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Cover image for Not getting interviews? Do you have a portfolio?
Simon Barker
Simon Barker

Posted on • Originally published at careerswitchtocoding.com

Not getting interviews? Do you have a portfolio?

I had a fun chat with two people trying to address the same problem as I am yesterday, that is how to get new developers their first job. They have an amazing site called Troopl* and its primary focus is to help new developers create a portfolio as quickly and simply as possible.

The thing that both of us have found in our conversations with Bootcamps, recruiters, hiring managers and developers is that the single best way to get your foot in the interview door is to show off what you can do. The best way to do this is to:

  1. Make things
  2. Add those things to a portfolio site

This is a core tenet in my book, because it works.

Skills don't have a voice

So many developers believe that their "skills speak for themselves" and believe simply listing their skills on a CV or resume is enough.

Well I've got news for you.

Putting your skills on your CV with no evidence isn't your skills speaking for themselves. It's you speaking for yourself and, quite frankly, the person reading that list of skills doesn't know you from a hole in the ground or if they can trust you.

You know what is "letting you skills speak for themselves?" building projects and releasing them so people can actually see what you can make - literally letting your skills speak for themselves. Funnily enough, skills don't have a voice of their own, they actually can't speak, so your completed, functional projects are the voice they so desperately need.

Go slow to go fast

People think that taking 2 months to make a project or two will slow down their job search and that it's a waste of time. Well, do you know what is a waste of time? Applying to 300 jobs and getting 10 interviews when you could have applied to 50 and got 20 interviews because the hiring managers could actually see your work.

In the end, making projects is time invested to make an asset that will serve you for years to come on every job hunt. One of my main projects on my portfolio is 10 years old, still working, still getting traffic and still showing off my skills.

Don't make you own portfolio site

I've said it before and upset lots of front end devs but I'll say it again. Don't make your own portfolio site!


You don't have to use Troopl, you can use Squarespace or Wix or whatever but, the expectation on websites is so high now that spending weeks trying to match what these platforms can do out of the box is pointless. You are much better off spending that time making your take on a todo list app or Spotify Playlist maker and showing you can solve tricky business logic problems than you are do an ok but not great job at parallax.

Painters don't make their own frames, developers shouldn't make their own portfolio site.

Summary

  1. Make small, functional and complete projects.
  2. Release them in to the world.
  3. Put together a turnkey portfolio site to show your work off.
  4. Get more interviews.

* this isn't an ad, they didn't ask me to write about them, they didn't pay me, they don't know I'm writing this. I just like the guys and think what they are making is cool. If I were going to write an advertisement I would do it for my own stuff 🤣

Discussion (1)

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy • Edited

TBH, I've never known anyone with a portfolio do any better at getting interviews than someone without. As someone who has been doing a lot of interviewing over the last year, I can also say that having a portfolio really makes no difference as to whether you get hired. In a few cases the candidate's portfolio actually counted against them.

An active (and obviously uncurated) GitHub account with some interesting stuff going on is a far better indicator