Job Hunting as a Junior Developer

…or any profession really 🙂

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

It has been quite some time since I posted a blog and I almost forgot how much joy it brings me expressing my feelings on this platform. A lot of things have happened post-graduation which had led me to be MIA. One of the primary reasons why is because I’ve been very focused on looking for a job.

I knew that job hunting would be tough, but I did not expect it to be this exhausting (good thing BrainStation taught me how to persevere in rough times like this). Although I do not currently have a job, I wanted to take this time to share my thoughts and perhaps try and provide some advice to others that might be experiencing the same thing.

1. How to deal with rejection

Honestly, I feel that I have received more rejection letters than error codes in the last few weeks. At first, it was very degrading. I felt that I was not worthy enough to be a developer, let alone be accepted at a junior position. I have gotten used to viewing emails and immediately scanning for the “we regret to inform you” or “unfortunately” lines.

Of course, this is a very negative way to look at it and it did take me quite some time to get used to it. Now I do not mean that you have to get used to rejection, but I feel that you need to be in the right state emotionally of the idea of rejection (not sure if that made sense, haha). Let me try to elaborate, to this day I still receive rejection letters. Instead of feeling discouraged, I take the opportunity to find out why I may not have been qualified and take everything as a learning experience. With every rejection letter, I respond with a thank you and seek for advice that would help me get a little closer to landing my first job.

It is super important to have a positive mindset rather than a negative (easier said than done of course) because you miss out on opportunities to better yourself when you are feeling down. With this tweak in my mindset, I have gotten numerous advice from multiple people which led me to land phone interviews and even on-site interviews.

2. Networking

Another aspect of job hunting that I learned was networking. Sometimes it really is who you know that helps you land that job. A simple referral can definitely go a long way. Most of the interviews that I have gotten lately were due to referrals.

I currently am the lead volunteer at the React Vancouver meetup and I have met so many people along the way that has helped formulate my pitch. Whether it be physically meeting them in-person or reaching out to them via Slack, I feel that I have been able to reach out to people more requesting advice or assistance.

On the flip-side, you as an individual have to be approachable. I know myself well enough through my experiences as a dance choreographer/director, being a team lead at Best Buy mobile, having the outgoing personality that I am able to give off that approachable atmosphere. This can be tough for some people that are more introverted and honestly, that is definitely okay. Do not feel that you have to act like a different person. Besides, if you’re not honest with yourself, how can you be honest towards a future employer?

For those that have difficulties networking, I urge you to take a leap out of your comfort zone and start off small. Perhaps reach out to people on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. Or have someone help you develop your skills by practicing your pitch. I believe in you. Now it’s your turn to believe in yourself.

3. Practice Makes Permanent

Last thing I would like to talk about it your skill set. I admit that when I first started applying for jobs, all I focused on was seeing how many resumes I can send out. Clearly, that wasn’t the right approach because in doing so, I almost forgot how DOM manipulation works with VanillaJS or how to create a new React App and use React Router.

As important as it is to keep grinding out resumes and building connections with others, it is no use to a potential employer if you do not have the skills to back it up.

What helps me is constructing a schedule or a to-do list (heck, you can even hit two birds with one stone and create a todo-list using JS). I make it a goal to apply to at least 3 companies a day followed by solidifying a skill or learning something new. So far it has helped me because I know I am getting myself out there in the tech-world all while practicing my skills as a developer.

Conclusion

If you have read this far, please know that you are worth it. Do not let rejection letters get to you and know your self-worth. If someone like myself who has never met you can believe in your craft, I know a future employer can and will too.

Build your network and be kind to one another. Allow yourself to give value to others because I assure you that you will learn something out of it.

Focus 10000% on your skills/craft because as I mentioned before, no one is going to hire you if you don’t have the right skills, to begin with.

Having said all that, I too am still looking for my first junior position, but I know I am getting closer and closer to my goals. And who knows, maybe my next article will be about how I got my first developer job! 🙂