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Junior dev on the job hunt!

I know that having an elevator pitch is important. A quick 30 second sell of yourself highlighting what you bring to the table, who you are, and pretty much "why you". In the craziness of my job hunt for a Junior Dev role, I've worked on tweaking my elevator pitch over and over to not only show who I am, but how I would be a good fit for the job and company I'm applying for.

Being a career changer shifting from e-commerce + marketing to web development I make sure to mention not only my technical skills gained through bootcamp but also the transferable skills and soft skills I've developed over the years.

So first things first, let me share everything I'm doing to put myself out there.

  1. Meetups
  2. Coffee meetings with industry professionals
  3. Customizing cover letters per job application
  4. Community involvement (Twitter, local groups, mentoring etc.)
  5. Conferences
  6. Working with a mentor
  7. Practice, practice, practice! (ongoing studying and side projects)

I know that landing the first job is the toughest (or so I've been told), and that it's more of a numbers game. Getting one person to believe in you, and have that one "yes" is really all it takes. It's the hoops you need to jump through to getting that yes that's the hard part.

The reason for this blog post is pretty much trying to find out what has worked for others in terms of selling themselves and landing their first tech role. I'm looking for gaps in my methods so I know what I can improve to better leverage myself when applying for jobs.

If anyone is willing to share their stories / advice with me, please comment or reach out (@heysarahpaz), or if you know of any Junior Dev roles right now (that possibly hasn't made it to a job board yet) please let me know!

Lastly, a blog post reaching out for advice and sharing my job hunt wouldn't be complete without adding my own pitch and experience πŸ˜….

My background is in marketing and e-commerce. I've worked in e-commerce for over 5 years, and I'm currently a Digital Marketing Specialist for a fitness startup in Toronto. Just over a year ago I started my career transition into software development and graduated from a bootcamp for Software Engineering / Full Stack Web Development. I've worked with various e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, Groupby and Magento, and marketing tools such as Klaviyo, GA and Justuno. Development wise, I have experience with HTML, CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, React and Ruby. With working at startups I've learned the importance of team collaboration and how to adapt quickly, and with marketing and e-commerce I've learned how to identify opportunities to improve the user experience. I'm excited to bring those learnings into my next career, contributing towards the bigger picture and being part of a team making a positive impact.

If reading this made a πŸ’‘ go off and you're thinking I'd be a good fit for X role at X company, please reach out ➑️!


Top comments (10)

a3n3d3i profile image

Really nice C.V you have there, and also great webpage.
If I may give you my 5c I would rephrase the 30s pitch a bit differently.
From my perspective if you start with "My background is in marketing and e-commerce" you already lost the most valuable seconds of the pitch as I subconsciously lost interest as I am not looking for a marketer.
I would personally start with something like:
"I am a (juniour(can be omitted)) web developer with more than 5 years of experience in marketing and e-commerce, currently..."
I believe this will click the interest of the person you are talking right away.

heysarahpaz profile image

Thanks Andi! I think I should have mentioned that a lot of companies I have been applying for have been e-commerce related so I aimed to highlight that. But I do tweak it depending on the company I apply for and will look into shortening it up a bit and highlighting dev more and have e-commerce as the added perk instead. Thanks!

tyrannaut profile image
Tim Ryan • Edited

Some ideas around social media: research 10-20 companies you want to work for/with and figure out who would be interviewing you for a job at the level you're hoping for. Connect with these people on LinkedIn/Twitter/whatever (include a nice message about their recent articles, projects, company, etc.) and focus on getting noticed by these people. Engage with their posts. Get active posting yourself. If you're going to events, research who'll be there in advance and plan some topics to talk about. Always get a photo of you there with people and post about it. Be inescapably visible to the people you want to work with. Create interesting projects around the things you care about. Document your journey. Start discussions they can weigh in on. Share your thoughts on sector news. It wouldn't hurt to select some brand colours and weave them into your social posts and profile headers using something like Canva, either.

Sorry for the wall of text. Ended up longer than planned.

heysarahpaz profile image

Thanks Tim! I love everything you've suggested, especially being inescapably visible to the people I want to work with! I have used Canva for some self branding! My resume uses the same colors as my cover letter, and it continues on to Twitter and LinkedIn (banners). I do agree that I should get more active with posting and engaging in discussions, so I will work on that. Thanks again!

tyrannaut profile image
Tim Ryan

No problem and happy it might be of help. For ideas, you could connect with my wife, Annelies James on LinkedIn. Her online social media strategy is kind of amazing and she's had some awesome job offers and opportunities just by interacting with the right people online.

mburszley profile image
Maximilian Burszley

It looks like you're using your DEV account as a social media platform; you may want to pick a professional picture and bio to represent yourself if you're looking for work from it as well to have the best odds from employers.

joshnuss profile image
Joshua Nussbaum • Edited

Hi Sarah,

One tactic that worked for me in the past: do things to make yourself stick out from all the other candidates.

For example, say you are considering a job doing software at a bank, take a day or 2 and build a demo bank app, and then mention that in the email/cover letter. This will set you apart.

It will also help during the interview phase. You'd likely be viewed as taking initiative, being interested in their field, and having some experience.

It also helps to examine things from the perspective of the person doing the hiring. What do they want? What incentivizes them? They probably have stacks of resumes and they're probably just glancing through them. They might be afraid of making a bad choice. They probably want a safe decision.

One way to make them feel "safer" is to find jobs through folks at meetups or conferences. Your chance of getting hired via introduction/recommendation (warm open) is much higher compared to emailing a resume (cold open).

Hope that helps, good luck on your search,

heysarahpaz profile image

Hi Joshua!
Thank you for this, it's very helpful! I have been attending more meetups (prior to everything going on right now), and have had a few interviews through referrals from people I've met at meetups so I totally agree with that tip too. I'll look into narrowing down some companies that really catch my eye and see what I can try to build to send with my application, I think this is a really great idea!
Thanks so much!

juditlehoczki profile image
Judit Lehoczki (she/her)

Good read! I don't think I can give you much advice as I'm in the bootcamp phase of my career change but keeping my eyes peeled for comments here. πŸ˜„

heysarahpaz profile image

Thanks! Well, if there's anything I can help you with in regards to your bootcamp journey please reach out, I'm happy to chat.