Turning a job hunt into a dev project
Scott Spence Nov 30
Apologies up front about this post if it comes across as entitled or ranty and I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with my approach.
I'm going to try my hardest to not get too cynical here, so, first up let's get this out there to start with. I think technical recruitment is in a very bad state! It has been for a long while (since 2010 at the very least).
Let's call it job hunting/talent finding fatigue, as we as developers have fatigues in other areas, however this isn't one of our own making.
Starting out on a job hunt and getting your CV out there will generate a lot of calls where the most irrelevant keyword on your CV will generate unwanted calls from what at times appear to be desperate recruiters.
Urgent position to fill: Team Lead, 6+ year experience - immediate start £900 a day, 3 month contract.
Ok, that's a bit harsh! it's the truth, Ruth! It all sounds a bit cliché now as well.
Being a developer I began to notice patterns with each call I got, the same questions kept getting asked over and over. Also as a developer I want to keep things DRY to save myself (and the recruiter) a bit of time.
So to this end I decided to add an FAQ section to my personal portfolio, this was a list of all the questions I had been asked on the many calls previously, so, rather than have the recruiter have me on the phone for ten minutes just to qualify me for the role they could do the vast majority of that with the provided FAQ, almost like a reverse job spec, all they have to do is READ the FAQ! Then check off my wants and needs from the list I have already provided.
For some reason though, a lot of recruiters would insist on talking to me, taking time out of my day, they'd then proceed to ask the same questions every other recruiter would ask. This would qualify them to me as someone that didn't value my time and they'd lose any credibility they may have had with me.
So, I made a site, a portfolio, that listed all you could want to know about me. I added the About, which covers my back-story and coding history, how I got into it and where I am now. There's also a Now section and a Uses section. They are what I'm doing now, in my life ans the things I use, like code editor and hardware.
The pages of the portfolio are all in markdown generated by Gatsby, so when there was a question asked that was not on the list I could add it quickly. Using Netlify made this even simpler, because it was a Git push and the changes would be live in minutes,
Making a site, this is more for prospective employers rather than recruiters and although the majority of recruiters will talk to you as though they are the ones considering you for the role they're only the first stage in what can be a quite lengthy process.
So, let's forget about recruiters for now and concentrate on the one main thing you need to get out there if you're looking for a job, your CV.
Making a CV, I went to the effort to make a basic site using my favourite tech stack teh JAMStack behbeh! I used the JSONresume tool to detail all the roles I had held then used the JSONresume as a guide for how I should make the individual components for the CV.
If you want to get started with your own JSON Resume you can run the npm command
npx resume-cli init to kick-start your own.
Feel free to use my CV as a template for your own as well, all you need to do is generate your CV and push it to now.sh.
This was my full employment history and quite long and as I was looking for a job in a new field the vast majority of it was not pertinent to a my job search, this is why I decided rather than blast out my CV everywhere I'd post out the list of answers to the questions recruiters always asked me when calling me. So rather than have them crawl through my mostly irrelevant job history they could get the answers to the questions they wanted answering. The CV was there if they wanted more detail on me, all they had to do was READ!
In my mind the personal portfolio and the CV site were a good indication of my current skill level with styling and preferred stack, in reality no one cares as long as it looks nice and recruiters even less so because it doesn't answer the questions they want to ask.
This wasn't field of dreams though! So, how do I get recruiters to my page? Well, rather than have a CV in MS Word format that I would post onto every job site I could find, I had, a, link to my FAQ on a MS Word doc! 🙃
It was a friendly hello and something different to what must be very repetitive.
I used Google analytics's, on the FAQ and the CV to see how much traffic they were getting, the FAQ a lot more than the CV, so, I could glean from that, that the recruiters were getting the answers to their questions without having to pick up the phone. Win Win, right?
The stats weren't great however, with a bounce rate of around 3 seconds 😲 you could see the vast majority of recruiters would rather pick up the phone than READ the information provided.
Thanks for reading 🙏