Advice to land a junior web developer position

(This was my original post from June, please see the comments for help with my updated portfolio)

Hi everyone!

I am on my frontend developer journey and have recently been applying for jobs. I’m really interested to get your feedback on how I can improve my resume and portfolio. The links are below. I would also love any advice on brushing up for interviews (sites to use, things I should review, etc). Thank you all in advance!

Portfolio: https://arwaali.netlify.app/
Resume: link

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First, a good effort on both, especially if you’re new to this. However, your portfolio and resume contain a lot of mistakes I see commonly made, and fixing them would improve your odds at getting through to recruiters/HR.

Portfolio site:

  • First, the first pane on your portfolio site doesn’t grab any attention. So many people nowadays are self-taught web developers, and saying that about yourself doesn’t set you apart in any way. I’m not good with ideas, so not sure what to suggest, but you should come up with a totally different first pane. And try to use an image instead of only text.

  • Some would disagree with me, but I wouldn’t recommend calling yourself a “Web Developer” when you’ve had no professional experience. Try to find another way to brand yourself.

  • Your “About Me” section should be last, and I’d recommend making it shorter. Not many people will bother to read the whole thing. If you can, make it just one summary paragraph.

  • Your “Projects” section should be placed first on the page. Also your wording on each project description is way too low-level in terms of technical details. You need to “high-level” all of them and just state in one sentence what each app does in a general sense. If you want to mention the technologies, make a short bulleted list of just the technologies and use extra words very sparingly - i.e. “React w/ Hooks and Router”.

  • Your email address should be something not on Cornell. You’re not likely to have a Cornell.edu account forever, so use something like Gmail.

Resume:

  • Your URLs all should be spelled out. Don’t use HTML to hide them behind “Portfolio”, “GitHub”, and “LinkedIn”. And as I mentioned before, would recommend not calling yourself a web developer when you haven’t had experience yet.

  • The “Summary” should be deleted, that’s generally an outmoded thing on resumes today. It really doesn’t add anything for you the way it’s written anyway.

  • You should only list skills you’d be comfortable answering a random question about in an interview. Can you do that with Python and Java? If not, delete them.

  • “Experience” should be “Projects”. That’s a very misleading label otherwise.

  • High-level all of your project descriptions. Write down what they do in a general sense only, and delete the tech-speak. Your resume is for regular people (recruiters and HR) who usually don’t know anything about coding, not other developers.

  • freeCodeCamp doesn’t count as education and doesn’t belong on a resume. It’s fine to put on your LinkedIn, but not on a resume. And it doesn’t add anything if you already have a 4-year college degree.

  • Delete your GPA and coursework. Unless your GPA is 4.0, anything lower could count against you, and coursework is generally irrelevant on resumes.

  • What have you been doing since December 2018 when you graduated from Cornell? That unaccounted time on your resume will cause a red flag to go up for most recruiters/HR. You need to account for this on the resume somehow.

Thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate all of these pointers and will get to working on them.

Try to find another way to brand yourself.

Do you happen to have any concrete suggestions? I’ve let this sit in the back of my mind for a bit, and I can’t think of any alternative ‘brand’ that still sounds remotely professional.

I’m not sure why the thread starter removed the first post but in general for people who lack professional experience as a developer I can’t think of anything either. IMO, until you get experience of at least a couple of years, it’s best to not say anything for a self-title. Any title implies actual experience or expertise which takes time to achieve and won’t happen immediately.

I get and understand the desire for a self-title, but no matter what you might go with, it can still be potentially misleading to an employer. Until you gain about 2-3 years of experience it’s best to leave one out so that employers have the minimum expectation from the resume content itself. Also some titles are really vague as well, especially “web developer” which is sort of nebulous. It doesn’t concretely say anything about someone. Titles like “front-end developer”, “back-end developer”, or “full-stack developer” are more concrete, descriptive, and useful.

Hi @aaa96 !

Welcome to the forum!

I understand that you received the answer you were looking for but it is not a good idea to delete your original post.

Reason being, is because this conversation now has no context because you removed the links for the portfolio and resume.

That is something to keep in mind for future posts.

Thanks for understanding !

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Hi everyone! This is my second time posting about advice for applying to junior dev jobs without experience. I have made many of the changes suggested to me before on my portfolio and resume and would really appreciate as much advice as possible on their current state (links below). Please give me any suggestions/ observations you have.

I have also been wondering if I should jump into a bootcamp to have a better chance at a job. I really feel like I’m doing well on the self-taught journey but am now stuck at the job hunting part and don’t know where exactly I am going wrong. Do you all suggest a bootcamp or continuing to apply with my current portfolio?

Thank you very much in advance.

Portfolio: https://arwaali.netlify.app/
Resume: Resume.AAli.pdf

I like your portfolio.

Just a couple of thoughts.

For your Sunday Funday app, since the backend is deployed on heroku the initial load time is slow.

I ran into this issue as well with the latest app I just built.

What I ended up doing was creating a welcome page of text and then faded that out into the material that was being fetched from the backend.

So maybe you can find a creative way to hide that fact that your backend needs to load and you don’t have this spinning log and empty side of the page.

I personally think you don’t need to say aspiring web developer.
I think web developer is just fine.

You might consider renaming that last section on your resume as education instead of timeline.

Hope that helps!

Thank you so much for your input and the tip on one of my apps. It is really helpful and I will try to apply it to my work. I had put aspiring web developer to try and avoid misleading people reading my resume/ portfolio since I have no experience yet, as @astv99 had suggested. I also put in “Timeline” instead of “Education” to try and explain the time gap between my graduation from undergrad until now (since not all of those things listed fall under education). I would appreciate any thoughts on these.

I would also like to bump up the question for you or anyone who has thoughts about whether or not to jump into a bootcamp or continue down this route to attain a job.

Thank you again!

I have heard a whole bunch of diverse experiences on bootcamps.

Some have really enjoyed and benefited from it while others regretted it.

Quincy wrote a great article on it

IMO, going through the normal job channels is really tough for juniors because of the lack of experience.

You might have better luck networking on twitter, meetups, and linkedin.

Danny Thompson has a great series on how to land jobs through linkedin.

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Thank you for these resources! I will definitely read the article and watch the video to get a better idea of what’s ahead for me. I agree the normal job channels are tougher for junior devs (at least from my own experience so far), but will definitely try networking through twitter, meetups, and linkedin and search through my personal network as well.

I love the look of your portfolio. I love the colors and how you divided each section. The projects look amazing and they show off what you know and how you have grown as a developer. It inspires me to work more on mine. :slight_smile:

I would check every project to make sure they’re working. I can’t add tasks to the React Task Tracker.

For the Sunday Funday maybe add a default post or leave blank because right now I only see a loading image/spiral. Which makes it a little confusing because it makes me think I need to wait for something to come up.

For Boba Shop, maybe for the cart add a counter to each item. That way if you add the same item again it doesn’t actually add it to the cart. It instead increases the count of that item.

Maybe put the links to your Linkdin and GitHub profile should be further up.

Wow, thank you so much for all of the positive observations. It really means a lot to get that boost of encouragement every once in a while because this process is tough. I’m really appreciative of the community on this forum and wish you all the best as well.

I will definitely be going back to check my projects and try and apply your suggestions. The task tracker has a mock backend on JSON server and right now only works if I download the repo onto my computer and run the front and backend servers on different ports, but you’re right that I should find a way to deploy the backend as well.

@jwilkins.oboe Also suggested doing something creative to indicate if posts are coming in for the Sunday Funday app so I will definitely play around with that and find a nice way to do it. Your boba shop and social media links additions are also very useful and I’ll be adding those as well.

Thank you again for your help!

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I suggest trying Heroku for your task tracker. Currently I’m trying to do the same and having issues but maybe you’ll be able to figure it out faster than me.

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