9 Tips to Get a Software Developer Job Without Experience

How can you get a job when you have no experience? It’s HARD! They don’t want to hire you because you have no experience, but how can you get experience if you can’t get a job?! It’s a vicious cycle, and by using these 9 tips, you’ll be able to break the cycle.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

1.  Prepare and practice interview questions

You get one opportunity to leave an impression, so take the time to study and prepare for the interviews. That will already give you a step above others.

General Interviews Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.
    Come up with a concise few sentences about your school, work, experience, qualifications, and skills, and keep this to about 1-2 minutes.
  2. What makes you qualified for this position?
    Share your strengths (relevant to the position) and give examples. Examples are very important! I recommend writing down a table with strengths on left and examples on the right, so you can use good, strong, well-prepared examples when the time comes.
  3. Why do you want to work for [name of company]?
    Research the company through their marketing website, social media, or any employees that work there. You can talk about the company values or goals that you feel aligned with.

Technical Interview

Some companies ask you technical questions, some give you projects to do in a limited amount of time, some ask you to pseudocode or solve algorithms and walk them through what you would do.  With a limited amount of time to prepare for interviews, I do a lot of searches for “top Javascript/Angular/React/C# Interview questions” (whatever topic you think you may be interviewing on). As you wait for companies to get back to you, you can keep learning popular things that jobs are asking for.

Here are some technical front-end interview questions:  https://github.com/jenniferpham/Front-end-Developer-Interview-Questions.  

2.  Update your Linkedin profile and job details

Start adding as many connections as you can and add keywords to your LinkedIn profile like “Angular,” “Javascript,” “Full Stack,” “Front End,” “Web Developer,” etc.  Ask people that you have worked with to write you a recommendation for you on LinkedIn.  Many HR recruiters reach out to people using LinkedIn.

3.  Reach out to friends, family, and colleagues and let them know you’re searching for a new job with your resume and/or portfolio.

It’s much easier to get a job through a trusted referral than to send an application in with a large pool of applicants.  Also, remember to reach out to developers or software engineers because they are more likely to know about jobs that up your alley.

4.  Upload your resume and cover letter to popular job search websites

Popular job search sites: careerbuilder.comindeed.comsimplyhired.commonster.comidealist.comlinkedin.com
Job sites specific to tech jobs: dice.com, stackoverflow.com

5. Treat searching for a job like a full time job. 

Set a goal that you need to send a certain number of resumes or job applications out in an 8-hour work day.  You get 1 hr lunch break. Ultimately, job searching is a number’s game, and the more submissions you send out, the more offers for interviews you will get. I expect about 5% of companies to reach out back to me and then to interview with 2.5% and get offers from 1% of all the applications I send out.

6.  Contact technical recruiters

Technical recruiters get paid when they fill a position, so they usually focus on their top percentile of clients, those they deem “sellable” to other companies to fill open positions. Your goal should be to impress them, so you become part of their top percentile. As they are not coders, you want to have a good, memorable story on why or how you became a developer as well as some concise, memorable info on your professional background.  Having a portfolio website to showcase your projects is also great for them because they will be able to sell you more easily to other companies.  Some of the technical recruiting companies in Southern CA are Workbridge, Lassen Group, Job Spring. 

7.  Make a portfolio website. 

For someone who has little work experience, this is a MUST! It’s hard to trust someone without a lot of experience, but seeing visual examples of their work always increases their credibility (as long as their work is decent). Like they say, “Pictures are worth a thousand words.”
My portfolio website as an example:  http://www.jenniferpham.biz

How to make a portfolio website

8.  Get feedback on your resume

You can increase the chances of getting calls back for interviews when you have a strong resume. I would recommend sending your resume to a few people that you trust professionally to review and give you feedback on how to improve it.

9.  Do informational interviews

Reach out to people from top companies to see if they would be wiling to talk to you for an informational interview. An informational interview is a chance to learn more about specific positions or the industry, not to request a job. By doing this, you can gain more insight into the tech industry and find out if they have any tips or recommendations to make you a stronger candidate in the tech industry.


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