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5 Tips (from a Senior Developer) to Get You Hired as a Junior

Jamees Bedford
Engineering Manager @ Attest - Previously Engineering Manager @ Monzo & Front-End Lead @ Mango
・3 min read

This is advice from me as a lead developer. These five things are what I believe makes applicants stand out from the crowd during a job application process.

💻 Online Presence

Taking the time to blog, document and write about your coding experiences through Instagram, Dev.to, LinkedIn, Twitter or blogs shows dedication and a genuine passion. Not to mention that people in a hiring position will likely try and look up an applicant. We have all done it!

Companies are usually keen for all employees to take up a level of advocacy, whether it be posting about the companies latest news or contributing to blog posts. In this case, demonstrating you have the skills to create content based around development can be a big edge.

Having a good set of social accounts may seem trivial, but will help you to stand out from the crowd and gives you the chance to share more details about yourself indirectly.

⚒ Open Source Experience

Open Source experience doesn’t only demonstrate your ability to write code, it displays your ability to be able to work on a large codebase using standard Git practices such as issues, branching, pull requests and merging.

These are all things that are vital in everyday working environments. Not to mention it looks really good on your GitHub account if you can display large projects you have worked on!

One of the best projects for people looking to get started with Open-Source has got to be Gatsby. It boasts a really friendly environment, not to mention the free swag just for contributing!!!

🌱 Honesty

If you lie or try and big yourself up, people will see straight through it. Be honest about your experience, be honest about your intellectual ability and be honest about where you want to go. If you try and make out you are more experienced than you are, it leaves you open to trip up in an interview situation and that will then spoil your chances.

You have to remember, it is a strength to embrace your weaknesses and learn from mistakes. I admit, there is a lot of stuff I don't understand, however, I don't try and kid myself otherwise. If we are discussing a feature in a scrum, and I am not sure about how it can be implemented, I will say "I don't know, however, I will find out". This honesty is appreciated by all parties, as it avoids you not saying anything and a week down the line it becomes a problem.

📝 A well-written resume / portfolio

Keep both your resume and portfolio short and sweet with all the relevant information on it.

I use this scenario: of a day, the company I work for can have upwards of 10-20 applications for the various roles. Put yourself in the shoes of the talent manager. They want something they can get the relevant information from when they are glancing over the candidate's application.

👨‍🍳 Past experiences

People are too quick to dismiss their previous non-coding jobs as being helpful in an application process. These past jobs are often super useful as they have given you experience and skills that someone straight out of college/uni won’t have picked up yet. Be proud of your past and use it to your advantage.

If you have worked in the local store, then you have a level of client-facing ability someone who hasn't interacted with clients. If you have worked manual labour jobs (I was a construction worker before I made the switch to dev) then you have a hard-work ethic.

I hope these pointers are helpful for you all, I fully understand how daunting the application process to jobs can be! <3

Discussion (17)

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marek profile image
Marek Zaluski
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nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

They are very useful! I do not have the connfidence to collaborate in open source projects still. But will definitely take good note of your advice.
How would you recommend to make a portfolio for someone that hasn't worked still?

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jameesy profile image
Jamees Bedford Author

There are beginner friendly ones out there :) As mentioned above, Gatsby is awesome because their company values the fact that any skill set can contribute. It doesn't even have to be anything intensely technical if you don't want it to be.

I wouldn't get too worked up on showcasing things off if you don't have them. A website with a paragraph about yourself and some articles you have written is more than enough. Yes, I do recommend writing articles :)

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nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

Thanks a lot, I will keep your advise in mind.

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zejnilovic profile image
Saša Zejnilović

I like the resume part the most. My resume never had more than 100 words (around 60 words would be my estimate) and I still got the jobs I wanted. Now that I am in a position when I occasionally read someone's resume I get 3 pages long resumes and it is the worst. I fall asleep at least once while going through them.

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jameesy profile image
Jamees Bedford Author

Yeah, I am with you.

My resume is currently a short opening paragraph, a few key technologies/skills and then the last three or four jobs I had with a couple of bullet points under each describing what my roles and responsibilities are.

It seems to be a very common mistake as an aspiring dev to cram as much info as you can, but you have to consider the weight of the info.

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ichavezf profile image
Eduardo Chavez

Nice post, excellent advice.

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jameesy profile image
Jamees Bedford Author

Thank you! :)

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andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

They want something they can get the relevant information from when they are glancing over the candidate's application.

These are the two reasons I suggest people write short and sharp copy.
Because when you're reviewing resume you want 1-to-1 and if you see too much text you'll just gloss over it.

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nickhristov profile image
Nick Hristov

This, but reversed order of importance.

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jameesy profile image
Jamees Bedford Author

I don't think these are in order of importance for me. I would agree with you I think though if re-ordering for importance.

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travistyse profile image
Travistyse

Time to code up a python script to reverse this.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Awesome article I actually like the part of honesty and embracing your weakness to learn from mistakes.

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jameesy profile image
Jamees Bedford Author

Thanks, man.

Yeah, it's understated but actually shows maturity and self-realisation which are very important factors.

I think of it like this: if you try and make out you're the perfect candidate and that you have no weaknesses, it's going to raise red flags. We all have weaknesses so it makes me think you are likely insecure or potentially trying to hide something.

If you say: "My weakest areas are ....... however I am trying to improve them by doing ......" it is so much better.

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bhupesh profile image
Bhupesh Varshney 👾

Question : Is it good that a DEV resume sticks to one page only ?
Nice post btw 🙌

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jameesy profile image
Jamees Bedford Author

I would say so. I think its more than realistic to get the relevant information on one page.

And thanks! :)

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lipeltgm profile image
Grant Lipelt

Well said. I particularly align with the 'honesty' recommendations. I've grown to feel that I've grown too old to lie, or maybe more appropriately I feel that being honest shows a level of maturity (professionally and personally).

That said, I was disturbed when an inspiring developer was given advice to 'pretend you are a rock star and know everything' in job interviews. I hope they only misinterpreted the advice, but was steadfast that that was the recommendation from their instructor. I sincerely hope that style of advice isn't popular.