed and implemented projects for your clients. Have you provided training and technical support? Tell us.
4. Write an honest cover letter.
Don’t beat around the bush! Tell me what you want. If you don’t want to be a technical lead because you prefer to put your head down and just code go ahead and say so. If you’re looking for work as a sub rather than a position as full-time employee, tell us how many hours you want. If you are great at technical support but want to manage projects and developers, put it out there. It’s helpful for me to get a picture of where you love spending your time so I can better refer you to the places where you can be the most successful.
5. Be realistic about [what the market will pay].
The company who owns the project ultimately assumes all the risk of the delivering the project to the client. Decide if it’s worth it to you to earn a lower rate because you can rely on someone else land the sale, sign the contract, manage the project and be accountable for any budget overruns or issues.
As a sub-contractor you’ll make $35-85/hour even though you may be billed out at $100-175/hour. Don’t assume all that extra cash is going into your employer’s pocket. Typical project profit margins are 20-30% in our industry. So before you set your sub-contract rate at $100/hour (which no one will pay), do your research on what it really takes to land and manage a project on your own. If you’re ready for the risk–there are plenty of resources to help you get there. In the meantime, I often encourage people to lower their rate to stay busy rather than waiting for the big fish to come in.
Looking for full-time work? You might find it helpful to review salary levels I put together in a previous blog post, “How Much Do FileMaker Developers Make?
If you want to spend time developing your technical, consulting, and project management skills, we spend a lot of time digging in to these topics in my JumpStartFM class.