Am I doing something wrong?

Hey guys,

I’ve been pretty discouraged lately with the job search. I’ve been searching for about a year and a half. So far, I’ve had a handful of phone screenings. A couple of them led to a code challenge, but usually nothing beyond that. I’ve probably had 4 in-person interviews, though one of them was with a recruiter so that one probably doesn’t count. Speaking of recruiters, I had quite a few reach out to me with opportunities but nothing really happens with them. I’m beginning to think recruiters are kind of a joke.

My usual routine is applying directly to company websites if at all possible. I do try to tailor my resume and cover letter to match the job description. I’ve attended a few meet ups to talk to people. But as an introvert, it gets tiring making small talk with a lot of people and hoping to establish a deeper connection.

I go through small periods of giving up and then getting back into job searching over and over again. I can’t help be think I’m doing something wrong or maybe there’s something that I’m not doing that’s holding me back. Plus not having any professional experience hurts me. I’m not looking for a pity party, I’m just looking for honest feedback on what I can do better or differently.

I guess my main questions are:

  1. How can I improve my strategy or do things differently?
  2. Based on my resume, cover letter and portfolio, do you honestly believe I’m ready for a junior role or not?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Cover Letter

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Your portfolio, resume and cover letter look good to me. I would think you should have no problems impressing your first contacts.

Is your job application small? Consider relocating and start applying all over wherever you are fine ending up in. I’ve read posts here that talk about applying to +50 companies and receiving only handful interviews and passing very few of them to get job offers.

I would also say polish your interview skills to articulate your thinking coherently under pressure. Try studying algorithm questions as well on codesignal/hackerrank. This link will also help you. Good luck! BTW, also consider making a linkedin profile if you already not have one.


Hey I just read this article.

This was inspirational.

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I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. It’s tough, and can be extremely dispiriting, but once you land a job all the frustration will fade away.

Here are some recent podcasts that talk explicitly about getting dev work and standing out in the crowd, I hope they offer some new strategies for you to try out.

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Thanks for your feedback. I have started to look outside my state for opportunities, so I am definitely open to relocating. As a general rule, I try to apply to at least 3-4 jobs a day. Though like I said, I go through periods of burn out.

That’s good advice about doing algorithms regularly. I should start with the FCC algorithms. Thanks for those links. I’ll check them out!

I actually do have a LinkedIn profile. I guess I should add that as well.


Thank you for those links. Those look like they will be helpful. Yeah, I can only hope I can one day look back on all this and say the frustration was worth it.

Your resume mentions being a freelance web developer, but there is no reference to the websites that you’ve built or the companies you’ve worked for. As someone who has looked at resumes of prospective hires, I would dismiss this.

You’re trying to get into a highly skilled position with no relevant degree or professional experience. That means that getting your foot in the door is going to be harder and there are a lot more companies/recruiters/employers who just aren’t going to go to the trouble of finding out whether you actually have the skills that you claim to have. In many cases, company policy will mean that you aren’t a candidate that they can consider even if they do think your skills are up to scratch.

Your applications, interviews, and cold-calls need to give potential employers a compelling reason to look at you despite your lack of experience. Also, you need to keep in mind that until you’ve worked professionally for a few years, you’re going to get a higher arbitrary rejection rate. That doesn’t mean that you’re “doing something wrong”, just that what you’re trying to do is very difficult. Keep in mind that even those with extremely good on-paper credentials get no response from the significant majority of applications they submit.


There probably is nothing “wrong” per se, it is just mostly difficult to get a job without background and experience. Honestly ultimately nothing really beats a personal connection, so try your best to get your resume in front of a human and find a chance to give your elevator pitch.

You said you completed Udacity Nanodegree, but where are the projects from it? I see mostly FCC projects in your portfolio. Doesn’t Udacity Nanodegrees also come with career coaching? Use those resources.

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Please post this question on r/webdev as you will probably get to the bottom of what’s wrong in either your approach to searching for jobs or you portfolio/projects or resume.

Edit : Don’t post the recruiters are a joke part, even if they are as you might actually run into one on reddit/webdev and you don’t want to offend and burn a bridge

Good luck


Hey envincebal,

Many people have already given you some tips and rated your resume, but I haven’t noticed much talk about your actual portfolio and projects.

The portfolio site looks pretty good to me, it’s clean, shows all relevant information and follows practices of good design.

The problem, however, is the projects. They’re very basic. Not the “This is what I did after 5 hours of learning to code for the first time!!!” kind of basic, but <10 hours-of-work-each kind of basic. If you dedicate enough time, you can make each one of those in 1 day after 1-3 months of learning to code.

With that said, you’ve been applying for jobs for 1.5 years. How much did you know about coding when you started applying? I’m asking because you’ve finished your Twitch and Calculator apps just 3 and 5 months respectively.

What I’m trying to say, you’re progressing fairly slow and I don’t think you’re ready for a job judging just by this. I’d recommend that you build some bigger dummy-apps, especially since you already have full-stack skills. Don’t stick to projects that take a few hours to a day to complete.

Also, consider this: there are loads of people learning to code these days, many of them are also doing their best and coming up with projects and keep polishing their skills. You’re not really putting yourself ahead of the rest when you’re doing just a minimum to be considered.
You don’t need a degree for this job, but you need to show off your skills, this job is coding before anything else, so code.


That’s a good idea. I don’t have a reddit page yet but I think it would be worth having to get more insight. Thanks!

Thanks for your feedback. What you said kind of confirms something I’ve been suspecting for a while, that my projects are too simple. You are right in that I need to move on to building bigger and more complex apps. To answer your question, I believe I started applying for jobs after I finished the Wikipedia API project from the old FFC curriculum path. Maybe that was way too early to do so.

It is true that I am progressing pretty slowly, but this is mostly in terms of building projects. Most of my time was dedicated to reading documentation and completing algorithm challenges. Which in hindsight I realize doesn’t mean a whole lot if I don’t show it in stuff I build.

I guess the bottom line is to reflect what I’ve learned by building larger apps that are unique to me so that it makes me stand out more. That is really good advice.

Thank you again. This really helps in changing my overall strategy.


Realize that you don’t have to write an entire complex app by yourself. Collaborate with other coders and learners by joining a local meet up, or online by joining a Chingu cohort.

The advantage over working alone is you get the experience of working in a team. You can bounce idea off others which helps speed up the implementation, you still get a deeper understanding of the entire stack without coding every part of it because you and your peers designed the architecture, you discussed bugs encountered, you brief each other on the details of implementation. You each can fork the code to your github, and you have an impressive project that you can both talk broadly and specifically about.

On top of the technical advantages, you also get the opportunity to demonstrate soft-skills such as organization skills, leadership qualities, communication skills, all of which can be valuable additions to your resume and interview with conversations


I guess you do everything correctly.