Good post man.
The single most important thing is that you have a live project to showcase.
For example, I used an application for User to User messaging with 20 Gmail-like features implemented, hosted on Heroku and GitLab.
It is fun, Interviewers would send me the message, and I would respond.
After that, I'd show them the code by allowing them to check it in GitLab, afterwards I would disable their user.
Easy peasy ...
Nailed the job 3 times with that single app.
yup, that's one of main reasons to do my side project fullstackjob.com , having some nice code to show.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.