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Career Meetup

career meetup

Jobs, resumes, interviewing and other career-related topics highlighted the September meeting of the Des Moines Web Geeks. Paragon Recruiter Melody Maxted and Business Development Director Mark Craiger joined Ben Lors from John Deere ISG as panelists at the event.

They offered their insight and experiences related to hiring and later reviewed resumes of the members in attendance to offer advice. Here are some notes from the discussion:

Communication skills

They are as important, if not more important, than technical skills. In Ben's case, he's looking for people who will be a good cultural fit. John Deere ISG is an Agile shop and the environment is wide-open and highly collaborative. Not everyone can thrive in that style of workplace.

Your profile

Hiring managers are looking beyond your resume. They'll look for you on GitHub and search the web for your portfolio. Are you involved in a group like the Des Moines Web Geeks? That carries weight because it shows you are passionate about your craft.

career meetup


Also come with questions. All panelist also agreed that a successful interview is one where the candidate is asking questions—“What do you expect of me as a leader?” “What is the environment like?” “What are the goals for your team?” etc.

At the end of the interview, ask for the job. As Mark also put it, make sure they know you are very interested in the position and want to work for them. They'll let you know their next steps.

Cover letters

Really no need for those. Paragon recruiters represent the candidate and write up a profile for each person they submit. Ben says they have little impact when he screens a candidate.

The "thank you note."

Mark and Melody both recommend sending a hand-written thank you note to the interviewer. It's not a common practice and is appreciated. If Ben interviews you, chances are he won't see your note for a couple of months because that's how often he checks his mail. He says an email is just fine.


As one attendee remarked, Des Moines is a small town when it comes to the IT crowd. Being active in the tech community helps you with your street cred when it comes to advancing in your career. People at the company you want to work for may be aware of you or know you based on your activity and they can be allies.


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