Job Hunting in 2017: Web Development

“The average number of people who apply for a job posting is 118. Twenty-three of those applicants get called in for an interview. And of course, only one gets the job.” – How To Ace the Post-Interview Thank You Note

Yes, you have to have your web portfolio and a resume ready. Perhaps you have double checked it inside out, including considering the 12 Things Web Developers Must Include in Their Portfolios and have referred to 41 of the Best Resume Templates Ever. You are aware of imposter syndrome, and are still confidently moving ahead, letting your work shine and show your best. You are mentally prepared, and even know the 5 Interview Moves That’ll Go Over Better Than Trying to Sell Yourself.

But there’s more to the job search than that! The job hunt of 2017 for a web development job is far more contemporary than even a few years ago. Expect to mainly be contacted via email rather than telephone for quite a bit of the communication. Additionally, might also find yourself receiving your first points of contact through video via Skype or Google Hangout as well. Here is an overview of some things to keep in mind as you job hunt.

Digital Interviewing Skills

Being such a new technology, don’t be caught by surprise and unprepared!

“From enhancing your sound quality to making sure your body language sends the right message on that small screen, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your digital presence is as professional and polished as your IRL persona.” – The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview

Colors Matter

“While you want to dress professionally (again, from head to toe, not head to waist), don’t just pull out any old interview outfit—take care to make sure what you’re wearing works for video. “Certain colors, like many shades of blue—royal, navy, sky blue—look great on video, while others like reds and hot colors like magenta can be too bright,” says job search expert Alison Doyle.” – The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview

The “Digital Handshake”

Just like your in-person interviews, first impressions really matter. “The first five seconds will make or break your digital interview,” says Bailo. “It is those few seconds, when the hiring manager sees you and you see the hiring manager that the digital chemistry is created. That is when this person hopefully thinks, ‘I like what I see, I want to engage in this digital conversation.’”

The first step to creating that digital chemistry? What Bailo calls a “digital handshake.” Think a “slow, confident, professional, firm nod” with “a slight shoulder bend and eyes forward—the other person should not see the top of your head.” When you can’t physically greet the hiring manager, this simple gesture shows that you’re excited to be there and ready to get down to business.

From then on, focus on keeping your eyes on the camera—not on the view from your screen. “Your eyes need to look straight into the camera, so it appears on the other end you are looking right at the other person,” says Bailo. His tip? “Try downloading a photo of the hiring manager, printing it, and making a hole in the photo to allow the camera lens to see through. Now you can look at the photo, which makes it more human to conduct your digital interviews.” (Just keep it small—you still want to be able to see your screen!)

The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview

How to Act

“Someone I was Skype-interviewing with was so motionless, I thought for a while the screen was frozen,” a colleague recently shared with me. Lesson learned: Make sure your body language expresses that you’re engaged and, well, alive. “As you’re communicating, lean forward,” suggests Bailo. “This will show interest and concern and will engage your audience. It will also convey eagerness and willingness to listen.” – The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview

“Look at the camera, not the screen. It is very tempting to watch yourself or your interviewer during a Skype session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.” – 13 tips for nailing a Skype interview

“Don’t be afraid to help yourself with post-it notes or a copy of your resume handy when you interview. A benefit of having a Skype interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you so that you don’t have to memorize everything you want to mention.” – 13 tips for nailing a Skype interview

“Make sure the interviewer is engaged. Stop every once in awhile and make sure your interviewer is engaged in what you are saying. Being aware of the interest level of your interviewer is crucial in a Skype interview since they may have interesting e-mails pop up that direct attention away from you.” – 13 tips for nailing a Skype interview

Sound Equipment

Bailo, a digital marketing technology executive and author of The Essential Digital Interview Handbook, mentions the importance of good sound for a video interview as well and “…recommends upgrading your mic, which will make sure that every word you say is heard loud and clear. ‘Blue makes an outstanding product specifically for interviewing called the Snowball—you are going to love it and sound fantastic!'” – The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview

This Snowball brand is definitely worth looking into. For the price, it is both affordable and easy to use. Additionally besides high quality sound, one can consider an even more incredible back drop for a video interview, by making your own Skype Studio.

Rehearse It

“Practice makes perfect. Doing a run through interview with a friend beforehand is helpful because your first few Skype calls are likely to feel awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen. Play around with everything beforehand so that when it’s interview time, you can shine without being distracted by the program.” 13 tips for nailing a Skype interview

When it comes to actually imagining a web development interview, Skillcrush provides a very helpful pretend interview that covers some of the things you might be asked. The speaker answers confidently as a professional in the industry:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yjsq_Kp5Ju0

The Importance of a Thank-You Note

“Your interview isn’t over until you send a thank you note.” – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Thank You Notes – The Muse

Be fast about sending a thank you note after an interview. Also, this letter is not at all optional and without one you could even lose your chance for being considered for the job:

“Not sending a timely thank you really can make or break you. In fact, CareerBuilder found that nearly one third of hiring managers would think less of a candidate if they didn’t send a thank you note after an interview.” – How To Ace the Post-Interview Thank You Note

Timeliness of your thank you note is really everything. A whopping 86% of hiring managers feel that the lack of a timely thank you shows that a candidate lacks follow through . You want to stay fresh in your interviewer’s mind, and reinforce the positive impression you left on him or her sooner rather than later. Your thank you note should be sent on the same day that you had your interview. Ideally, within a few hours after the interview.

Don’t get it twisted – sending your thank you note as you’re walking out the front door of the interview is definitely too eager. But sending an hour or two after your interview has ended is completely appropriate.

How To Ace the Post-Interview Thank You Note

Personalize It

“Do share something memorable from your interview. Share what really resonated for you during your interview. This could be something that your interviewer said, or something you gathered about the company in the interview or job description, and how it aligns with you as a candidate. Anything you can do to stay memorable in your interviewer’s mind will put you one step ahead of the other candidates.” – How To Ace the Post-Interview Thank You Note

So in review, here are the 3 rules for Thank You notes while job hunting:

  1. Send one. Always.
  2. Send it fast.
  3. Make an impact.

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Thank You Notes – The Muse

Unsure of what to say? Use Alex Cavoulacos’ thank you note template.

Types of Interviews

Initially, the two first point of contact may consist of a phone screening that resembles an interview:

“While there are a near-limitless number of possible tasks that could be asked of you during the technical phone screen, the common link between them all is for you to demonstrate a basic understanding of coding and development principles. You might be asked to write a simple method in JavaScript, stylize an HTML document in CSS, describe common data structures, explain object-oriented concepts and so on.” – How to Ace the Web Developer Job Interview – The Ultimate Guide

After this, something called a behavior interview might be administered. It might be over the phone, in person, or both:

“A behavioral interview involves questioning you in such a way as to learn about your typical behavior in past situations. In many cases, with candidates who are just entering the job market, there is very limited past experience, so the questions may be more geared toward the psychological reactions to theoretical scenarios (for example, “Describe an instance where you were facing a particularly difficult development problem and what steps you took to work through that issue.”)” – How to Ace the Web Developer Job Interview – The Ultimate Guide

Meet the Team Interviews

Perhaps similar to a screening interview, there is a type of interview that involves just meeting your potential coworkers. This approach can save time and resources because you meet the entire group all at once. Reddit has a really good post on the matter and above all, the  most important thing to keep in mind no matter what form the interview takes, is that every interaction you have with a company you’re potentially working for is an interview.

Take-Home Assignments

For web development, it is not uncommon to be given a test or a sample assignment.

“Some companies include a coding challenge as part of the interview process since they can be predictive of a coder’s future success and lets interviewers see a candidate’s skills in practice. They can take as little as fifteen minutes to complete, on up to a few hours. While this may be intimidating to think about, it’s actually a great opportunity to showcase your skillset.” – How to Ace the Web Developer Job Interview – The Ultimate Guide

Two really important points are covered in Newsweek’s article entitled “Here’s What the Hiring Manager’s Actually Looking For in That (Dreaded) Take-Home Assignment”:

Don’t Agonize Over Finding the “Right” Answer

If you haven’t been hired yet, you shouldn’t be expected to know all the nitty-gritty details about a company. And hiring managers know this!

Sure, the assignment is a great way for the company to see how you would address a real business problem, but it would be unrealistic to expect even the most qualified candidates to present a solution that could be implemented immediately. Again, I can’t reiterate this enough: The person who assigned this is completely aware of that fact!

And because of this, you shouldn’t stay up late focusing only on getting the “right” answer. Odds are, there isn’t only one right answer.

Depending on your expertise, this might manifest itself in a number of ways. If you’re a programmer who’s being asked to write some sample code, the hiring manager is going to be way more interested in how quickly you identify the mistakes you’ve made. And before you say, “Well, I won’t make any mistakes,” don’t worry, you will. The same goes for those of you who are writers, marketers, or sales people. You will mess up somewhere in the assignment.

Here’s What the Hiring Manager’s Actually Looking For in That (Dreaded) Take-Home Assignment – Newsweek.com

Don’t Psych Yourself Out

How many times have you looked at the email outlining the requirements and thought to yourself, “If I can’t do this, how would I possibly excel in the actual job?”

Here’s the thing, though: If you weren’t capable of doing the job, you wouldn’t have been sent home with it in the first place.

In fact, the take-home assignment should actually be a huge boost to your confidence. When you’re asked to complete one, it’s a clear indication that the hiring manager’s excited to see how you’d tackle a problem similar to one the organization’s been dealing with. In other words, the company’s struggled with the issue in the past and would love to hear your input!

Here’s What the Hiring Manager’s Actually Looking For in That (Dreaded) Take-Home Assignment – Newsweek.com

Ultimately, don’t spend too much time on the assignment. You’re not being paid for it, so it should not be treated like an actual work assignment. It is more like a sample of your work. For a graphic image of how your behavior, read about the colorful story about the programmer that should have been hired “on the spot” simply because of how he behaved during his test. For more on approach and cautions to take concerning a job assignment, see The Muse’s article entitled: What Every Job Seeker Should Know About Work Assignments During the Interview Process

Job Hunting Nightmares

Scams and phony job offers have always been around, but the latest way they tend to rear their ugly head is in the form of recruiters. So if you receive a call from one and they give you a bad feeling, that uncomfortable reaction is probably quite real:

First of all, funny enough, most developers seem to agree recruiters are (with a few exceptions) horrible people. Their only focus usually is money, not making the connection between a person and a company that seem to be a good fit.

I agree with the above. There are a few exceptions, people who really do care about the people that they represent as well as the companies they represent, but I’ve dealt with too many recruiters that:

  • alter CVs
  • send 10 CVs to a company at once
  • send random e-mails to everyone in their database, regardless of any matches in skills vs requirements
  • actually call people at work to try and get them to change jobs

And that list can go on and on and on.

Finding a job without a recruiter

One Last Thought

This one comes from personal experience. Check your spam folder. For every openly fake email job recruiter sending out messages to people, there might actually be a gem hiding in your inbox but the email provider directed to the wrong place. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make a Web Developer Resumé

According to an article by portfoliotips.com, Why Your Resumé Won’t get you Hired as a Web Developer, “Your resumé and cover letter are not what’s going to get you an interview. Employers judge your initial application based on the quality of your portfolio and online footprint.”

Wait, what? And here’s another shocker:

You shouldn’t spend too much time on your cover letter, because it will probably just be ignored anyway.

Yep, it’s fair to say that a lot of the traditional wisdom about jobs (spending tons of time crafting a perfect cover letter, yada yada…) just doesn’t apply for developers. People who review applications for developers told me that they would only briefly glance at a cover letter, if at all. If you’d like to hear more about what those recruiters had to say, check out my interviews with a lead developer and CTO.

So what does matter when you’re applying for a dev job? Your work! Be prepared to show off the projects that you’ve taken on (also, be sure to get involved in lots of awesome projects). Link to your GitHub account, your personal website, and any other live examples of your work. This is worlds more important than anything you can explain in a few paragraphs.

-Melissa Suzuno’s article, 5 Not-So-Hidden Secrets About Working as a Web Developer

Make a Portfolio First

Your portfolio is the first thing potential employers will look at when considering you, so it needs to be a real reflection of your skills and yourself.

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Clearly, having a good web portfolio is possibly even more important than the resumé itself. It shows what the applicant can actually do and how they do it. So before you even write a resumé, have the portfolio completed first*!

“Your resumé and cover letter are not what’s going to get you an interview. Employers judge your initial application based on the quality of your portfolio and online footprint.”

Why Your Resumé Won’t get you Hired as a Web Developer, portfoliotips.com

*Learning will be ongoing. But don’t go crazy from worrying about it.

Research Potential Jobs

In order to create a good resumé, it is a good idea to look at actual job ads, especially if the experience is limited. Look at anything – even for the ones that are not available in your area. This will help you get a feel for what to look for and what is required for similar jobs.

Developajob.com provides details on how to Become a Front-End Web Developer and how to Become a Back-End Web Developer, listing the traits that make the position a good fit. Skillcrush also has an article entitled 10 Jobs You Need to Know About When You’re New to Tech that describes a few of the best agency jobs for beginners, along with describing the job itself, average salary, common qualifications, along with a concluding bits of information about the job under “Is this the career path for you?”. This list serves as a reference guide that is both an overview and summary of many of the main web-related jobs that currently exist.

  1. Visual Designer
  2. Copywriter
  3. Web Developer
  4. Web Designer
  5. Front-End Developer
  6. Content Marketer
  7. Researcher
  8. Illustrator
  9. QA Analyst
  10. Data Analyst

(Source: 10 Jobs You Need to Know About When You’re New to Tech Skillcrush)

Some Background Information

jobs-edited-500-opt

(Image credit) [originally featured from: Not An Imposter: Fighting Front-End Fatigue]

“Keep in mind that job ads tend to list more (sometimes WAY more!) requirements and “nice-to-haves” than are really expected from candidates. Never hurts to ask, right?! Don’t let this discourage you though. If you can handle most of what they’re looking for, you’ll probably be at least considered for the role.”

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Creating The Resumé

From a web development standpoint, the most important areas to focus on are the following: “previous work and internships, school, degree (probably in that order).” (How to Get a Front-End Developer Job, Interview with Micah Jaffe, CTO of Fair Loan Financial)

Previous Work And Internships

Experience comes first. Go ahead and move that “Education” down a click. After a few years of work, your recent experience is more relevant than your major or your GPA, and you want your work to be the first thing potential employers see.”

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

No need to list education first! When it comes to web development, it doesn’t even belong there. In fact, degrees don’t matter, either and here is why:

Sure, if you majored in computer science and got some impressive skillz as a result, that’s super. But if you have the determination and the stick-to-itiveness to teach yourself how to code, that’s more important than any degree.

Mike Feineman, lead developer at social media agency Room 214 says, “Self-taught programmers have a better drive, and are passionate learners. In other words, exactly the kind of people I want on my team.” So go out there and get coding!

-Melissa Suzuno’s article, 5 Not-So-Hidden Secrets About Working as a Web Developer

Plus, considering how technology is always changing, interest to learn is actually a valued trait in this field.

“… I expect college hires to not come in with an immediately useful skill set, so I look for sharp enthusiasm for the company or industry.”

(How to Get a Front-End Developer Job, Interview with Micah Jaffe, CTO of Fair Loan Financial)

“In general, good candidates keep a conversation going, aren’t attempting to nail what feels like the right answer first, fast. Thoughtful discourse is a winner even if it’s wandering into a blind alley. Backtracking and recovering are important skills. Smart questions about the business are awesome. Debates in the interview are not.”

(How to Get a Front-End Developer Job, Interview with Micah Jaffe, CTO of Fair Loan Financial)

And along with enthusiasm, what else should web development students being doing? In an interview with Micah Jaffe, CTO of Fair Loan Financial concerning How to Get a Front-End Developer Job, answers that thought:

What steps would you recommend a student take to best prepare for a career in this field?

Learn humility. Because you can be hired anywhere as a software developer does not make it itself a vital component of being good at your job. Fifteen+ years in Silicon Valley have given me some archetypes to work with and prima donnas are ones to avoid.

Software development is team driven. It could be entirely anecdotal but I’ve found smart kids who have had to learn how to work as part of a team elsewhere (sports, music, etc.) fit faster and require less hand-holding.

Learn hierarchy. Even in a “flat” environment, giving respect earns respect. Honesty and severity do not need to share the same emotional investment.

Network early, often. Don’t live in a cave. Who you know helps you all the time whether it’s working through a gnarly programming problem or finding your next job.

Keep learning. What you know for what you need to get done can often shift dramatically even in a year. Being good at and specializing a skill set can keep your paychecks fat for four to five years, but that doesn’t mean it will keep you happy or fulfilled for the long run.

So keep learning AND…

Focus on the fundamentals has always been my mantra. If you can build good sh!t and solve problems then that’s all that matters, how you solve them (the tools) has and will always change. – Not An Imposter: Fighting Front-End Fatigue

Describing Job Experience

So again and again, it is stressed that experience and job skills gained from actual experience is the most important part of a resumé for a web developer. Do not make experience listed in a resumé a “regurgitation of your job description – In most cases, recruiters care less about what you did day to day (like answer phones and email) and more about what you accomplished over time (like increased customer satisfaction 20%).

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

Instead, focus on accomplishments:

Pick a few statements to take one step further, and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

Make sure all of the experience on your resumé is updated. Add any awards you’ve received, new skills you’ve taken on, articles you’ve published, or anything else awesome you’ve done.

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

As a web developer, projects are the main accomplishments. In Why Your Resumé Won’t get you Hired as a Web Developer, portfoliotips.co suggests giving the following details:

List out each of the projects that you completed in your resumé, or describe them when talking about past positions. Explain your role on the project, what parts of the work you completed and the results of the work (i.e. X installs, Y new users). At the end of this, include a link to the live project, a blog post about it, an online portfolio entry, or a page with screenshots of the work.

Additionally, when it comes to school-related web projects or especially internships, you still may be able to at least include that work in a portfolio. If you learned and applied something from it, it can potentially be worth sharing and even resumé material.

Job Titles and Sectioning

This might also come a surprise, but according to Melissa Suzuno’s article, 5 Not-So-Hidden Secrets About Working as a Web Developer, job titles also don’t matter:

Every web developer I spoke with told me the same thing—no one has an official title. Titles just aren’t that important in their departments or even their companies.

What this means for you is that when you’re looking for a job, you don’t really need to look for any fancy-pants titles. Just stick to simple things like “web developer” and you’ll be golden.

This also means that the structure of many engineering or web development teams is relatively flat. Just remember, as Micah Jaffe, CTO of FairLoan Financial, reminds us in his interview, a flat structure doesn’t mean you can dispense with respect and courtesy to your coworkers.

Sectioning

For clarity, it is a good idea to keep the overall style of a resumé simple:

Each section should be labeled clearly and professionally. Although it may be tempting to label your work experience as something more creative, the classic “Work Experience” is a good option. If you want to highlight a specific type of experience like customer service, a label such as “Customer Service Experience” could also work. Just keep in mind that simple headings make your resumé more readable.

Career Edge 5x Resumé, Networking, and Interview Skills Course, edx.org

The approach described above displays all work details into one section, which keeps the format simple. However, it is also pointed out that creating an additional, more specific label has benefits because it separates the relevant information into a better place where it cannot be missed. Here are two more examples of such applications for listing job skills:

Consider adding a qualifications section. (Perhaps in lieu of your now-deleted “Career Objective?”) This should be a six-sentence (or bullet pointed) section that concisely presents the crème of the crop of your achievements, major skills, and important experiences. By doing this, you’re both appeasing any applicant tracking systems with keywords and giving the hiring manager the juicy, important bits right at the top.

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

 “If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own (“Language Skills” or “Software Skills”).”

https://www.themuse.com/advice/45-quick-changes-that-help-your-resumé-get-noticed

Working in multiple jobs within the same organization via a promotion can make sectioning skills all the more important. In Adrian Granzella Larssen’s article, 2 Jobs, 1 Company: How to Show Multiple Positions on Your Resumé, tips are provided as to how to show such advancements within a company look like a good thing, instead of some sort of hard to read and complicated list.

What Education Not to Include

If you’re more than three years out of college, remove your graduation year. Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

Unless you’re a recent grad, GPAs aren’t applicable to most job search settings. Instead of using space to highlight your school accomplishments, focus on what you’ve done since then. If you did astoundingly well in school, use terms instead of numbers, like “summa cum laude” or “with Honors.”

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

References

The phrase, “References upon request” is not necessary to include on a resumé:

Two reasons:

  • The people reading your resumé know. They don’t think you’ll refuse to provide references. They’re not sitting there going Phew! They HAVE references, they’re just not HERE.
  • It sounds pretentious, and that line takes up valuable real estate.

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Demonstrate Up-to-Date Tech Skills

It is a waste of resumé space to list basic computer skills on a resumé. In fact, it could do more harm than good:

These days, employers expect proficiency in word processing, typing, and Internet use. Listing outdated skillsets can give an employer the impression that you’re not up to speed.

If you need to brush up on tech skills and aren’t sure what to highlight, try this: Instead of dating yourself with lines like “proficient in Excel,” try talking about your experience in data analysis.

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Examples of more modern skills (related to web development) that are better to mention on a resumé include things like these:

  • Web design / UX / Photoshop
  • Version control (Git / GitHub)
  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • Responsive web design
  • CSS preprocessors like Sass or Less
  • Frameworks like Backbone.js, Angular.js, or Node.js, etc. or Ruby on Rails
  • A CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Create a Brand

Finding ways to stand out from other applicants is extremely important. In SkillCrush’s article, 12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job, it is recommended one definitely should “create a custom personal logo to use across your documents” as a means of personal branding. Finding ways to show branding is so essential because:

Your online footprint is part of your personal brand. Your brand doesn’t just mean the colors you’ve selected for your website. It’s the way someone feels about you when they view your application. If your application looks sloppy and rushed, the employer is unlikely to feel excited to work with you, expecting that you produce sloppy work. If your application is bursting with awesome projects that you’re passionate about, then a reviewer is going to at least want to speak with you to find out more.

Why Your Resumé Won’t get you Hired as a Web Developer, portfoliotips.co

Create a Story

Telling a story can not only shine through in a cover letter, but also in the resumé. Limit the actual number of job positions listed to 4 or 5 per section when creating a story in a resumé. Too many points might cause things to be too hard to follow if too much is being discussed.

The key is to cut off your resumé when the jobs stop telling a story. For example, the restaurant you opened 10 years ago before changing careers isn’t part of your “career story” today. If you want to bring up older work history, feel free to do so in the interview.

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Resumé, Skill Crush

Below are some story-friendly elements that can potentially be used in a resumé. Just make sure to link to them appropriately:

Definitely include (if you have them)

  • Your portfolio. If you don’t have a portfolio you really should, it doesn’t need to be fancy. A simple static HTML page will do, showing screenshots and an overview of projects you’ve worked on.
  • Recent projects. For each include a screenshot, live example (if possible), link to source code (if public), paragraph explaining what the project is, and what you did on it (keep this part as brief as possible).
  • Open source projects. Links to your own projects that you’ve open sourced, project that you’ve worked on as an employee, or any other OS projects that you’ve contributed to.

Other things you might want to include

  • Blog posts. These are great for judging your ability to communicate.
  • Stack Overflow. Or activity in another relevant community i.e. /r/webdev, codepen, dribbble.
  • SlideShare. Any presentations, including Meetups, conferences, or presentations that are a work in progress.

Why Your Resumé Won’t get you Hired as a Web Developer, portfoliotips.

Résumé Layout

Look at your resumé “above the fold.” In other words, take a close look at the top third of your resumé—the part that will show up on the screen when the hiring manager clicks “open” on that PDF. That’s what’s going to make your first impression—so make sure it serves as a hook that makes the hiring manager eager to read more.

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

Use Bullet Points

“Since employers will likely be scanning your resumé, format your words to pop out at the reader. Instead of big blocks of text, use 4-7 bullet points to describe each section of work experience.”

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Begin bullet statements with verbs. Use a variety of verbs throughout your resumé. For current jobs, use the present tense; all previous jobs should use the past tense. Make sure these verbs are active. For example, “Processed,” is a good way to start a bullet statement. On the other hand, “Was responsible for processing,” is not active, so you shouldn’t use it. Some powerful verbs include:

Analyzed

Collaborated

Conducted

Controlled

Coordinated

Created

Designed

Developed

Established

Evaluated

Executed

Generated

Implemented

Improved

Increased

Launched

Led

Maximized

Organized

Prepared

Quantified

Reduced

Secured

Strengthened

Source: Career Edge 5x Resumé, Networking, and Interview Skills Course, edx.org

Keep it Short!

A resumé should be just one page long. It should be easy to skim and “showcase the most important information.” –The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Resumé, Skill Crush

The most important and hardest part of creating a resumé is pruning it down to the most essential information. The best resumés actually DON’T include a record of your entire history—they highlight the most relevant information for the specific industry and role you’re applying for.

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Resumé, Skill Crush

Different Position, Different Resumé

Going back to the web development thought that “titles don’t matter”, flexibility is also something that must shine through a resumé:

Never limit yourself to an industry because you feel limited by your skill set. Organizations need talent in a variety of areas. Just because you haven’t heard of a position doesn’t mean it’s not out there. And if it’s not out there, feel free to create a resumé for it!

Career Edge 5x Resumé, Networking, and Interview Skills Course, edx.org

This requires a bit of extra work, but candidates who tailor their resumés to specific positions are more successful job-hunters than those who send a generic resumé as a part of all their applications.

Career Edge 5x Resumé, Networking, and Interview Skills Course, edx.org

“Instead of thinking of your resumé as one document, think of it as a template that you tweak and cater to each role you apply for. That means you won’t always feature the same work history or other information.”

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Resumé, Skill Crush

Aside from actual resumé content, creating separate resumés for various situations can also be useful when submitting applications under different formats, such as email, online, or via applicant tracking system. Additionally, a link to a resumé on an about page of a portfolio is a great way to make an increased online presence along with examples of your best work.

Make sure the resumé you share online isn’t editable — save it as a PDF instead of a .doc. Some people can’t open .docs, and it’s also more professional to share a PDF.

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Resumé, Skill Crush

Watch Out For Abbreviations

Find any acronyms, and write out the full name of the title, certification, or organization. You should include both, at least the first time, to make sure the recruiter knows what you’re talking about and so an applicant tracking system will pick it up no matter which format it is looking for. For example: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

Formatting Numbers

Quantity

In the spirit of providing a lot of information in a short amount of time, try adding percentages to your resumé. “Increased conversion rates by 15%” sounds a whole lot more impressive and memorable than “Improved conversion rates.” You don’t have to be exact, but make sure you’re telling the truth!

Show me the numbers. Well, the numerals.

Go back to those numbers and change them to numerals. “30% traffic increase” pops out on the page more than “Thirty percent traffic increase.” Plus, using numerals saves space.

-“12 Things You Must Do to Land a Junior Web Developer Job”, SkillCrush, https://skillcrush.com/2015/04/09/land-junior-web-developer-job/

Word Choice

Using buzzwords, poorly worded, overused, or funny-sounding language can affect how seriously a résumé is taken. Below is a list of the 10 worst and 10 best resumé terms. Not all of these words listed at first glance may even seem obviously bad either. For example, while being a team player is normally a good thing, it is actually listed as one of the worst resumé words to choose from.

The Worst Resumé Terms

  1. Best of breed
  2. Go-getter
  3. Think outside of the box
  4. Synergy
  5. Go-to person
  6. Results-driven
  7. Team player
  8. Hard worker
  9. Strategic thinker
  10. Detail-oriented

The Best Resumé Terms

  1. Achieved
  2. Improved
  3. Trained/Mentored
  4. Managed
  5. Created
  6. Influenced
  7. Increased/Decreased
  8. Negotiated
  9. Launched
  10. Under budget

Even within the job industry there can be language to avoid. Melissa Suzuno in her article 5 Not-So-Hidden Secrets About Working as a Web Developer, cautions to be careful about how you word things because “Perhaps an HR person wouldn’t necessarily care that Dev referred to jQuery as a programming language, but since Mike is a developer, this inaccuracy bothers him.”

Words With a Negative Connotation: Even if you mean them in a positive way, like “met aggressive sales goals,” research has shown that words like problem, mistake, and fault can have a negative impact on a recruiter’s perception of you.

Vague Terms: (Think professional, experienced, and people person.) They’re chronically overused, and we bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are. (Need help? Here are a few great cliché-free ways to show off your soft skills.)

45 Things You Might Have on Your Resumé (That Need to Be Removed) – themuse.com

Demonstrating enthusiasm in a resumé can also be accomplished through aspirational language:

In the heading of your resumé, and in your language throughout your application, for that matter, it’s important to use aspirational language.

Instead of describing yourself as you are now, use words to describe what you want to be. If you can imagine yourself in a new role, it’s much easier for hiring managers to do the same.

For example, instead of calling yourself a “web developer in training,” just call yourself a web developer. Or, if you’re moving out of customer service and into marketing, call yourself a “marketing specialist” rather than a “customer service manager.”

The Ultimate Guide to The Perfect Resumé, Skill Crush

Conclusion

Hopefully it is now clear that showing what you can do is everything for web development along with some high quality link juice, too. To reiterate one more time, here is what to expect and not to expect:

Here’s how you may think an employer reviews your application:

  1. Reads through your cover email, thinking that you’re a lovely, polite, articulate individual.
  2. Reads through your resumé, noting your X years of Rails or iOS experience and past experience at a startup or code school.
  3. If you’ve provided any links, takes a look through those.
  4. If they like what they see, calls you in for an interview.

Here’s how an employer actually reviews your application:

  1. Spends 5–10 seconds scanning your resumé and cover letter for any notable past positions or qualifications.
  2. Looks for links to your portfolio, projects and GitHub. If you don’t have these and have no impressive past positions/qualifications, your application gets archived.
  3. Reviews your portfolio or work links, if it’s sloppy, your application gets archived.
  4. If they liked your work, does a quick search for your personal site and Twitter to see if you’d be a good culture fit at the company. If they find any red flags, your application gets archived.
  5. If they like your work or think you show promise and would be a good fit at the company, they add you to their phone interviews shortlist.

Why Your Resumé Won’t get you Hired as a Web Developer, portfoliotips.com

Email Marketing 101 for Web Developers

Did you know?

“It turns out that 77 percent of consumers prefer to receive permission-based emails rather than any other form of marketing communication.” How to Create an Email Campaign in 10 Minutes (Step by Step Guide)

Nowadays it is almost assumed (or even required in some situations) that all websites have some sort of channel open for communication, whether it is merely a contact form, or a physical address and phone number listed. But when it comes to the web, email marketing is a special way to make something more out of that contact made between the user and the website.

Ever find yourself on a web page and something pops up where they really push for you to subscribe to their newsletter? That is an example of email marketing. Business websites are increasingly looking for ways to encourage visitors to either be reminded about, or to just hear back from them periodically as a means of maintaining contact, preferably in a good way. Ultimately, testimonials like these are desired:

“Your email newsletters, videos and articles are so inspiring, I really look forward to them and I love your attitude, all of you, and the great images. You make me feel included in a world where it seems everyone is an expert, and I wanted to say thanks.” – SkillCrush, The Beginner’s Guide: WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR TECH PORTFOLIO

Clearly, the message brought forth here is one of great enthusiasm and wholehearted interest. To accomplish that, presentation is everything. And while not every website actually needs to be giving the visitor something in return, businesses especially, are constantly striving to maintain that sense of positive contact with their customers. To do this…

Know How To Sell Yourself

In order to be truly skilled with email marketing, having a sales background can be very helpful. Why?

“Marketing is basically Sales Support anyway, and you need to understand how revenue flows through your organization. At its core, marketing is about convincing someone to pay for your stuff. Make sure you start your career with a solid understanding of working with the sales team.” – Getting a job in Marketing with little to no experience

So while knowing how the revenue can be channeled is the backbone concept here, emails are THE WAY to get the prospective user/customer to listen and to keep that communication channel both open, and actively flowing when it comes to the web. So if you have ever worked a job in retail or food service previously and at times found yourself not only being responsible for getting the goods to the consumer, but also convincing them to buy something, then you have surely developed a valuable soft skill that can be put into use for web development.

Landing Pages

This web term called “Landing Pages” tends to come in different forms, but the one that concerns email marketing is called a Lead Generation Page. Lead Generation pages are specifically used “to capture user data, such as a name and email address” and ultimately with that information get the people from the website find a way to “market and to connect with the prospect at a subsequent time” (Unbounce.com, What is a Landing Page?).

In this case, obviously email is of course the means, but additional perks may be offered as a hook to draw interest. Some examples of ways in order to lure users to make it far enough into the landing page to actually connect include:

  • Email Series’ (i.e. 6 Ways to Change the World)
  • Free Downloads
  • Free White Papers or eBooks
  • Update Lists (New Issue Notifications, Product Updates, New Releases)

(Source: A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing, kissmetrics.com)

Attractive Language

“As a rule of thumb, try to use your newsletter as a way to further your relationship with the reader/customer rather than to pitch them. Save the pitch for unique updates, offers, and announcements.”A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing, kissmetrics.com

Using words in the subject of emails can make or break user interest when reading emails. The email also has to especially be carefully crafted so that it does not resemble spam.

Case in point: I signed up for Skillcrush for just for one free download and ended up receiving their newsletters as well. Instead of immediately dismissing these emails as nonsense I didn’t ask for, they instead kept grabbing my attention and in fact left me constantly wanting to open them up and read them with great interest. How was SkillCrush so successful? The emails were always titled in such a way that seemed to both spark curiosity and a desire to know more.

Approaches to accomplish this type of allure can take the form of “awesome subject lines and preview text” and can even be “short and punchy” as is commended in Hubspot’s blog, 15 of the Best Email Marketing Campaign Examples You’ve Ever Seen concerning BuzzFeed’s marketing approach. Oh and the call-to-action better be clear as well, otherwise the email may be tossed aside, right?

Make it Brief

Email already has a reputation for being too time consuming for people. Therefore, when it comes to email marking, it is a must to make the message brief in order to maintain a following. Going back to referring to Hubspot’s blog post again, this approach is described as being “easy to scan” (15 of the Best Email Marketing Campaign Examples You’ve Ever Seen).

Make it Mobile

I know I almost exclusively screen my emails via mobile phone. Case in point, Kissmetrics states that “2015 was the first year that mobile traffic exceeded that of desktop users” (4 Hot Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016, Kissmetrics). This audience only seems to grow rather than shrink.

Tools and Tracking

Preparing emails is only one small part of the puzzle when it comes to email marketing. Email automation programs also assist in sending out and handling the flow of emails in an effective manner. SkillCrush lists some of the more popular services available as Hubspot, Moz, and Mailchimp. Together, tracking analytics and testing that website where the message originally got across to make users interested (i.e. the “Landing Page”) in signing up for emails in the first place, are the means of how campaigning thrives and is what makes the whole endeavor not just a side project but a job in itself.

Want to Learn More?

These were just a few thoughts on the basics of email marketing. A more specific list of guidelines can be found by reading  9 Email Marketing Best Practices to Generate More Leads – Hubspot. In it, the mechanics, such as layout, font usage, etc. are covered. Additionally, the article How to Create an Email Campaign in 10 Minutes (Step by Step Guide), is also great for quickly walking one through the entire process. MailChimp’s Email Marketing Field Guide is well worth keeping for reference as well.

Lastly, I like to keep in mind that sometimes the best way to get a feel for how something like this really works and what makes it cool to users (and not spammy worthless junk), is to simply try it out yourself. So go ahead, try subscribing to something that interests you and while receiving these emails, note the parts that you liked and the parts you didn’t. Not sure where to begin? A fun way to experience an email series is to sign up with one of these recommended websites listed by Medium.com: Back To School: 20 Websites that Will Help You Learn Every Day.

Additionally, from a web development standpoint, another great place to see email marketing in action is through SkillCrush. While they are very much be catering to women, their web career advice and information is very relevant to anyone. They offer lots of up to date info and downloads in the form of guides and seminars.

Tools for Testing a Website

Individually checking each web page on a website is a thorough way to check for mistakes and problems on a website, but during the preliminary stages, why not find ways to at least cut out the time involved looking for these problems? Here are a few tools that I have found useful for doing a “quick and dirty” test.

First Impressions: SEO

First off, I always ask myself, “How does Google see the website?”. To investigate this is easy: try searching for the website being tested. Does Google display your page? Is it showing what you want first time visitors to see?

If the SEO has not yet been created, many online tools exist just for imagination’s sake. Meta Description Checker lets a person create an on the fly scenario of what a web page would look like if Google posted it in their search results.

Testing Code

When it comes to testing actual tags, Google offers a Structured Data Testing Tool. It’s easy to use: just enter a URL and it will show warnings and errors if something is not typed correctly, alongside the markup specifically involved. This is especially useful for locating specific trouble spots.

For testing Meta Tags, SEO Centro is an excellent tool. It not only tests the page, but also gives explanations and warnings. This is a better tool over many, because it can catch errors that other similar online tools will not. For example, when I tested one web page, I was absolutely certain my meta description existed and should have been working. A quick [control + f] search in the source code definitely found it in the markup, but a Google search as a test indicated something was wrong. The description was still not showing properly. Why was this happening? The reason that it initially did not fail another meta tag checking tool was because while the actual code for the meta description was right, it was not correctly placed in the head of the HTML markup. SEO Centro’s tool was able to recognize that.

Spelling Errors

 

It should go without saying that there should never be grammar and spelling errors on a web page. I found that even with spell check, one spelling error per page would still rear it’s ugly head! While it seems old-fashioned, just copying and pasting text into a word processing document seemed like an easy way to looking over the text not cramped inside a tiny window. However some tools can be handy for a quick run-through. I found respelt.com useful for checking individual web pages. This website was also helpful for locating portions of non-English text in a website, seeing it will find those words and mark them as spelled wrong.

 

Testing for Speed

Seeing Google will rank a website according to its load time, it is essential to track website speeds. Testing for speed can be easily done with web developer tools, but there are additional online tools made to test speed are helpful for locating the problems themselves along with solutions. Google PageSpeed Insights is tests mobile and desktop versions and provides a general overview of major issues in a manner that is simplified and easy to understand. But Google is just one of many endless options available to use when it comes to tools that test websites and their speeds.

The Big Picture

Powermapper.com offers a cool tool that checks across websites for a lot more than just broken links. Categories to find errors include: Accessibility, Compatibility (i.e. cross-browser issues), Search, Standards, and Usability. It searches an entire website, not just an individual page, which is useful for finding a small mistake that is inconsistent with the entire website. For example, I had a missing an H3 header in one page that I was testing, and this tool made it easy to find that immediately.

 

Conclusion

 

There are many resources found online that can help make testing a website easier. But there is no one way to do it, either. Being a web developer means being a master researcher and I found myself referring to three different checklists while doing my own testing:

While all of these articles shared the same general topics, each one seemed to also feature its own special “must check” items that were sometimes completely unique to other recommendations – so much for checklists not being open to interpretation! But every website is different, so of course there is no one-size-fits-all guideline. Ultimately, making it a priority to do testing as much as possible remains the most important focus in general, in order to make sure fixes to problems are happening.

 

Practical Boolean Example in JavaScript

Textbooks love this. You read about how in programming, Booleans determine either TRUE versus FALSE and you may observe a bunch of different scenarios in order to help make the concept more clear. Ok, that makes sense, but I’m a big fan of learning that actually does something. So here is a more specific programming example.

Function Error Catching

Programming often requires imagining every possible situation for something and this example is no different. Imagine you are writing a program that makes change. Let’s just pretend the actual brainwork of making the change happens in a function.

funcbool1

So far, everything looks good, but now consider something else:

// What if they didn’t give any money?

funcbool2

The Solution: Boolean Conversion

So far, that works fine, but every time the program runs, it has to pause and think about something. What if there was a sort of, “express lane” for this cash handling? A real life comparison would be when a customer steps up to the cash register with exact change, and really quite honestly – there is no need to even consider the math for that scenario, right? For computers, while they work fast with the simplest of questions – cutting back on those moments where a program is stopping to consider something briefly – is where more complex tasks impact processing times and can and should be minimized.

In the example below, the best solution to handling that “what if” moment is through Boolean conversion. Doing it that way is useful because it is both verbose and the program will run FAST. It will immediately find true and cut out any extra steps. When things work normally as they are expected to behave, it will take the first true part of the Boolean and ignore the rest.

funcbool3

Boolean ‘Gotchas’

So now that you know how to use Boolean in an efficient manner, watch out for the less obvious Boolean scenarios that can cause problems. In JavaScript, type conversion exists and working on something like adding 7 + 7 + “7” will be considered completely ok and run correctly. But don’t let that catch you off guard. If the Boolean compares a string, a string will still be true! For example, “0” and “false” at first glance look like they would be false. But no, they would return as true because quotation marks around anything will make it into a STRING.

Speaking of Speed…

JavaScript is well-loved for being fast. But one quirky thing it has is the requirement of arranging the curly braces in a very specific manner. The position of the braces do matter a great deal, so always abide by this rule:

“Always put the start curly brace at the end of a line, and not a new line.”

For example, at first, you might think these two functions below look the same, but:

funcbool4

The first function not work. But, why not? Syntactically, the parentheses both even close, right?!

The real reason for this bizarre behavior is because JavaScript is very efficient, but also somewhat “simple minded”. Think of how JavaScript reads programming code as much like leading a horse with a carrot tied to a string. The animal may not look ahead, but instead merely follow what it sees immediately in front, blindly stepping forward with little regard to what is happening. All that the horse thinks is “carrot, carrot, carrot…”. Look again at that part where return happens:

funcbool5

When return happens, JavaScript drops out of the function immediately. Going back to the carrot on a string comparison, there is no awareness. JavaScript sees return and return means LEAVE THIS BLOCK OF CODE*. Parentheses opening and then closing in this case is not going to stop that decision on JavaScript’s part. Think of the horse eating the carrot: it keeps taking big bites out of the carrot anyway as he follows what is in front of him. Until the carrot is yanked away entirely, the horse will continue to step forward. Therefore to remedy, keep leading on JavaScript with an open brace on the same line to let it know there is something extra attached here.

funcbool6

*Or instead of shouting LEAVE, one could quote Dr. Chuck from his Programming For Everybody class (my personal favorite teacher ever, for programming), and see it as the JavaScript essentially goes ahead and immediately asks “what’s next?” – and very enthusiastically in this case.