What did you guys do to stand out?

Some of you guys really clobbered the competition and I thought a thread on how you stood out would help a lot of us.

In my situation I really want a remote position, a tough goal when you’re a junior but I’m already outside the US (as a US citizen) and moving back would kinda suck.

A few things I will note from the success threads of other developers here:

  1. Quality over quantity (for your portfolio)
  2. Custom tailor the pieces you show to each employer
  3. Use recruiters as a personal sales force. Can be found on Linkedin
  4. Mold your professional life in a story that frames programming as your natural path/destiny. The founder of Viking Code School told me about this one.
  5. (For remote people) Have evidence that you are a self starter who can work independently.

Looking forward to seeing what you guys suggest :slight_smile:

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All great tips up above!

If you want to go extra step, I would really tailor your application towards the company you want to work. Couple caveats:

  • When I say tailor, I do not mean changing the first line of your cover letter
  • This approach will take a long time to prepare and research and may end up not working.
  • Only use this approach to convince a company you really want to work!

Craft a personal application and host it as a website.
Here is an example: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/airbnb-ceo-san-francisco-middle-east-travel-and-tourism-cv-linkedin-employment-a8158311.html

You have to tailor this project/application towards something specific about the company that you have researched, understood and thought deeply about. Maybe it is a new direction for the market. If you are UX designer, perhaps you saw something on their website that could be improved, maybe you noticed issue with an accessibility - great! Develop a page lifted from their website and implement all the best practices and showcase those.

If you are more of a backend minded, perhaps a company exposes some API and you can build something cool with their APIs.

Perhaps build their landing page as PWA or even utilizing something like React Native!

It all depends what they are looking for, what you have to offer and how far you are prepared to go with it.

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All excellent suggestions, but I wanted to hit on #5 a little more. Even when you’re freelancing, being able to deliver on time is HUGE. I think time management and self discipline are skills that are just as important to strengthen as knowing whatever languages you’re looking to use.

Set timers, break bigger tasks into smaller ones, and definitely work someplace with little to zero distractions if possible. You have to be your own boss in a sense.

Also when gauging how long something will take for you to do, always add a bit of buffer time to the estimate. Because you never know when you’re going to hit a snag and something might not work, or there’s a sudden change to the project scope you now need to account for. If you allot yourself some buffer time, you can use it up to hopefully sort out whatever issues you might be having. And as a bonus, let’s say you don’t need that extra time in the end, you’ve finished earlier and that looks great for you.

One last thing I’ll mention (which might sound a bit counter intuitive to what I’ve talked about so far) is to take breaks. Like allot yourself time to get up and walk around, have a drink, eat something. This is especially helpful when you’re working on something that’s frustrating you. Sometimes just getting up and doing anything else will help clear your mind and let you refocus.

I’ve gotten up to make myself lunch and had possible solutions pop into my head. I think it’s the act of doing something completely unrelated to coding that allows your brain to kinda reboot.