What you should know about applying for jobs

- 5 minutes read

Building your resume

Here is a great article about building a resume for a junior developer: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/how-to-write-an-awesome-junior-developer-resume-in-a-few-simple-steps-316010db80ec/. If you’re more experienced it would look very much alike but with a bigger focus on experience, although your past projects will still play a big part in catching a company’s attention.

The 30 second summary of that article is:

  • Keep it simple. Keep it short
  • Focus on your eagerness to learn and curiosity if you’re a junior
  • Put what’s most impressive at the top
  • Don’t lie !

A few more tips:

  • Don’t add a photo
  • If you speak multiple languages, mention it
  • Don’t mention hobbies, passions

Optimize for specific opportunities

It’s important to update your resume based on the company you’re applying for. You’ll want to emphasize certain skills and experiences based on the job description. You should also write a custom cover letter for every company you apply to. This will help you get through a recruiter quickly glancing at your resume or pass the automated tool barrier if you’re applying at big companies.

Talking about automated tools, you can use something like https://www.jobscan.co/ to optimize your resume for a specific job description. This tool analyses differences between your resume and what the job description requires. This is an automated process so it’s not perfect, but a lot of bigger companies use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) which runs a similar process to rank applicants automatically. If you haven’t read the LinkedIn specific article, you should know that this company also offers a similar automated audit of LinkedIn profiles at https://www.jobscan.co/linkedin-optimization.

Picking the right company

Choosing which company to pick can be really stressful, but you can take a little bit of the guesswork out of the equation by making sure you have a way to compare different jobs. In order to pick a winner or to make sure the company you’re applying to is somewhere you’d see yourself, make sure you have all the info about the opportunities:

  • Salary
  • Bonus if applicable
  • Hours, flexible or 9-5
  • Commute time
  • Growth opportunity
  • Vacation time
  • Rapport with potential manager and team

Once you have that for all the opportunities, you need to ask yourself the most important question: “What matters to me ?“. Once you have the data and a way to rank the jobs, picking becomes less emotional and you can compare the different opportunities in a more qualitative way. It is however extremely important to follow your gut, if a company ranks well based on your criteria but didn’t feel right, listen to that. You’ve spent a lot of time trying to convince a company to like you, but make sure you actually figure out if you like them.

A useful tool to get more info about a company is https://glassdoor.com. It allows you to get feedback from current and former employees of companies. Getting that first hand knowledge of what it’s like to work at these companies can be very useful to help you decide if you would want to work somewhere.

Red flags

There can be a few red flags that pop up while you learn about a company or an opportunity. Here are a few examples that you should be aware of, since they can impact your growth or how much you enjoy the job.

Some things related to more junior roles:

  • Being alone in your team or project
  • The company expecting too much in terms of responsibilities or delivery when they hire new graduates
  • They use old technologies or ones that don’t match your experience or your training

Generic red flags:

  • Lazy interview process. If the company can’t focus on your interview for an hour, it can mean the company has a hard time doing things properly.
  • Putting too much pressure. If they’re rushing you to give an answer or are talking about other candidates, it starts the working relationship on the wrong foot.
  • Super low offer. This might mean they’re out of touch with the market and their salaries are probably not the only thing that isn’t up to date.
  • Having only a single old product to manage. The challenges are probably limited at that company and it might stunt your growth.

If you encounter one of those it doesn’t mean that you should run away, but it should make you analyze things a bit more in depth.

Following up

An important aspect of applying for jobs is following up with the recruiter or company. Following up keeps you fresh in people’s minds and is also a reminder to the person hiring that you are waiting for their answer.

Some follows up that you could do are:

  • 1-2 weeks after applying, if you haven’t heard anything
  • 1 day after a first interview, send a thank you note
  • 1-2 weeks after interviews, if you haven’t heard about the next steps
  • 2-3 days after submitting assignments, tests

If you are applying to quite a few places, this can become a mess to keep track of in your mind. This is why we recommend you use a tool like https://huntr.co/ or a simple spreadsheet to write all of these dates down somewhere. Keeping track of your applications in a tool will also allow you to write some notes down about your meetings, questions you may want to ask when you meet next, your impressions at different stages. Keeping all this in one location will make your life easier when it comes to picking the right company.