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How to Land Your First Job as a Developer

So, you’ve gone to school. You’re confident in your abilities. You know that tech jobs are in high-demand, and you’re really excited about your prospects. But…now what? How do you land your first job as a developer?

For many people, finding the right job as a developer can be a challenge, especially if you’ve never worked in the industry. Knowing what you can do to make your developer career take off can help you find a rewarding job soon after graduating with your degree. Here’s what to know about getting your start in this exciting industry. 

Prepare Your Resume

It doesn’t matter how good you are at developing code: if your resume isn’t descriptive of your skills, you’ll find it hard to secure your first job. Include your coding skills in your resume, even if you’ve never had a job developing code to list on your website.

Create a "skills" section on your website to list computer languages you know and skills you possess that make you a more attractive job candidate. Put the "skills" section near the top of your resume, so it’s one of the first things that recruiters and managers see when they’re reviewing your resume.   

Maintain a Portfolio

Even if you’ve never worked as a developer before, you probably have a portfolio of work that you learned in school or taught to yourself along the way. Maintain a portfolio of work that recruiters and managers can explore when they’re trying to determine whether you’d be the right person for the job. 

Volunteer Your Services

Maybe you know a non-profit that needs a new website, or help with their existing website. If not a non-profit, then perhaps a neighbor, friend or relative needs a website for a personal project.

Even if you’re not being paid, work is work! Volunteer your services to anyone who needs them, and work for free. This can be listed as experience on your resume, just be sure to note that the work is volunteer. 

Practice with Pet Projects

If you can’t find anyone who needs your services as a volunteer, practice with your own pet projects, then add these projects to your portfolio. Even if you don’t need a website, you can still make one for your own amusement.

Set Aside Time Each Day for Job Applications

Applying for jobs takes time – a lot of it. Read each job posting carefully to ensure that you meet all their minimum qualifications, and submit all information they’re requesting in the posting. Some employers will want references up front, others may request a cover letter. Know what each potential employer is asking for, then give it to them. 

Join Online Communities to Stay In Touch

Online communities make it easier to stay up to date with the latest changes in the industry. Join an online community you like, and then become an active voice in that community. Who knows – you may even find a job that way!