Getting my first web dev job was painful. After 100 ignored/rejected job applications, I knew there was something wrong.
With time I learned the truth. Employers ignored me because I lacked employment history.
It makes sense: the more experience you've got, the more valuable you will be to a prospective employer. But how does one get experience, if you can't get hired?
After much hesitation, I deployed a simple solution. I expanded my job search to part-time & freelance work. It eventually got me hired.
Struggling? Start Freelancing
When I reached 100 rejections, I knew I had to try something else. Freelance web development seemed like a viable option.
My reasoning was simple - if no one wanted to hire me full-time, perhaps someone would hire me for part-time work?
I hesitated. If my lack of experience can't get me a job, wouldn't it also make freelancing impossible? I decided to try anyway.
I applied for web dev work every day on UpWork, Indeed, and Craigslist. I focused on what I knew best: JS/HTML/CSS, and Node.
Within a month, I had landed a freelance gig. It was a React project for a local business and they paid me $20/hr. I was finally earning money and gaining real world experience.
The Benefits of Freelancing
The lesson I learned was that in tech, getting freelance work is easier than getting a full time job.
Convincing clients to let you build a website for their small business is much easier than convincing employers to hire you.
Freelance also gave my resumé an edge when applying for jobs:
- real world experience
- broad portfolio of projects
- paying customers as professional references
Eventually, one of my clients asked if I was interested in a full time position. Without hesitation I joined as a full time web developer and kickstarted my career.
Don't Give Up
Landing your first web dev job will be one of the toughest obstacles of your web dev career. It will take patience and lots of hard work.
If you feel like you're getting nowhere, I recommend you try freelancing. It opened doors for me when nothing else did.
I highly recommend you consider it if you're stuck on your web dev job hunt.