How I Landed My First Web Development Position

by Aaron
How I Landed My Web Development Position

Have you been looking for a web development position? Whether that’s your first position or a new position? Well, I was once in your place. I remember when I was struggling to find my first position when I graduated from college. (P.S I still think this post is relevant to self-taught developers).

Through tons of rejections and failures, I figured out a way to land the web development position I strived for. The goal of this post is to give you a roadmap and encouragement to keep going along your journey.

In this blog post, I will explain the 8 steps I took to land my first web development position. I feel these steps put me ahead of the curve compared to other job candidates. I have no doubt if you follow these steps you will be seen as a more valuable candidate to employers.

Without further ado let’s get right into it!

1. I created a portfolio site

Creating a portfolio site allowed employers to see the work I was capable of. It was the start of making a brand for myself. It allowed for my name to be searchable on search engines, which was critical to establish some type of digital presence. Having a nice looking portfolio site will put you in a tier above the average developer. Click here to see my portfolio.

In order to create a portfolio site, these 3 steps need to be performed.

  1. Create your own portfolio or buy a portfolio template
    • Depending on if you’re looking to become a backend or frontend developer you may or may not want to create your portfolio site yourself. In the case where you want to become a frontend developer, you should at least be able to explain how your portfolio is built. If you plan on being a backend developer buying one makes complete sense.
  2. Buy a domain (URL) for your website
    • You can buy your domain through any domain provider. What I like to use as my domain provider
  3. Pay for a hosting provider and deploy your site to that provider
    • Lastly, I had to get hosting and deploy my site. What I usually use to host my websites is as well.

2. I created business social media accounts and job forum accounts.

Creating business social media accounts and job forum accounts was another way to establish my presence online.

When I was looking for a job I made sure to fill out all my online profiles with the most relevant information about my skills as possible.

The type of information that I put on these accounts was my schooling, experience, skills, projects, and an enthusiastic bio. Links to your portfolio site were also readily available on these accounts.

Examples of sites I made accounts for and filled out are.

  • LinkedIn 
  • Github
  • Twitter
  • Indeed
  • Monster 
  • Dice

3. I created two to three solid projects

Creating two to three solid projects gave employers a look at the variety of work and value I could offer them. Some of these projects were strictly front end projects and some full-stack projects.

The one major thing I feel was key to the projects on my portfolio is that they were presentable visually and had solid core functionality. This means all my websites and web applications were fully responsive on all devices, had clean designs and functionality of any of my sites were smooth.

The website’s biggest projects I created were an eCommerce store, a real estate application, and a local fencing company website.

When it came to finding the clean designs for these websites/applications I looked up designs on and to visuals to gain inspiration from.

I would also look at similar websites and pick and choose the elements I liked from certain websites.

I feel being able to create websites and web applications from scratch, then being able to explain how I built them made me look extremely valuable.

Following through and completing these projects fully was a major key in having confidence when I explaining my projects.

Below I will give examples of projects you could build. If your not creative in creating your own projects I would say just make clones of real-world applications.

Example Projects

  • Responsive landing page
  • Ecommerce store
  • Blog
  • Travel booking site
  • Restaurant site
  • Forum
  • Social media site

4.  I did freelance work

Information Sign on Shelf

Doing freelance work showed that I was self-motivated and that I had the skills to command monetary value in the exchange of my skill. 

There are many places I used to look for freelance work. Those were word-of-mouth,,,, and 

The two sources that worked best for me were word of mouth and craigslist.

Through word of mouth, I was given the opportunity to build a website for a local fencing company that put a fence up for one of my uncles.

Through Craiglist, I found a digital agency in the Bronx who needed Html emails and digital menus created for their clients.

I wasn’t confident at the time to charge the fencing company for the website I created for them but I was still able to use it on my portfolio.

At the time of working for the digital agency, I was confident in charging for my services, It was amazing to see myself generate a few hundred dollars due to freelancing.

I feel being able to create a website or web application for a real business and having something to show for it gave employers even more confidence in my ability to offer their company value.

5. I went to meetups

Photo of Men Having Conversation

When I was first on my hunt for a job I decided to also network with like-minded people. I went on and found some web development/software engineering events to go to.

I got out of my comfort zone which allowed me to build connections and rapport with fellow working and aspiring developers. I was also able to get my portfolio critiqued by developers already in the field. It helped me see things I could improve about my portfolio that I would have never known otherwise.

I made sure to have meaningful conversations with individuals explaining who I was and why I was enthusiastic about web development.

Lastly, I always made sure to get some sort of contact information from the people I had great conversations with, to be able to stay in contact with them.

You never know who you’ll meet at a meetup. I was able to get one referral from a developer at a meetup. It didn’t pan out in the end but it was still an opportunity I would have not gotten otherwise.

6. I created a relevant resume and cover letter

Two White Printer Papers Near Macbook on Brown Surface

I made sure I had a resume with only web development/software development educational experience. I did not include experience in different fields not related to web development or software. I also made sure to embed deployed links of my projects within my resume and listed only the skills I can confidently explain to employers.

Freelance developer was my first position as a web developer and it could be yours too.

I also made sure to add relevant job duties to the experience I added to my resume. Curtailing my skills and experience to the position I was applying for. 

As far as your cover letter I made sure to explain who I was briefly and why it is that I am interested in web development and why I was interested in learning more about their company. 

I came from the perspective that I am very interested and enthusiastic about working for the company I was applying for and was looking forward to learning more about their company.

It made me seem passionate and at the same time because it made me seem like a buyer.

7. I applied for jobs for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day.

Once I had the previous six steps completed I started applying to jobs for at least 30 minutes a day. 

When applying for jobs I used the Pomodoro technique to stay focused and to continue to apply to jobs without breaks because it can get tiring applying for jobs for an extended period of time. 

The goal was to put as many reels into the ocean and wait for that one fish to bite. My goal was to get into any solid job, grab the experience and move my way up from there. 

I also made sure you put job alerts on so that I would get emails for new positions as they were posted. 

When applying for jobs a major key that I found was to make sure to search the keywords of technologies first than actual positions.

For example, searching Html, CSS, javascript, or java broadened the number of jobs I found on job boards.

This is because when you search for specific titles like software engineer, web developer, front end developer we narrow ourselves into job postings with those specific titles. 

Doing so heightens the chance of missing out on opportunities that are available to you.

8. I never gave up

This step may sound very cliché but in reality, the most cliché things are usually the most truthful things. Having the mindset of knowing that I was going to land my position exactly at the right time gave me the staying power to continue to go even when things didn’t seem like they were going my way. 

There were many times in my job search when I felt discouraged and distraught. I remember some of my friends from college going to interviews getting jobs before me and I felt as if I was behind and slightly not good enough at the moment. I felt that I should’ve had a job at by a certain time. 

I even remembered a friend of mine was able to get another friend of mine and myself an interview with his company and my other friend got the job over me. This definitely made me feel not good enough at that moment, but I continued along my journey.

At that point, I did not have a portfolio site and had little to no projects. My online presence and my experience was non-existent. At that moment realized I need to take the advice in this article.

Soon after I participated in an unpaid internship for 3 days a week, completed some freelance work, created my portfolio site, started creating own my projects. And started to apply again. 

In a matter of 2 weeks after starting to apply again I was able to land three offers. It seemed insane to me at the moment. But reflecting on what I did to get those 3 offers it made complete sense.

It really showed me how much I needed to grow compared to who I was when I was getting no offers and failing many interviews.

Having unrelenting persistence was the biggest key in my opinion

Final thoughts

In conclusion, remember the road to land your web development position is a journey. The major key is to a presentable to employers as a job-ready developer.

Creating my portfolio, creating solid projects, networking and have unrelenting stay power allowed me to be seen as that job-ready developer.

Once I was consistent in these specific things I feel I was placed ahead of the curve compared to other applicants.

This is what has helped me and I have a strong belief that this can help you too along your journey.

If you have any questions about my process in landing my first web development position or any questions to any points in this article leave a comment below.

What are your thoughts on this article?

Where you are in your process? 

What you’ve done to land your web development/software development position?

In any case, thank you for tuning in.

Until next time,

Your man A.

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AK January 9, 2020 - 9:36 pm

Great article. Inspiring and will have relevance beyond the moment. I find it applicable to many other industries too. The tone throughout was earnest and refreshing. Keep it up!

Aaron March 29, 2020 - 9:54 pm

Just noticing this comment Ankur. Thank you for your kind words. I will be releasing some more content. I’m glad that it seems applicable to other industries. I think the right mindset can get anyone where they want to be no matter which industry they’re in.

Carman Mack February 16, 2020 - 12:57 pm

Thank you, for sharing a very helpful article. Do you have a YouTube channel?

Aaron April 6, 2020 - 12:14 am

Thank you for checking the article out! And yes I do have a Youtube Channel. It’s “Aaron Oquendo”.


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