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Viktoria Bors-Pajuste
Viktoria Bors-Pajuste

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From Lab to Web - Standing Out in the Job Search: The Unconventional Conventional Approach

As I started on my job search journey, the burning question was: "How can I stand out?"

I didn't wait until my bootcamp completion to explore the job market in Denmark, Estonia, and Hungary. My motivations were threefold: to see the demand for entry-level web developers, to assess the adequacy of my current skillset, and to test whether applying to jobs that met at least 50-60% of the requirements would give me interviews.

Initially, I used a cold-applying strategy, which unfortunately didn't give the desired results. Realizing the need for a different approach, I turned to Google and alternative keywords such as "non-traditional way to tech" and "career change to tech." Through this search, I discovered incredible influencers like David Roberts, who offered valuable advice.

To truly stand out, I implemented an American-UK style approach, which, although unconventional in Denmark and Hungary, proved to be effective. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Showcasing Complex, Deployed Projects: I developed 2-3 complex projects (as discussed in the previous chapter) and made sure each one was deployed. This demonstrated my proficiency and commitment.
  2. Active GitHub Presence: I maintained an active GitHub profile, regularly pushing my code as I implemented new features. Although I worked alone during the bootcamp, I recommend collaborative group projects, utilizing features like issues, branches, and merges on GitHub.
  3. Polished LinkedIn Profile and CV/Resume: I followed David Roberts' insightful book, "Stand Out In Tech," for optimizing my LinkedIn and GitHub profiles. As for my CV, I could add a personal touch, incorporating colors, pictures, and sections like “fun facts”. This section to give potential coworkers a glimpse into my personality (like I am a morning person, so probably I am going to be the first one in the office).
  4. Networking Efforts: Networking was challenging, alongside blogging and content creation. I began by joining relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, observing discussions and hot topics. Gradually, I engaged by asking questions about code and seeking assistance. I connected with like-minded individuals, influencers, and professionals in the coding community. My LinkedIn feed is now full of fascinating content about coding journeys, problems, interview tips, and inspiring people.
  5. Blogging and Content Creation: I documented my journey during one of my projects and continued writing posts about topics that interested me. My blog became a fusion of personal anecdotes related to tech, jobs, and my learning process.
  6. Follow-Up Emails: Uncommon in Denmark and Hungary, I found follow-up emails to be exceptionally helpful. They allowed me to learn from my mistakes and identify areas for improvement. I also sent follow-up emails after each interview round to gain insights about what to expect, enhancing my preparation.

While these strategies might seem typical in some countries, they were unconventional in the regions I applied to. I took the risk, believing that my approach could help me stand out. Fortunately, it bore fruit, resulting in interviews and job offers, which I'll discuss in the next chapter.

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