I have been applying online for quite a few front-end development positions, but so far only one company has called me in for an interview ( and it was because I reached out directly to the CEO). How did you get interviews? Did you network a lot or just applied online? Thank you for your advice!
Directly reaching out to people is key (or so I hear). If you’re sincere in your approach and your qualifications match the job description, it’s much better to get your resume in the hands of someone who will pay attention rather than sitting in a pile with everyone else posting from Indeed. The next time you find a job posting that interests you, go onto LinkedIn and try to find the hiring manager. Send them a friendly message directly, by email or on LinkedIn.
Relevant sections of my really long post about this a while ago:
Like lots of people, I started my job hunt by going on LinkedIn and Indeed and sent in an application and/or resume for every job that seemed to match my skills, my interests, or just the city I wanted to move to…
I didn’t keep track of numbers, but I’d say half to 75% never contacted me back or sent a form letter telling me the weren’t interested (sometimes only received months later). Thanks to the job offers I did get, I can look at these and know that it wasn’t because of a problem with me but to be honest every rejection seems like proof that I don’t belong in this industry and I should stop making a fool of myself and go back to working retail.
Some reasons why this happens
Sometimes it’s not even a “real” job posting.
Companies are required to post jobs externally for a certain amount of time. Often a hire is going to be made internally or they have already decided who they are going to give it to and the posting is just there for form’s sake.
Lost in the noise
The ease of clicking “Apply through LinkedIn,” etc. online means that an unmanageable number of applications come through for a lot of postings: qualified, unqualified, overqualified. Even if I was a great fit (maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t) I’m sure that sometimes I was just one of too many.
I didn’t win the filter bingo
The time of experts is expensive, so it’s pretty common for applications to go through non-expert filters first - automated, human, or both. Sometimes I didn’t have the right combination of keywords in my resume or profile.
They didn’t like what they saw
I’m sure that sometimes, for reasons I’ll never know, my application just didn’t appeal to someone. I try not to think about this one too much.
Get human contact
If a job posting includes any contact information (even a stock company signature block), use it. Submit your application through the website, sure, but then also send an email or call the recruiter who posted it. Talk about specifics of the job posting (“I was excited to see that this is for the education sector. I would love to be part of improving online learning tools. I actually am part of an amazing open source education platform called Free Code Camp”). Ask for more information. Include your resume but also hit the high points in your email (or conversation).
I agree about human contact. However, let’s think about it. If everyone started using human contact, it could annoy the contacted person. So my advice is: only contact directly on personal level if you feel the company really fit for you. So do your homework and research each company carefully.
Whether an in-house recruiter or a headhunter, this is probably someone whose fulltime job is finding new talent and working with applicants.
In this case, it should be fine. My advice was about contacting the more important person such as: director, manager, leader,…
Also, even the contacted person is fulltime responsible for it. The applicant should do some researches to see if the comapny is right for him/her before trying to contact directly. Otherwise, it might back fire in the future and make contacting directly even harder. This is for the goods of both parties.
Edited: btw, for me, I don’t consider contacting the HR is that much significant than sending online application. If I had to contact directly, I’d look for the manager or a current team member.
Yep, this exactly. Much better to find people at the company directly via LinkedIn or something!
Here’s my portfolio: https://codepen.io/cmtran/full/ZXPVJO/
Please give an honest critique so I know if I’m qualified for a junior front-end developer yet. Thank you !!!
Profile is a good start but needs a lot of work.
Ditch the pictures that you’re using for backgrounds. It makes the website look cluttered and hard to read. Some times less is more. It’s almost always a good idea to use a simple light colored or white background.
Get rid of the codepen boxes for your projects. It’s impossible to read code in a box that small and it looks really bad and difficult to read. Use thumbnails of screenshots of the projects instead and properly align them. Put them in a div and in a unordered list and make each project it’s own list element.
Having your email listed that large looks sloppy. Make a proper form and use something like https://formspree.io/ if you’re not capable of doing the backend functionality for the form submission on your own.
Get a better looking color scheme and fonts. Use sites like http://flatuicolors.com/ and https://www.materialpalette.com/ to find modern color combos that work well. Pick out 1 or 2 good looking fonts from Google fonts https://fonts.google.com/ and use them.
Center your picture and the info about yourself and use list-style-type: none to get rid of the bullet points.
Buy a cheap domain name and hosting and host your site there. If you don’t want to spend money look into using a Githug Pages site.
Get away from Codepen and start using a text editor like Atom, Sublime, or Brackets if you haven’t yet. Doing all your work on Codepen screams amateur.
I appreciate your detailed review . Thank you very much!!!
If a front-end dev role is your goal, based on your portfolio I’d say you still need to master some core skills:
Design / CSS
- I suggest you google portfolio websites to get an idea of the basics of good portfolio design. Also look at the designs and CSS of other campers’ projects.
- Check out this quick and fun interactive site to call your attention to the basics of design and details to pay attention to: http://jgthms.com/web-design-in-4-minutes/
- None of your projects display very strong grasp of CSS and layout. Try exercises suggested by this blog post [https://medium.freecodecamp.org/from-zero-to-front-end-hero-part-1-7d4f7f0bff02] to really practice recreating the polished look of professionally-designed websites down the very pixel. Try to recreate beautiful websites without looking at their CSS first.
- I think you should finish the Pomodoro Clock and Simon Game if you haven’t yet. Also consider trying to make the calculator without using “eval”.
- Consider making one of the projects using plain JS instead of jQuery.
- While there are plenty of stories to the contrary on the forums, I wouldn’t suggest anyone apply for a front-end position without going on to study one of the major front-end frameworks like React, Vue, or Angular. Having learning projects and creating your own twists on them is great to show off to companies you are applying to.
How to Land the Job
To answer your original question, I finished the FCC FE certf, then I studied React/Redux and made some of the usual learning projects with the course (Weather app, Todo app). Then I used what I had learned to design and build my own simple twist of an app with free APIs and React/Redux using github and heroku. Then I showed my resume with projects to my network of people I knew in tech companies. That first job will not be easy to get, so you need to really be polished and ready.
Get in touch with people, whatever way you prefer. I started working for startups a couple years ago so I knew loads of developers. My first dev job was a result of just a casual conversation. A friend mentioned that they hire juniors, I half-jokingly said that I’d love to apply, and off it went.
Talk to a lot of people but don’t be opportunistic. If you’re passionate you will be ready when the opportunity comes.
Thank you very much for your advice!!! I will try to polish all of these skills.
My 2 cents. TL;DR: skip to last section, believe I went a bit off topic at some point~
Hi!, I started my first front end job a month ago. It really came in a way I never expected, I had submitted my resume in a couple of sites (like local ones in my country, Mexico), and well, that didn’t go that well. I was considering to start learning .net and java despite what everyone says as there is a bigger need for developers in my area (Still think if you need the money you might want to consider this as well).
Finally one day I found an add in facebook from a company looking for angular developers (details ahead), I sent my resume just to see if it hooked, tho I felt like I did it on the other sites, just dumping a resume to be thrown on sight xP.
I got an answer next week if I could go on an interview, this time it was a bit easier to talk with the people that were hiring as the company isn’t really big, no HR filter!
It was a three part interview, first one to meet me and if I had the profile for the job, whatever that means lol. I studied mechanical engineering so I had the mad and I had studied on my own through many resources so I felt confident enough.
The second interview was a small project that I’d be asked to build with a deathline, and the third one to see compatibility with the dev team.
You can see the project here (: https://github.com/jaimeplier/album-app
(I was given a week to do this. Took me a week +2 days, damn async data!)
I have focused on learning through udemy, if I had to recommend a course I’d say this is the best course you can take to get a bit of feeling of what full stack is: https://www.udemy.com/the-web-developer-bootcamp/learn/v4/overview
If you haven’t worked with databases, user authentication, you don’t know what ajax is and you want to get better at html/css/js this is a must.
After that one the one that got me the job was one from Max Schwartz about angular there too, but you might want to consider one about React as it grows on demand or Vue (Better angular than Vue in any case). Whatever you do, you can’t stick with pure html/css/js, in production environments this is too slow for most cases, but you must have good foundations of this!
All of this is leads my next point.
Programming is not for everyone!
When I got there I pooped a little after seeing all the amount of work that was being done. The company’s main focus is developing predictive software for companies, e.g. Pepsi wants to build a selling-spot, the app has a map that lets you pick a location, shows people age in bar charts, the income in the zone and other shops that represent competence to it. As you can imagine, this is a LOT of data, and there is a team of around 10 data science engineers working on this stuff, while development team has around 4 (5 with me!) members.
I’m surrounded by senior developers in my team, so I don’t get overloaded with tasks I can’t do, but you can guess the pressure when the guys besides you can develop a whole app (data visualizations, front-end, back-end, connecting endpoints and so on) in less than a week!
The rhythm they learn new things is nothing compared to what I was used to as self taught, everyone is learning from only courses all the time, while they can finish projects on time and some even teach after work.
Screams desperately anxiously.
Being here for a bit I must say, not everyone can keep this pace, and this is what many people hiring doubt from self taughts.
Of course, the team DID study CS or something near that, which already sets them ahead, as well as having a masters degree which some have.
After seeing all of this, I must say that in many jobs you will be expected to be able to fulfill a bit more than what you were hired for, most likely the CTO will tell the HR guy:
- Hey, we need a new front end dev, we need he/she knows java 8+, with spring. Oh, it’d be cool if s/he also knew unit testing with jasmine/karma, and well if you find one that also does data visualizations with D3 that’d be great!
So that’s what the HR dude will put on the ad. At the end they’ll end hiring the one that’s closest to what they seek, everyone wants the unicorn from the MIT with 4 years experience, minimum wage.
But that sh* ain’t happening.
It’s a good start. I like that your photo is on the site. Although I like the background image, a simpler background might work better.
One of the first things I noticed was a spelling error here: “I am also interested in statistics and preditive data analysis” Should be predictive.
It seems your resume of education is quite impressive. A background in maths and stats is quite highly sought. Once you spend a few more months polishing up your coding skill, you should land a good job. Continue improving and you are sure to climb quite high; you have a great advantage with your interest in maths and stats. Start learning Python: https://www.datacamp.com/courses/intro-to-python-for-data-science might be helpful. Udacity also has free Python classes.
Good luck to you.
Remove these things (or move them at the bottom of your portfolio):
- Wesleyan graduate double majoring in Economics and Mathematics
- I am currently an investment banking analyst on Wall Street.
- I love coding and designing websites
- I am also interested in statistics and preditive data analysis
These points are not related to Front End Development. Even “love coding and designing websites” is not worth putting there. Just show what you know. If you don’t know, keep learning and building them.
The people who see your portfolio or CV won’t try to read everything you put in there. So put something like a summary at the top so they know exactly what they see. They don’t have the patient so they will appreciate if they know you understand that too.
So don’t put anything not related to front end development in there.
Next, you should put your portfolio on github or surge as a static page.
About design, this design is pretty weak. Companies mostly don’t expect a dev to be designer. However, to make it pretty, I suggest you use some framework such as Bulma, or Material Design and use the default styles.
For Junior Front End position, your skill is not there yet. Maybe you can also look for intern or trainee position. You can learn a lot from those position too.
Keep learning and working on your projects. Eventually, you will get there.
Thanks for sharing
That username though.
In my defense, I had no idea what it meant when I created the account, I meant to refer to Bukowski as the huge fan I am. Hopefully this doesn’t make my opinion despite-full lol.
"A background in maths and stats is quite highly sought. "
Really? I majored in maths. Not that stats heavy though. Only did Mathematical Probability, Mathematical Statistics, Stochastic Processes and Further Probability (mostly covered things like martingales, different kinds of convergence, different kinds of probability transforms and a bit about order statistics). Maybe I am looking for work in all the wrong fields then.
Let’s try to figure this out. Some basic questions:
- What fields are you applying to?
- Have you completed the fcc courses?
- What are your areas of interest?
- Are you in the US or a different country?