Shamelessly self-promote all you want. I’ve read all of these and yours before (and just now), and yours is the best simply because you cover the spit and polish parts that others don’t. It’s not sexy, but attention to details is critical in any job hunt. It’s the part that’s usually easiest to fix too. Spell check and show up on time, people.
Since this topic is such a frequent pain point in posts in the forums, I think we need to do something, but I don’t know what (I should be in management!). I think the lowest hanging fruit would be some kind of systematic, preferably private, portfolio review. I know, I’m dreaming big. It should be free, and preferably here at fCC or some like minded place. Over time, it could even expand into counter-HR information warfare so that developers and developers-to-be can get in the door without what I consider sickening levels of personal branding talk and game-the-ATS.
But we are up the proverbial tree with the lions of ATS and self-subsidized training at the base, calling for the leopard to get up there and help out. As I look for jobs in chemistry, I find that I can’t get in the door because my career in education does not line up with what ATS thinks is a sufficiently skilled chemist. I am certain it’s the same in development. We need more human intervention at this stage, not less, and the intervention needs to be from people who understand the field, not HR.
The most consistent advice I see in essays about the job search is to get out and build. I’m sure it works anecdotally for the authors of the blogs, but rarely is there a critical eye turned to the fact this is job training that is subsidized by the job seeker for the ultimate profit of some putative business who hires them. I have no doubt that building projects is good for the builder (it’s fun!), but I question that it should be the way to land a job. I love to get out and build, but as I’m rather fond of eating I have to get out and work so my family doesn’t get out and starve.
I think before we give that kind of advice, we need to have a good hard think on what kind of projects should be built before it can be said that a person knows enough. I tire of the endless anecdotes of people who have built “apps that have filled a business need” and have a string of quantifiables attached. Folks are looking for entry jobs and that “app that fills a business need” takes time that a person is likely already spending with work and family. And odds are that the entries and juniors haven’t quantified anything yet.
When I look at the forums and watch how long it takes people to progress, and how many questions they have, and how they stumble around it makes me happy to see them fighting the good fight and improving. I’m rather less happy when people with jobs then blog the now build something refrain (oh, and blog about it too). Why isn’t anyone who finishes the MERN stack certifications here ready for an entry or junior job? If they have that and the spit and polish, then surely a business can train them for the rest. Some folks will have worked on just that for years in their spare time. That has to be worth something. They can’t possibly be a bigger idiot than I was when I started grad school or any of my other jobs. And I firmly believe that it should be the business that trains them and pays for the training, for the business will not so gladly share the profits. If our MERN stack certificates are not entry/junior ready, then we have some more low hanging fruit.
Anyway. I have lots of thoughts about the job search situation. The job search sucks for everyone that tells the truth, @kravmaguy. You’re not alone in this and good luck.