Things to do before starting your job search

Do these things once, but do them very well. If you knock these out of the park at the beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache later in the process (you’ll probably get a job sooner, too!).

Before you start the process, make sure your tangibles are pristine. Recruiters read hundreds of resumes and cover letters each day, and if you’re the only one with a typo in your ‘experience’ section, guess which resume is going in the trash? Have a few developer friends look over your resume and take their feedback very seriously. It’s important to do this now before you’ve sent 50+ wasted applications.

Writing cover letters? You should have a template where 80% can be repurposed for whatever company it’s going to (If you’re starting from scratch for every company, you’re probably wasting a lot of time). Make sure the boilerplate is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tip: have a friend proofread it.

Make a personal website and use it as a portal to your various projects. Use squarespace if you’re not confident in your abilities as a designer, you just want a page where employers can browse through all the wonderful things you’ve made. Link to the live demo as well as the code (and have a good readme). Set up Google Analytics to watch traffic. It doesn’t affect your chances of getting hired, but it can be encouraging to see all the people looking at your projects.

Everything employers might see should have solid styling. This demonstrates your attention to detail and reflects the kind of employee you will be (one who doesn’t cut corners). If you’re applying to front-end positions this is doubly true. “But it’s just a simple-” – wrong. If it’s not worth styling, it probably isn’t worth adding to your portfolio.

Check your voicemail greeting – chances are you’ll miss a call at some point during the job search and you don’t want a message you recorded in college to kill your chances with an employer.

Reach out to friends – look at your LinkedIn, look through your Facebook. Don’t be shy. If you see a friend who works at a company where you’d like to interview, send them a message. If there is a job opening, an employee referral is many times more likely to yield an interview. Often, recruiters will even skip several stages in the hiring process because you had a current employee vouch for you.

Sign up for Triplebyte. Their mantra aligns perfectly with the bootcamp model – resumes and whiteboard problems don’t demonstrate your skills as a developer. They recruit for companies seeking talented developers who might not have “10 years of React experience” on their resume. They have a great practice test for evaluating your fundamentals. If you’re able to pass that, Triplebyte offers a rigorous 3-hour live interview after which you’ll get very good feedback on where you should spend your time. If you can’t pass (most bootcamp grads won’t!), the experience is definitely worth the time and shows you where to focus your studying efforts.

Once you’ve done this, check out the next post: Daily workflow for job hunting

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