This is where cover letters really shine. When I was applying, I completely tore apart the job listings and responded to every point they mentioned.
This is where you can really stand out, since so many people blast their resume to every company out there without taking the time to write a targeted cover letter. Even if you haven’t worked in the field before, outlining your competencies and the things you’ve built with technologies mentioned in the ad can really put you ahead of the crowd.
I’m part of the hiring process and applicant screening at my current company , and it’s given me so much perspective on the entire hiring process. A targeted cover letter and resume can make or break the application.
Here’s an example of a cover letter I might have written to get my first position (I cobbled this together from several iterations of cover letters to various companies):
I was excited to see your opening for an awesome junior front-end developer. The junior front end developer role looks like it would be an excellent match for my background and interests. I’ve been learning development for a little over a year through freeCodeCamp and The Odin Project and I would love to join up with the ____ team to create some amazing products. I know I’d be the perfect fit for the position, and here’s why:
- Creating best-practice, responsive web pages based on high-fidelity mockups
- Utilizing user stories to create web applications built with Twitch, Wikipedia, and other popular APIs
- Designing and coding a 5-day weather forecast widget using geolocation and weather APIs
- Implementing mobile and desktop-friendly UIs based on media queries
I’m always learning and looking for opportunities to level up my skills, and I’m committed to clean code and about implementing web accessibility and best practices. While I don’t have a computer science degree, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in a technical field (chemistry) with some graduate coursework under my belt. Overall, I’m dedicated to personal development and continual learning and bring my best work to any position.
I’d love to get a chance to work with your team to _____(insert whatever here).
Thanks so much, and I hope we can schedule time to talk further about how I might be an asset to your team!
Definitely detail your personal projects in your resume. It might seem silly since it’s not ‘real’ work experience, but first and foremost, you’re trying to sell yourself, your skills, your passion, and your future commitment to the position.