Feeling discouraged in the job search


Hey guys,

I’ve been searching for front end developer positions for the past 6 months are so. So far, I have only gotten a couple phone screenings and 1 code challenge. I haven’t gotten any in person interviews yet. I’ve been searching on job boards like Indeed, Monster and DICE as well as going on company career websites. It’s hard to remain motivated at the current rate I’m going without even 1 in person interview. I feel like I’m doing something wrong in my approach.

I would appreciate any feedback on my resume, cover letter and portfolio site. Please do not hold back if you have any constructive criticism. I need to hear the harsh truth in order to improve myself. Thanks guys.

Cover Letter




Your resume shows:

Developed a variety of practical applications for friends and family. Examples include a website for a business

If you have created websites for other businesses, you should provide links to those sites and explain how the work you did benefited the businesses in terms of revenue, market penetration, etc…

Also, these business websites should be highlighted on your portfolio if you feel the work done highlights your skills as a web developer.

Your cover letter for Survey Monkey was for a full-stack developer role. I do not see anything on your resume or portfolio which indicates you have any back-end experience, so I am not surprised you did not get a response.

Maybe you are putting in for positions where you are not meeting at least 75% of the listed requirements for the position. Did the Survey Monkey position require at least B.S. degree in Computer Science? You have a BA in Political Science and the Nanodegree would not even be close to the equivalent of a BS in Computer Science.

Also, your cover letter will be different for each job you submit to. You can not just create a cover letter template and change out the job title and company name and have a generic blurb about what you can do. You need to explain in a few paragraphs how you have successfully implemented something that directly relates to one or two of the job’s most important requirements. If one of the first listed requirements is building and maintaining an MS SQL database, then you should explain how you built an MS SQL database and how it’s use in the company you did work for saved them X dollars or improved productivity by X percent.


In exactly the same boat myself. 4 months looking for me, 2 phone and 1 face to face interview out of 40+ applications so far. Been developing for 2.5 years (my family situation and living abroad meant I could only start applying 4 months ago). It is tough I think and for every ‘I got a job after 3 months after starting web development whilst also working 60 hours a week and bringing up a family’ type there will be 50 people who have to slog it out for months on end… but that doesn’t make such a great post on a forum or Medium article.

Your cover letter is too long in my opinion. Put the work stuff on your resume (see below), keep it to a couple of paragraphs and to the point, the resume and portfolio should be where you go into more details.
I think your portfolio looks good. Although I agree with the previous poster, if you have real world or personal projects, showcase them over the usual projects that hundreds of other coders have done.
Your resume - you graduated in 2007, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? It doesn’t matter that you don’t have any developer experience, no matter the job you can get transferable skills from it. I’ve done things like engineering, run my own record business, security and english teaching. It’s all on my resume because I have gained lots of different skills through them which I can talk about in an interview. Admittedly I’m probably 10 years older than you but I’m sure any employer would wonder what you have been doing for the last 10 years. Anything is better than a 10 year gap.

I sympathise because I’m in the same situation, feeling a little discouraged. Even getting a human reply to an application (unsuccessful or otherwise) is a rarity and I’ve had the same conversation over & over with agencies who ‘will contact me when something suitable comes up’. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong as such and I still think it’s about ‘who you know not what you know’ but I too am struggling to make those important connections so you have to keep banging out the applications!


I know how you feel. Five months for me, no callbacks, no interviews, no tech tests, no feedback, no anything, just silence and a long line of LinkedIn recruiters who ask for the C.V. before disappearing off the face of the earth.

Also, the people who say getting the second job is easier… as if that’s helpful in any way :confused:


I love your portfolio page! I love the animations and transitions. The copy is clear and concise as well! Resume looks good too. I have one suggestion. I would say get a professional headshot done. It looks like your picture was taken in a cemetery? Also, network. By network, I mean go to local developer meetups/events. You just hang out, meet people, talk shop and by and by, something has to give. Just keep at it and never ever give up. Best!


Try not to be discouraged. Think of it as a numbers game. The more tickets you buy, the higher the chances of winning.

But saying “try not to be discouraged” is easier said than done. I remember my first job. Eventually, having someone recommend or personally pass your resume to the HR has a lot MORE WEIGHT than a random resume from the interwebs. Once I snag the interview from a passed resume, the rest was easy trying to prove what I know.

I suggest change slightly your tactic, and try to network with as much people/other devs as you can. Join clubs/ meetups/ meetings/ user groups/ etc. Get to know people, show your work, conduct a tutorial class, etc. Get noticed. Eventually, someone may ask for your resume to forward to their company.


Yes I do admit I have just been using a template and switching out the position and company name. You are right. I definitely need to personalize it more to the specific job at hand. Thank you for your feedback!

Thanks for the feedback! I will try to trim down cover letter. Regarding my work history, I have worked mostly in customer service. In my old resume, I included it on there. But after speaking with a career coach, he recommended I leave it out completely because it wasn’t relevant to web development. He said I should instead leave more room to talk about my projects. I do see your point though, that a big gap like that would be a red flag. The hard part too is if you ask 10 different people what should or should not be on a resume, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. So in essence, I kind of change up my resume frequently to see if there are any results.

I know exactly what you guys mean. I experienced a lot of what you two have said. I try to think of each rejection letter as a sign I’m getting closer because I tried. In contrast, if we give up then we are not getting anywhere at all.

Thank you! Actually that picture is in front of a museum. lol. Maybe that’s why I’m not getting calls back. Employers must be thinking I’m some creepy dude smiling at a cemetery. :stuck_out_tongue: I have started to go to some meetups. They’ve been alright so far. I’ve met some really cool people too.

Thank you for your feedback. I did get a friend from church to recommend me to his company for a position. It ultimately fell through because the position needed more experience. But the tech guy did say he will keep me in mind when any junior positions open up. So that’s something, I suppose


Sorry about your luck. Here’s what I see.
Like @randelldawson said, don’t apply for full stack positions without any backend projects or experience.

Second, is your design is good and i’ve seen people with same types of designs get jobs. I don’t think that’s the issue.

Third, I would remove that profile pic.

Fourth. You are the second guy I’ve given advice to this week and one common thing I saw was that both of you put all of your REACT CODE INTO ONE FILE! How are you supposed to test this? How is this maintainable? Also, with your (markdown project), you can break your components into more than just a header and an app component (same for a few other projects)!

In addition, it’s obvious you used create react app to build this (or some other boilerplate) and I shouldn’t be able to tell that. The test file has nothing to do with your app as well as many other things that show you didn’t even take the time to delete that stuff. Makes your projects seem rushed.

Sixth. The projects look nice, but I fear they might be a bit too basic/easy and don’t really show you can solve tough problems. I would try something harder like the actual simon game ( not a matching/memory one) and the game of life and definitely move to full stack stuff. You have to remember, you are competing with people with cs degrees and more experience, so you have to make sure every little detail is on point.

Conclusion, projects look good design wise, keep your head up and most important of all, keep improving! And you will get that job. Network! NEtwork!


LOL okay, I think it’s very clear I need a better, more professional picture.

That is a good point. It’s funny you mentioned that because I intended to break down different components in separate files for my next React app. But yeah, I will go back and do some clean up and making it more maintainable.

Yeah, I admit I have been too complacent in terms of the relatively low level of complexity in my projects. I do need to step it up and build larger, more challenging projects. Thanks. I truly appreciate your pointers.


Good luck, man. You are almost there


Hi man!

I like the copy and the design of your projects.

What you can do better is the quality of the projects. I think they are very basic and everyone will think that they are created by following tutorial projects.

Try to build something with a real world application instead. Or something you are passionate about and you need yourself.

Or try to clone one of the tougher projects as mentioned in the p1xt guides, like this one: http://rubix410.sketchpixy.com/ltr/dashboard

You will need to demonstrate that you can think for yourself rather than following tutorial projects.

Good luck!!


On your pomodoro clock I can’t change the work time up or down and same for the break time.


Hey @envincebal,

The LEAST thing you want to happen is get discouraged.

Remember these sayings?
A thousand miles begin with a single step.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Focus on your goals and dreams. If you have big goals and dreams and are seriously committed, it’s difficult to get discouraged easily.

Aside from analyzing and revising your cover letter, resume, and portfolio, you should also examine how you deal with people (soft skills are important) and where you’re looking for jobs.

Since you’re just starting out, find jobs in various places. Look for jobs online and offline.

Network with people.

Think of friends and small businesses near you; approach the ones who might need your service. Just last week, a Facebook group poster followed this tip of mine. Guess what? She told me some good news. (It’s not a coding job)

When searching online, you could try online job platforms like Upwork, Guru, GoLance, and Freelancer. You could check out this website for proven tips when starting and working on Upwork:


The lesson mentioned here is so relevant to you:

Good luck in your career! Remember to never give up!


Ok, here’s are my unfiltered thoughts:

Your work experience on your resume lists you currently as an ‘Independent Web Developer’ from March 2016 to present with vague references to developing ‘practical apps’ for family and friends. No links to actual work done… Here’s what any employer would think: Danger! This guy is currently unemployed and has nothing to show for it!

I went to your LinkedIn profile (which you don’t have listed on your resume, I suggest you add it!) and it you don’t have anything listed under work experience for the past three years. That is a huge gap in your work history!

In fact, you have gaps in your history even earlier. You have gaps between your job at University of Oregon Bookstore, Technosoft, and Consumer Cellular that can be measured in years. Your tenure at Technosoft lasted only two months!

Finally, I went to your GitHub profile and looked at your activity and saw this:

If you’re not currently working another job, this is very sparse activity. If you’re an ‘independent web developer’ as you claim, this is extremely sparse activity! Ideally, you would have contributions virtually every single day! Why are there so many days where you haven’t contributed anything on GitHub?


I don’t personally know you. You could be a great guy and a great worker for all I know. But the impression you’re leaving me with your resume and LinkedIn profile is that you have some serious issues finding and holding a job. When you are competing with dozens of other job applicants, it’s not hard not to see why you’re not getting any calls.

You need to remedy this. You need to demonstrate that you could do the job, do it well, and work well with other people. You need a good story as to why you have a have gaps in your employment and why you’re switching to web development. You need to show that you’re doing something right now.

One way to put experience on your resume is to create websites for other people, even if it’s for free. A friend has a side business? Build them a website! Know a few people in a local band? Build them a website! Know a local business? Offer to build them a website! Is there a local charity that has a website that looks like it was created in the 90’s? Offer to update their website!

You don’t have to disclose that you personally knew the people you built websites for or that it was done for free. All you need is a solid reference from them.

Also, from today forward, make sure you contribute to projects on Github Every. Single. Day. Even if they are minor updates, you need to show activity so potential employers know you like to code and code often. When you get comfortable enough, try contributing to open source repositories. FCC has a few repositories for this very purpose.

Hope this helps!


@Jsilver Thanks for the encouragement. I will try to keep up the optimism. I will check out those links you suggested.

@wwSchrader Thank you for your unfiltered thoughts. I really needed to hear all that.


Mate, Try upwork.com to work as a freelancer.


I commented on your stuff. It is really all about persistence when finding a job. Everything looked good enough to me. You could also try working remotely to open up more options in employment.


@CYBONYMOUS, thanks for the link. That seems like a really good place to get some experience.

@geekysmurf I just got your comments on both my resume and cover letter. Your feedback was very helpful.


Try this: https://remoteok.io/

The React hype has a bit subdued, also many people entering the field, so you need to do a lot to stand out,
Also what do you want, frontend or backend, (or combination)

I am not in the USA, I hear its really easy to get a job there right now!

Make projects yourself, in the meantime, my github profile got me some jobs. I work in my projects daily.

You are no different from a top level developer in aptitude, he/she is maybe 10% better then you

The difference is showing passion for the technology

Your webpage is cool, nice!!



I need someone to go into this and clean it up a bit, would you like to contribute,
It will make you a ninja coder when you are done, If you are stuck I can help you.
Dont under-estimate the work, but its good to have a challenge.

Demo (react, responsive, typescript, mailgun, node, graphQL)