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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.