Struggling to find employment

Hey guys, I have been spent the past 2+ years working on my front end skills, and he lave spent the last 6 months or so looking for a job.

I’m located in Charlotte, NC but have been applying to every entry level position I could find.

Here’s my portfolio for reference: http://antfreda.com/

Any pointers as to what I’m missing or any help in general would be much appreciated. Thanks

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Your portfolio site looks really nice, I have no idea why you wouldn’t get a job based on that, especially when it looks like you’ve had clients before.

One content-related criticism I might make though, is that you should put up only your client work and nothing else, because as it is now, it’s unclear if everything in your “Work” section was a client job. Also, the photos in the “Work” section are extremely stock photo-looking and could be a turn-off for some people. You might want to consider using alternate photos that don’t look like they were pulled off a stock photo site.

The only other criticism I have, which is much more important, is that your site takes way too long to load, and is also way too resource-intensive. My laptop CPU fan shot up immediately when the site began loading, and kept running, which isn’t a good thing. I’d recommend taking away some resources (particularly the constellation-like animated background which is very distracting) and making your site load much faster, like in 3 seconds at most, but you should make it faster than that if you can.

I took a quick look at your code and noticed that you’re hosting Bootstrap and jQuery on your server, which isn’t necessary and further slows your site down. You should use CDNs for those instead.

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Wow, that portfolio is hot.

I’ve been using:

  • Stack Overflow Jobs
  • WorkFromHome (WFH)
  • WeWorkRemotely
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Indeed
  • Hacker News Jobs

For searching, for what it’s worth.

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I’ll take the wall of text. It’s what I need at the moment.

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Thanks for all of that. I’ll be sure to optimize it further.
And possibly redo the work section.

Excellent post. P1xt :+1:

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I was there in my own field for over 2 years and so I know exactly how it feels. Please stay hopeful and confident.
Meanwhile, please also take what @P1xt to heart and take advantage of the carefully considered and crafted advice. It is clear that @P1xt took no small amount of time, energy, and thought into their careful, measured, and very helpful criticisms. This is the kind of ally (whoever he or she is) we all need in our lives. Word.

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I think that what @astv99 sums it up nicely.

As a visitor to the site, I thought that the portfolio items were just images for aesthetic purposes. You may want to consider reimagining this part of the site.

I felt that the site was too dark overall. You may wish to play slightly with the colors to lighten or balance the colors/contrast a little.

I think that it was wise to use a customer’s testimonial. It made sense to appear near the portfolio area, but it also felt a little out of place there. This may be a result of it following a bunch of images, and may resolve itself if the portfolio section is changed.

Because of the immense amount of black on the page, I failed to notice the navbar at first. Personally, I find this to be a serious issue because I tend to navigate quickly away from sites where I cannot immediately identify the navigation.

I would consider renaming the ‘Tools’ section to ‘Skills’, ‘Proficiencies’, or some other word that more explicitly states expertise. While ‘Tools’ suggests that, you have the skills to use the packages listed, it requires the viewer to make inferences – the less people have to infer, imagine, or guess about your skills, the better. I think it would be wise to be explicit about your abilities. Yes, it is merely semantics, but I think it makes a huge difference on how people perceive you.

Hope this helps.

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My skills range from web design, to clean and elegant front end development.
English is not my native language, but I think there shouldn’t be that comma before “to”.

When I look at your site (which is nice, btw, but background really distracting) and at your cv I see a lot of “bragging”: clean code, wide skillset, highly skilled web developer, proficiency in blabalblah, and it’s hard to get through these words to actual deeds. For example, in your cv you have lots of not-concrete stuff at the beginning. Does it even matter that you know how to use Atom? How it helps recruiter if you say “oh I know Javascript”? It’s very vague. I think, it’s advised to start cv with your work experience in reverse time order (latest at the top). You have your projects last and you don’t mention when you did them. I also feel you aren’t writing about all your projects and I think you should. Not all people will go look at those sites themselves.

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First, I’d like to take the time to thank you for taking the time to type that all out.

And secondly, this is exactly what I’ve needed. I’ve asked countless people to critique my work and resume and 99% of the time I usually get a “looks good”.

I’ll be sure to work my way through the FCC curriculum as well as completely remake my resume, while also scrapping some bits of my portfolio and fixing all the code related issues.

And I also suppose I’ll find a way to properly did play my javascript and react skills.

Once again, thanks a lot!

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@Anthonyf323 Don’t forget you need to ensure all your projects are accessibility compliant. It’s very important to have websites and mobile app accessibility compliant. I use the the WAVE toolbar http://wave.webaim.org/toolbar, there is also the Deque’s FireEyes plugin http://www.deque.com/products/fireeyes. I use both to perform evaluations for webpages I create. Example, I ran the Wave toolbar on your website, antfreda.com, which identified eight (8) accessibility errors.

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@Anthonyf323 I agree with everything @P1xt has posted so far. Knowing basic and intermediate HTML, CSS and JavaScript will only get you so far in the job market.

I work in the Federal government as an ASP.Net MVC Web Developer. I’m using FCC to expand on my JavaScript foo. For our team, we are looking to add Ruby on Rails, D3.js, React.js, Angular.js and Node.js into our tech stack. I can tell you the list of new things and technologies will never end.

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I took a look at your resume after seeing P1xt’s post and if you don’t mind, I have the following feedback on it:

  • I highly recommend condensing it down to 1 page, especially seeing as you don’t have very much work experience. Right now it’s basically 1.5 pages of fluff when you could condense it into <1 page of more relevant information.
  • A resume is not the right place to add lots of surrounding white space, like is done on most modern Web sites. Minimize your white space and use standard 1" margins.
  • Your “Profile” section is extraneous and doesn’t add any useful info. And saying that you’re “highly skilled” on your own resume makes you look arrogant, you should always let your work or other people say that about you. That’s never something you should say about yourself. Just say that you’re a “front-end Web developer”.
  • Similarly, your “Qualifications” section is extraneous and doesn’t add any useful info that’s not already in your Technical Skills.
  • In your “Technical Skills” you only have to mention either “HTML” and “CSS” or “HTML5” and “CSS3”. There’s no need to slash “HTML” with “HTML5” or “CSS” with “CSS3”. Also, use proper case—it’s “jQuery”, not “Jquery”. Finally, unless you have experience with every edition of Windows that’s ever been made, you should be specific with which editions of Windows you know. And don’t list Windows if you don’t have at least an intermediate/advanced level of expertise with it. Knowing how to use an OS is one thing, and is something that anyone can do. Not everyone knows how to hack the Registry (or even what’s in it—for example, do you know the difference between HKLM and HKCU?), or what the subfolders in \system32 or \syswow64 are for. If you know things like that, then yeah you can list Windows as a skill, otherwise take it off. Similarly with Mac and Linux—anyone can figure out how to use an OS within minutes, but can you get “under the hood” of all 3? “MacOS” should be spaced to say “Mac OS”, and there are so many distributions of Linux that you can afford to be a little more specific as to which one(s) you know—Ubuntu? Mint? Red Hat?
  • You shouldn’t bother listing skills with free programs unless they’re exceptionally difficult to use or have a steep learning curve—i.e., take out your “Development Tools” line, as it adds nothing. Any good programmer can figure out how to use a new editor within 10 minutes anyway.
  • Usually, the first people at a company that are going to read your resume when you apply are the ones in HR, who don’t know anything technical. So you should minimize the tech-speak and focus more on stuff that average people understand.
  • I recommend taking out your Education section. While being self-taught certainly has merit, in the corporate world most people would probably laugh at you. Don’t mention education if you don’t have a college degree (a 2-year degree at minimum)—and specifically mentioning that you’re self-taught from MOOCs on the Internet could actually hurt you more than not saying anything.
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If it’s not too much to ask. In what order do you believe I should make these changes?

I’m temporarily going to drop the react and wordpress from my portfolio until I have a way to properly display some skill.

I will then optimize and fix my projects and portfolio.

As well as rewriting my resume.

Will that be enough to return to applying to junior positions? Or should I put that on hold until I completely grasp everything covered in your initial response?

Thanks once more

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I’d do in incrementally. Fix the biggest issues first, then work your way down. You may want to interleave job applications throughout this process.

Hi @Anthonyf323
I would just like to add I went to your Linked in page which says you are working for a company as a lead developer, yet there is no description as to what this company does.
Again here on Linked in you have the opportunity to add projects and skills for each work.
If you are a new company seeking work have you tried to pro-actively target local businesses saying how you could improve their websites?
You also currently have a link to instagram and twitter. Fine but is a prospective employer going to like what they see? I don’t think you have to show people what you do in your personal life.

Best of luck with it!

You may also want to forego blasting out a bunch of resumes. That isn’t how people get jobs anymore. You need to attend Meetups, hackathons, users groups, join coding groups, etc. Networking is the name of the game, putting your resume in a stack of 500 other resumes isn’t going to produce very good results unless you send your resume to hundreds of companies.

Listen to this episode of JavaScript Jabber on some tips for finding a job: https://devchat.tv/js-jabber/180-jsj-finding-a-job

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Hey Anthony,

I haven’t read through all of what others have said here but I took a look at your site and resume and wanted to give some advice from my perspective. For course this is just my opinion so take it for what it’s worth.

I think the first thing to acknowledge is how rapidly the job search and interview process is evolving. Things look different now than even 6 months ago. Job search platforms like Glassdoor and companies like Lever have made it incredibly easy to apply quickly.

This opens the flood gates for companies causing even obscure startups to receive hundreds of applications for a single position. You can get an idea of the volume from sites like AngelList where you can see the number recent applications. Considering the variety of different channels, you can probably multiply those figures by some factor to get an approximate.

What this means for recruiters is that they must filter applicants aggressively. The company can only interview so many applicants and only a percentage of those interviewed will be from the outside non-referral channel. How do companies separate the signal from the noise on a resume? This is tough and my sense is that most companies don’t have a good method. That’s just because the resume is not sufficiently descriptive for the qualities that make a good engineer. It’s an old tool for a new challenge.

When you look at a resume, you’re looking for a signal that the individual would be a net positive contribution to the company. If a recruiter sees a CS degree from Stanford or prior experience at Google, that can say something. But what about the self-taught learners or people from different backgrounds? It’s difficult to make a case from the resume to interview these folks. A portfolio would be a good way to demonstrate skills, but from my experience unfortunately recruiters at this stage are seldom if ever taking the time to look at portfolios.

This sucks because I’m sure companies pass over a ton of great applicants this way. However, the cost of a false positive (hire bad engineer) is generally greater than the cost of a false negative (don’t hire good engineer). This is the way it is right now for some companies so we just have to accept that. Things will probably get better as new / existing companies develop ways to better connect applicants with opportunities. What that means for us now is that we need to think creatively and strategically about the job search process.

One approach would be to embrace the numbers game aspect and apply for many jobs across different platforms. You can expect a low conversion ratio since the method is the well worn path and non-differentiated. You may need to apply for 50 or 100 jobs to land an interview but eventually with effort, you will land a job.

Another approach would be to consider the job search on a more personal, human level. Think about ways that you can connect with the people that work for a company you are interested in. One way would be to reach out to a recruiter directly. Another possibly more effective method would be to reach out to a company engineer because you appreciated her insights on recent blog post or attend the company’s engineering panel and stick around to meet the engineers afterward.

In general, I think we’ll have success if we try to connect with people on a personal level. Companies after all are really just a collection of people aligned toward a common goal. Most people have a high antenna for passion, energy, and integrity. We’re just programmed that way. If we truly have a passion for software development, let’s seek out ways to meet with other people who share that passion. Sometimes that means pushing through the discomfort and awkwardness of say going solo to a hack-a-thon or a meetup on some topic of interest.

A couple of practical tips before I sign-off:

  1. Iterate on your resume like you iterate on your portfolio. This is what the recruiter sees and probably all they see. Don’t hesitate to share your resume to others. Incorporate their feedback and polish the thing until it shines. Here’s a couple of specific tips: Add a couple of your best projects with short description and tools used, separate out your language / frameworks into proficiency ( i.e. Advanced (3+ yrs), Intermediate (~2 yrs), Beginner (1 yr), Novice(<1yr), when you list your bullets under experience, list what you did AND how that led to a positive outcome for the business / customer. A lot of people leave out that second part.

  2. Set clear goals in terms of your application efforts and hold yourself to them. Keep a spreadsheet that tracks your process. Come up with an attainable number of companies to apply for each week or day. Studies show that if people overextend your initial commitment, they are more likely to fail and give up. Humans are habit forming machines and if you can get in a habit of applying and tracking it’s easy to keep up. Within a few weeks, you will turn into a battle hardened application warrior.

  3. Invest time every day in algorithm practice. With sustained practice over a couple of months you will gain confidence and competence in them. It’s hard to get an interview for the reasons discussed so when you do get one, you want to get in there make heads spin and light up the whiteboard. By the way, there are some opportunities popping up through these algorithm practice sites that just might get you an interview if you get really good.

Don’t underestimate the value of the human connection. Seeing your eyes light up as you walk someone through solving a tough programming challenge speaks volumes more than the words on a resume. When you come from a place of genuine passion, it shows clear as day. Then the opportunities start coming to you. Keep going. Keep taking shots on goal and you will score.

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Thank you for being open about your situation…I am a beginner and the ideas presented are invaluable