Ask an IT Recruiter!

Hi all,

I just had a thought whilst replying to another post.

I am experienced IT recruiter that has decided to move from Sales/Recruitment to being part of the action as a Front End Developer. I was successful in recruitment and worked my way up from a trainee to managing multiple teams in Europe over the space of 5 years.

However, whilst the money was very good, I would much rather development myself and forge a career in IT as I know it will be worthwhile in the long run and allow me to create some amazing things. Recruitment become repetitive and boring the longer I did it for. I feel like I’ve learnt and created so much already, and I’ve only been studying Web Development for around 2 months.

This may be of no interest to anyone at all, but if anyone has any questions that they wanted to ask with regard to improving their LinkedIn profile/how to get noticed/how much experience is needed for roles/interview questions and techniques etc or wanted to know how recruitment companies work then please feel free to ask a question in this thread. I hope my background will help me when I am at a sufficient level to apply for positions, so I am happy to give some advice if anyone has any questions.



The question always in the back of my mind:

As a career changer with 10+ years experience in another field, including middle management roles, proven successes, excellent soft skills etc, is it reasonable / possible to get a first job as a developer that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a 1st year in the workforce, low ball salary?


I’m asking myself the same question to be honest as I am doing exactly the same thing.

Fundamentally, if we are going into a technical position like a Front End Web Developer, I think all clients will care about is our technical expertise within certain technologies, so for the first couple of years, I think anyone will have to sacrifice their salary compared to what they were earning before. I am only concerned about building my skills and getting the right experience in my first couple of years.

Having said that, I’m sure soft skills will help how we could come across at interviews & certainly once we have 3, 4, 5 years experience technically, then our experience with managing teams for example could certainly become relevant for leading development teams etc.


Hey Joe I am so glad you are doing this. It couldn’t come in a better time! I apologise in advance for the long post.

So, I’m currently job hunting, I live in Greece but I am looking to relocate somewhere within Europe (if have certain countries in mind). This is a first job for me, I’ve worked a few months here and there but in totally unrelated fields.

I’ve been into Web Dev for many years as a hobby. but I knew I wanted to do this for a living. The last three years, I’ve been taking this much more seriously. I dedicated to it, I’ve worked on projects that I wanted to convert to products, I am reading books, I code daily, I read blogs, newsletters, I follow the field. I know my JavaScript. Based on job listings I’ve seen and applied to, I feel overqualified for a junior positions and I’ve been told by senior developers that I could easily take an intermediate position. I am not trying to get ahead of myself though since as I mentioned this is a first job. If I see a junior position I’ll apply to it.

My question is, how do I put that out there? Recruiters will see a CV and a cover letter first but as someone without experience, I am trying to get an interview through my portfolio but it seems like I am being rejected in the initial screening and they don’t even check my portfolio.

Thanks again for doing this!


A couple of questions I suppose first -

If you want to go into Web Development and you have been doing it for a while, what are your skills like in the Web Dev relevant areas (eg html, js, bootstrap, css, angular etc etc)?

All recruiters do is CV match, so if you are applying for a job, then just convey how your experience is relevant to what they are looking for.


Thanks for replying.

  • All the info about my experience and skills is in my portfolio and there is a relevant area in my CV as well. I think I’ve focused on making this stand out more than anything.
  • Is it common for recruiters to not even go through a cover letter because of a bad CV? Because I have the impression my focus should be on the letter due to the lack of work experience.

I think if you are still a Junior Developer in web development, your best bet is finding a client directly.

Recruiters - Honestly, 90% of the time recruiters won’t read a cover letter. They will scan your CV though and thats why it’s so important to highlight the key skills you have multiple times if you can. I read something the other day which mentioned that the average length of time a recruiter scans a CV for before deciding if they are going to speak to you is about 6 seconds. They will look for buzzwords and thats it (especially for a technical role like a Developer).

Client directly - I think a good bit of advice and certainly what I am going to do when I’m comfortable enough with my development experience is to focus on applying at clients that are advertising directly. Most of the time, HR or a ‘talent acquisition specialist’ will advertise the vacancy & probably wont be interested in someone with no commercial experience. What you can do is try and connect with the hiring manager directly (probably the IT Manager, Lead Software Developer, Development Manager) or something, someone with seniority. And send them a personalised message instead. Convey to them your tenacity to learn, the skills you have (i.e. send them a link to your portfolio - they will care whereas recruiters won’t be interested in that), and why you would be interested in working for their business.

To be honest, I think I might try and work for free at a company for a couple of months to try and get commercial experience and really up-skill my knowledge and become a lot more marketable then. I think you are probably best just taking a junior role, working really hard and constantly improving your skills and experience, and then look to move on if you feel you have the experience - you will be a lot more interesting to companies with more commercial experience.

Remember, the reason why IT recruiters are successful is because (if they are any good) they are good at ‘selling’ someones experience and being communicative. Some Developers (even some of the best I’ve worked with, superbly talented), are terrible at conveying their experience, often are fairly introverted and aren’t comfortable marketing themselves & as a result miss out on roles they should easily get.

If you are able to do that well, then you can give yourself a huge head-start in the marketplace when it comes to finding jobs compared to other Developers - even ones that are more experienced than you are.


I think this might have covered any further questions I had. I should mention that I noticed some traffic on my website from companies I applied to and didn’t involve a recruiter, which validates what you said.

I appreciate the time you spent answering! I hope more people taking advantage of this post and let us all learn something new.


Would you have any tips for people who are trying for jobs outside of the country/state that they live in? That’s the situation I’m currently in, and I imagine it’s not uncommon as people will want to move to Silicon Valley, Seattle, New York, or any other tech hubs.


If you don’t mind. Is it true that IT companies care more about what you know, than how you learned it?
I am in a situation where my life hasn’t directly followed a straight path. So I am wondering if I might still have a shot at getting a career in dev.


Congratulations for the leap of faith. Could you share some information about salary ranges and the skills of each profile? Thanks for all your help :slight_smile:


What do you expect a junior front end should know?

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Thank you for this offer. I am an experienced developer, technical, rather old. I have been doing javascript intensively for 10 months, about 60% of it on FCC projects.

Perhaps you might indicate the type of company/job I can apply for (if any) for contracting or part-time work. Here is a link to my online portfolio (my own server also). This portfolio is purposely nuts-and-bolts boring.

Thanks in advance.


Hi PortableStick,

I think it is the same process as someone applying for jobs close to home (obviously I can’t advise on things like visas etc for working abroad, but thats not hard to find online). The more you put into finding a job, the more you will get out.

The more junior someone is, with less experience, the more difficult it is going to be to get a job. Or rather, the harder you will have to work to get a job. I mean, I was focussing on the freelance market (for roles paying £5-600 p/d), and as a result the more experienced Developers, and they would have recruiters chasing after them all the time as they know they could fill their jobs really easily.

Also, if you are applying for a job with certain skills listed, then send an email with your resume and portfolio describing where/how you have used those skills and how you could work on their project.


I am in exactly the same position. I mean, I guess working in IT recruitment may give me a head start since I know how projects work, how people recruit etc. but I am also coming into it from a non IT background.

There are so many stories on the internet about people transitioning from another line of work to IT development - it is more possible than ever, and there is a real shortage of expertise in web development that will only increase.

I’m not a fan of using too many inspirational quotes as I feel that if they are overused they kind of lose their potency (the amount you see on LinkedIn is infuriating), but I really subscribe to one of Henry Ford’s:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right.”

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Hi Coyr,

There are so many variables that exist for salary ranges and the skills that are currently in demand - it varies between, countries, cities and market trends.

The best way to work out where to place yourself in the market is to go on an IT job board that advertises positions in areas that you want to work. See what sort of salaries people are paying, how much experience you require etc. If you don’t have any experience yet, be prepared to take an internship or low paying job to gain experience - gaining experience is so much more important than making money whilst you are starting out. Earning a decent pay-check will come with the more experience you have in your IT field.

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Let’s use a couple of Junior Front End Web Developer job adverts I have just found at random (a quick search shows there are 350+ in London at the moment):

Advert 1 (junior):


front end (HTML, CSS, Javascript, working knowledge of PHP)
working knowledge in Adobe software – Photoshop, Illustrator
good interpersonal and communication skills
create clean, organised code
understanding of industry tools, products and CMS platforms, including Wordpress
ability to communicate clearly with clients and non-technical staff
highly motivated and able to work independently and as part of a team
knowledge of hosting and support services
be adaptable and able to pick up new techniques

educated to degree level or equivalent
CSS pre-processors (LESS, SCSS)
server management
good eye for design
experience using IDE (net beans)
experience in Magento

Advert 2 (junior):

Skills and experience required:

A strong understanding of HTML5, CSS, SASS, LESS
Wordpress experience and knowledge
Experience of building cross-browser and cross-platform compatible solutions, including cross-browser testing
Good design skills and appreciation
Attention to detail and an understanding of user experience (UX)
mobile first, responsive
Useful but non-essential skills:

Experience of AngularJS
UX analysis and design
Scrum / Agile

Advert 3 (senior - £75k):

Necessary Skill

In-depth experience in XHTML/HTML5


JavaScript frameworks (React)

Experience in TDD, Agile and XP

Responsive web development and mobile web experience

eCommerce experience in retail or betting companies



As you can see, some of the skills vary, but the most common skills for a Front End Dev are usually the same: HTML, CSS, Javascript - the fundamentals.

One thing to point out is that you will never get the perfect person for an IT Developer job. No one has all of the skills required for a particular role, but as long as you have the main areas of experience you can learn the rest. But I would advise to learn those skills, as well as doing a course that covers some backend tech & frameworks (Angular, React and Nodejs are popular at the moment I think) and you will be fine.


Hi Steve,

I really liked your portfolio. Just to clarify, I’m sure that you are aware that with nearly a years experience of Javascript developing and a tech background you’d easily be able to land a perm job right?

To answer your question, I think it doesn’t matter what sort of company it is, the principles for finding work are the same. Get your CV and portfolio out there and to the right people. Always follow up with a call to positions you apply for too. If you are using your own server you also clearly know some back end which always helps.

If I was you, I’d apply for the more junior contract roles (where are you based by the way?) and get some experience. After 2-3 years of contracting as a front end dev, you can look at £300 p/d in London for sure.


Heres my linkedin:

and here is my resume:

what do you think, what should I improve(what can i improve…)?

Thanks in advance.

I am in no way an expert on resumes, but I think the standard is to keep it at 1 page. Also if you have relevant experience, it’s key to list that at the top. I did a lot of digging on how to format resumes and the best I have come across so far is this article from Quincy:ésumé-that-employers-will-actually-read-fd7757740802

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