Is my Jr. Frontend Developer portfolio good enough for a job?

Hello everyone!

I am an Austin, TX based frontend web developer trying to land my first development job. I’ve been applying to a ton of places and so for I haven’t had any luck. I’d love to know what thoughts or advice any of you might have about my project portfolio. Is my portfolio good enough to land a job? If not, what would you suggest I do to improve my chances?

My portfolio site: https://www.graysonconnor.com

Thanks!

At a quick glance, your portfolio looks mostly fine. Your resume needs love though.

  • The layout is hard to read and it is not remotely skim-able
  • Your wasting a lot of space on formatting, extra information, and wordiness.
  • I don’t see any of your programming work on your resume, including the site that you say you webmaster on your portfolio.
  • When I see a resume with a list of “skills”, I tend to assume that any that aren’t associated with an actual resume item are either BS (and I often will bring them up in the interview) or fluff (the dev equivalent of putting MS Word on a resume). I know that some of this is for catching programmatic scanners, but remember how it looks to a real person too.

The resume needs to go through a couple of levels before anyone who is qualified to look at your portfolio ever knows you exist. As someone who does developer interviews, I always do a quick read of the resume and I might look at a website or GitHub profile if I have a bit of spare time.

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Hello fellow Austinite… I am originally from San Antonio, recently moved back to the lone star state…

Portfolio is excellent. Resume…

  1. Replace work experience with projects. What did you do, what techs, what challenges did you overcome, what did you learn, etc… 2-3 bullets. And a link to it.
  2. Work experience down below, 2-3 bullet points. Only list applicable examples of demonstrateable soft skills that are applicable to web dev.
  3. Skills as a column, heard resume parsers are fickle things when it comes to formatting. Best put them in a list at the top. In the 3-5 secs that I scanned your resume, all I got was “no previous web dev exp” and not much else beyond that. See the above post on making it scannable.

Here’s a link to my first junior dev resume: Web developer no experience resume examples - #9 by ethanvernon

How many jobs have you applied to? I would plan to hit 30-100 applications. Don’t waste time on anything not posted in last 24-72 hours. I only applied for jobs posted in the last 24 hours personally.

Junior front end is a tough sell for me personally… would suggest learning node.JS / following the FCC full stack curriculum in the mean time if you can swing both applying for jobs + studying.

Full stack isn’t that hard to learn with your current foundation, and might make you a more attractive candidate on the market. E.g…. $65k for someone who can only do front end or $65k for someone who can build our entire product for us…

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Also Austin, TX market has been a little weird for me personally, even at 2 years of full stack experience. I’d recommend expanding to anywhere in US, 100% remote roles.

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HI @TOOTS !

As you have already heard, the resume is the first thing people look at.

I personally don’t think there is a reason to have a 2 page resume as a junior.
You don’t have much experience yet.
Two pages doesn’t make sense to me.

Cut it down to one. :grinning:

Here are some helpful resources to look at

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Thank you very much for your feedback! I totally agree!

Thank you for taking a look at my stuff! I’ve applied to probably about 50 jobs do far with a handful of interviews. I totally agree with your feedback. I didn’t even think about having projects on my actual resume but that’s a great idea. And i think youre right about fullstack. I’ve been a little intimidated to dip my toes in that area but your points about it are encouraging. Thank you so so much, you’re feedback has been extremely helpful.

I totally agree. I think I’ve got my portfolio down but I haven’t been making a great first impression with my resume. Thank you for your feedback and the resources!

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Cleaning up the resume will help you get more results.

Not sure what a handful means but if you are getting some interviews, then the next step is to figure out why you are not passing to the next round.

Are you not getting past technical interviews?

Are you doing the typical white boarding problems and are you are not passing those?
Are they giving you take home projects and you are not fulfilling the requirements?

Or maybe it is a situation where you are not a cultural fit.

I would look into why you are getting some interviews but not able to progress to the next stage.

For the most of the part, I like your portfolio. A few things…

  1. Some of the images took a while to load. Make sure they are optimized for the size you are rendering.
  2. PLEASE DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS. THEY ARE HARDER TO READ FOR SOME PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US THAT WERE TAUGHT TO READ WORDS BY SHAPE ON A TACHISTOSCOPE.
  3. Your projects to have links to the source code, not just the live app.
  4. I would want to see a list of the techs you know. This is very important. I might also include them in the descriptions of the various apps. I think this is more important than telling them what the app does.
  5. I don’t remember seeing anything that needs a backend. I know you are calling yourself a frontend guy, but still, a lot of times they like to see a little backend knowledge so they know you understand the full cycle.

For the resume, I agree with others that it isn’t scannable enough. My philosophy is that you have 5 seconds or their attention before they move on to the other 147 resumes they have to review before lunch. “scannable” is a good goal.

There is a lot of information in there that they don’t care about. Every job that does not relate to computers or web dev should be just a single line. There is no need for this resume to be more than one page. Keep things compact and focussed. I should be able to look at it for 5 seconds and know what you are looking for and what your language/library stack is.

To me, this is misleading:

Analytical Web Developer with 6+ years of experience in issue identification
and resolution

Is your “6+ years of experience in issue identification and resolution” related to “Analytical Web Developer”? Your placement of those two in the same sentence makes me think they are. This paragraph should be just about who you are as a coder and what you are looking for.

I think this is a little misleading:

Strong background in web development…

This is in your “Professional Profile”. Are you saying that you have professional web development experience?

I think this should be a lot simpler, a few sentences about who you are and what kind of job you want. This is the first thing they read. They will see a lot of overly ornate language that is vague and once they look at your work experience, they may conclude that you are deliberately misleading them.

Since you have no work experience and not much education, the Objective (what you call Professional Profile) and Skills are the most important things. I think listing some of your favorite projects would be good too.

To me, “Web Developer Program Participant” sounds weak. Leave off the last word. Phrases like “Boosted acquired knowledge” sound goofy to me, like you’re trying to puff it up. They can see right through that. Keep it simple. You could cut this description in half, very easily.

Get rid of what you are calling “Skills” and convert “Technical Skills” to “Skills”. Almost everything you have under “skills” is either vague or irrelevant. They don’t care that you say you have “conflict resolution” skills. If you want to include some of those in your cover letter, that might be OK, but on a resume it is just stealing away valuable attention and makes it seem like you’re not really sure what the most important aspects of your qualifications are.

Just some thoughts…

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Out of my 50+ applications I’ve had 3 companies invite me to interview. For one of the jobs, I got to round 4 of 5 in their interview process (including the technical interview which was an at-home project where I had to code a Figma design). On that technical interview, they said the project looked great but internally I had some bad coding practices (repetitive code, lack of semantic markup, etc.) that I have since corrected and learned from. I think you’re right about the resume because I think if they were getting to the point where they saw my portfolio, I’d at least be getting more first-round interviews.

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Thank you for all of your feedback! You’re absolutely right on about the stuff in my portfolio. As far as the resume goes, it seems to be unanimous that it needs a rework. A while ago I hired a resume writer to make it and it’s clear to me now that they didn’t understand this industry or how to best showcase my skills. I reworking my resume right now and implementing your feedback. Thank you again, this is all very helpful!

Don’t get me wrong - I kind of liked the layout of the resume from an aesthetic perspective - I just found it functionally awkward - both in terms difficulty finding things and the wasted white space. And a lot of irrelevant things.

To me, the purpose of the resume to quickly convey information. Anything that gets in the way of that is bad. I would say to keep it simple. You can use a little formatting, but quickly conveying information is always the most important thing.

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Honestly 3 interviews out of 50 apps is not that bad of a metric. How consistent are you applying? I was applying for 3-6/day when I landed my first job, Monday-Friday.

Is job search your primary focus right now? Or are you just putting out feelers?

I had a couple “feeler” rounds, then went in earnest on the 3-6/day. 3 interviews from about 30-50 applications, 1 offer.

Are you filtering by “junior” or “entry-level” rolls only as well? I liked targeting those because it felt implicit that there would be some ramp up and learning involved, that I wasn’t an experienced hire, but that I was there to learn and get up to speed and contribute as fast as possible

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Yes, the job search is my primary focus right now. I’ve been applying to at least 3 a day and then trying to make projects in-between that. And yes, I’ve specifically been applying to Junior and Entry-Level roles because I very much want the training that comes with those jobs. I’ve been told I could apply to normal Frontend jobs but I’m not yet confident enough in my own abilities to hit the ground running in a real-world environment without training.

Hey everyone!

I remade my resume with some of the notes that I received from everyone. I really focused on simplifying everything and only included relevant information.

Here it is: New-Grayson-Resume-2021 - Google Docs

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I think it looks better.

Just a couple of things.

I don’t think you need to add " Successfully completed various challenges on frontendmentor.io"

I don’t think that is considered freelance.
Those challenges are just for you to learn.

I feel like the my work and projects section can be merged into one section.

I don’t think they would look at your codewars profile.
maybe you can just remove that.

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  • Split-column layouts don’t scan well by ATS. You need to revert to one column if that’s how you’re applying to jobs.

  • “Yes, the job search is my primary focus right now. I’ve been applying to at least 3 a day and then trying to make projects in-between that.” Are you actively doing any kind of work currently? If not, you should make time to apply to way more jobs than that. With the number of online job boards today, you can apply to at least 10 jobs per day, if not more. You’re probably taking way too much time to apply to individual jobs if you’re doing only 3 per day and aren’t working full- or part-time.

  • APIs, VS Code, and Netlify shouldn’t count as skills. Those are the kinds of things that are assumed for any developer position. Also, don’t list WordPress if you don’t know how to make plugins and/or themes. If you only know how to use WordPress from a blogger perspective, anyone can figure that out.

  • Don’t call things “work” that aren’t actually paid work, i.e. your “My Work” section. Come up with a different label. That section doesn’t look necessary either. You could move your Portfolio and GitHub links to the contact info, and delete the other one.

  • You’re missing a front-end framework/library from your skills. If you don’t know one of them yet, I wouldn’t recommend calling yourself a front-end developer. Learning one should be your biggest priority.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. The only reason I put APIs, VS Code, and Netlify on there as skills is per the recommendation of my coding mentor. Same thing for the “My Work” section. But I think you’re right, it doesn’t feel right to have them on there. Also, when I say I’m doing “3 applications a day and projects in-between that” part of “projects” has been learning React. So learning a library/framework is very high on my priority list. And if I’m not a frontend developer what kind of jobs would you recommend I apply to?

APIs, VS Code, and Netlify shouldn’t count as skills.

I don’t know. I agree that VS Code shouldn’t be there. I might think APIs should be there because it is often listed on entry level job requirements and it may catch the eye of an HR person that doesn’t know that that’s a basic skill - if it was an obvious basic skill they wouldn’t list it on so many job reqs, imho. As for Netlify, I’ve never used it before so I hope it isn’t an obvious expectation. Beginners are often looking to fluff up their resume a little, that seems reasonable. I agree that WP shouldn’t be on there unless you are doing plugins/themes.

I also agree that having a frontend library should be a top priority. Sure, React is a good one. Even if it’s not a React job, often they like to see at least one of the other big three. I mentioned earlier getting some backend experience (even a little) would be good, but I think learning a frontend library/framework would go above that.

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