Struggling to find a front end dev job

Struggling to find a front end dev job
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#1

So I completed the Front End Dev portion of FCC last June. After that, I took part in a backend boot camp (which is when I decided I wasn’t interested in backend). Started applying for Front End Dev jobs.

A year later, I’ve had four sit down interviews. I’ve had a multitude of phone interviews with corporate recruiters who love my resume and feel like I’d be a good fit (“I’m going to pass you along to the department manager!”) only to either never hear back or get the, “We went in a different direction.” Of all my sit down interviews, I only really felt like one didn’t go well (I had just got back from a long trip and was still pretty groggy). I always feel like I click with the interviewer. I get emails and calls from the usual recruitment companies like Inceed and Robert Half almost daily, but nothing comes of it.

During this process, I’ve done the following to improve my chances:

  • revamped my portfolio site, as well as adding links to all my code samples to github
  • revamped my resume to be more compact and use more “active” language that shows the benefit of having me as a team member
  • revamped my cover letters in a similar fashion to the resume
  • started taking courses on codeschool.com
  • attended some meetups
  • applied for some UX/UI jobs hoping to get my foot in the door
  • started rolling more of what I’ve learned in codeschool.com into my existing code examples

Sort of at my wit’s end. I’ve been in graphic design/web design for a long time, but the money is terrible where I live (OKC). I’m bored with the work and want a new challenge, hence the Front End Dev path. Part of me wonders if my age is hurting my chances (I just turned 45).

Looking for feedback, encouragement, etc. Here’s my website, if you’re interested: www.mikemorkes.com


#2

Depending on the jobs-to-applicants ratio in your city, it often really is just a numbers game.

Your portfolio and resume look good - a little more focus on technical skills and experience might help, but it doesn’t sound like you’re having trouble getting invited to an interview in the first place. I obviously can’t speak to the interviews themselves, the current job market in OKC, or the individual companies.

Have you considered working with a professional headhunter? People have mixed views on them, but I find it helpful.


#3

Nice site, nice portfolio, and I think it’s great overall. Sorry, you’re having a hard time finding a new job.

Age could be a factor.
Salary level desired could also be a factor.
Your freelance side-business could also be a factor.
Where you’re applying for jobs, season of the year, location, etc… they all could be factors.

Who knows? Nobody knows.

How many companies have you applied for? I think the hit rate is like 5% or below to reach to an interview process.

Have you tried Craigslist? I know, right… CL? But wife found a job and got hired immediately through a CL posting (1/1). And the law firm she left, found a replacement for her also in CL. All the other big job boards, she said all she got from them were emails from recruiters, affiliate marketers, and franchise offers.


#4

Strong proofreading skills

but JavaScript is spelled wrong everywhere.

And is just HTML/CSS/JS enough in 2017?

Also:

Full Stack Web Development, Computer Software Engineering, 2016 (expected completion date)

It’s 2017. Where are the fullstack projects.

Maybe get rid of codepen.


#5

Good catch on JavaScript spelling and the Full Stack listing, fixed both (actually fixed the FCC Back End thing on linkedIn and forget to remove it on the website).

Beyond HTML5, CSS and JS, what else do I need in the toolbox? Angular? Ruby on Rails? PHP?

Curious, why ditch codepen? I used to link directly to the live page, but I wanted the viewer to be able to see the code at a glance.


#6

Maybe some shiny JS framework (like React, Angular, Vue).

People have told me that PHP/jQuery/Bootstrap jobs are usually done by students for peanuts. Sounds legit.


#7

Learning how to use your own editor, version your code in a git repository and deploy your site to a live host is something that you would be expected to know on day one of any job as a web developer.

This is clearly indicated in the resume, though. I list git and two different code editors in my skill set. I also list experience with git as well as online courses I have taken to strengthen that knowledge. In this case, codepen is merely used as a presentation tool.

Maybe some shiny JS framework (like React, Angular, Vue).

Been working on Angular.


#8

Step #1: Unpuff your resume.


#9

In this case, codepen is merely used as a presentation tool.

GitHub is a more well-respected presentation than CodePen. Learn to present your work on GitHub: https://pages.github.com/


#10

Thanks, I’ll check this out later today.


#11

It may be helpful to try being more direct in looking for opportunities. What I mean is to go and try set up meeting for “informational interviews” with companies that are interesting to you. Learn a bit about the work that they do, some of the challenges they face and be purely inquisitive.

That way through inquiries and persistence you can create opportunities where you would never see them on job aggregation sites. I am speaking from my professional experience, not necessarily web dev specifics.

This may be helpful: https://sivers.org/gethired


#12

Interesting idea! So would I contact HR, or try and get in touch with a manager of the department in the relevant field of work?


#13

Ideally you probably want to talk directly with people that you will be working for or with. However, you can also look for some fellow developers to connect and ask about what type of work they daily, what challenges they are tackling and if they would recommend working for the company.

I would frame the conversation about them and their work and how you are very interested in the type of stuff they do and want to learn more, but do not push for “Do you have any openings, because I am looking” type of conversation. It may be best if they are aware of your talent, passion and commitment to learning and then if some position comes up, they would remember you. I know it is a long term game but it may be fruitful tactic. Be persistent.


#14

There are two pieces of advice that I see over and over that seem to be the most effective:

  1. Plum your network through friends, family, and groups you belong to.
  2. Avoid recruiters and HR departments.

Let me explain number 2:

People who are in HR usually have no experience in software engineering. However, they have a job to filter all of the applications to ultimately present to the hiring manager. So how does someone who doesn’t know how to code try to judge your application and portfolio of projects? For many, an easy solution is to filter out anyone who doesn’t posses a CS degree or direct experience.

So next time you see a job on some job board, try this: Go to LinkedIn and look up the company. Find out who works in the department you want to work in and send them your resume directly to their work email with a brief explanation as to why you want to work at that company.

If you can’t get the contact details that way, call the company up and ask to speak to the manager of that department. If the operator tries to direct you to the HR department, tell them that you have some very technical questions about the job position and you just need a handful of minutes to talk to the hiring manager. Be persistent!

Assuming you’re successful and sent the hiring manager (or some person in the department) your resume directly, you’re accomplished two things: You’ve avoided all of the filters the HR department has in place. You also created some real estate in the hiring manager’s mind so that you’re more than one of the dozens of applications on their desks.

I hope this helps!