Job application flow

This is part 2 in the ‘job hunting’ series. Check out ‘Things to do before starting your job search‘.

Getting a job after graduating from your bootcamp is part luck, part skill, and 100% concentrated power of will mostly a numbers game. You can polish your personal portfolio until it sparkles, but you can’t stop companies from seeing ‘attended coding bootcamp…’ on your resume and instantly place it in the discard pile.

The process is a grind. It can take hundreds of applications and months of waiting before you land a suitable gig at a company worth working for. The monotonous process is magnified tenfold by the fact that you just spent 12 weeks learning exciting and novel things every day, and now you’re copying and pasting the same cover letter into job application templates.

To get through these next few months without losing your mind, I’m sharing the routine that I followed. It involves sending applications, following up on leads, and enhancing your programming skills.

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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.

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Final project: A good README is more important than a pristine codebase

Your README.md is where you flex your technical guns.

Recruiters (usually) aren’t coders. They hand your resume to an engineer to approve or reject for an interview. The difficult part here is that engineering time is extremely valuable. Make it as easy as possible to see your best code. Don’t make the engineer navigate through app/frontend/components/profile/userprofile.jsx:line 147 to see a code sample. Put any clever database schema decisions in your readme, add snippets of fancy queries to your readme, add code samples you’re proud of to your readme.

This highlights your best code. Having seen some code snippets, an engineer is far less likely to browse your repository and stumble on your garbage code. Note: go refactor your garbage code.

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Choosing a final project that stands out

You’ve had an idea in your head ever since you enrolled at ${bootcampName}. And now that you’ve completed most of the curriculum, you also have the skills needed to execute. Your bootcamp is giving you two weeks to build a full stack website and it seems like the perfect time to implement your idea and change the world, right?

Hang on. Now is not the time – although your project might be the next decacorn, you’re looking for something more short-term. Although your idea could hit the front page of TechCrunch and gain five million users during your final weeks of bootcamp. it’s more likely you will have only a few users – a ‘login as guest’ account and any other fake personalities you seeded your database with.

A company will spend less than a minute playing with your app. It’s your job to ensure they see the best demonstration of your abilities within that first minute.

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