8 Job Seeking Tips for Web Designers and Developers

In this struggling economy, many freelancers are looking for in house positions where they can work with a company and secure a month-to-month salary; moreover, those that are choosing to remain freelancers are trying hard to get more projects to keep the income coming. So, now is the time to think about tips to help you get the jobs you both need and want! As the economy goes down, the competition for the limited jobs goes up; therefore, you need to make sure you are keeping up with that competition so you can stay competitive. Here are a few tips to help you in your job search.

Diversify Yourself

When an employer or even a potential client is looking for an employee to work on a project, they will generally look at the two ends of the spectrum. They either look for the proverbial “jack of all trades” type web designer or developer who can do just about anything, or they look for the best in a certain area. In my opinion, it is obviously pretty difficult and nearly impossible to be the best at what you do, so I suggest trying to diversify as much as possible so that you can greater your possibility of getting employment. For example, try to learn as many languages, applications, etc as possible in order to be competitive in this market. I actually saw a job a few days ago that was asking for a developer to know about ten different programming languages, plus at least three different design programs. That shows that employers are starting to expect more from their employees in this market, because they are expecting one developer to do the job of two or three. They are also looking for more design/programmer combo type people, who can do both! So, try to diversity as much as possible to be competitive and hopefully get the job you want!

Keep an Updated and Fresh Portfolio

When you are trying to show the world your capability in the area of web design and development, your website design portfolio is your most important portal to the world. The portfolio is the most essential website a web designer will ever create in his or her career, because its sole purpose is to show their knowledge, scope, talent, and skill. If your website design portfolio is not creative, eye-catching, or innovative, it will not matter what websites you have in your repertoire, potential employers or clients will not give you a second look. There are thousands of web designers trying to show their ability, and your goal is to have a portfolio that stands out among all the others. Therefore, make sure you spend extra time and energy making your portfolio amazing. Some tips to making it great is to make it original, keep it up to date with your latest work, and only include your best work. Some people think that their portfolio has to include every project they do, but I suggest only including your best work. There are projects that clients control, and they end up not being your best work because you had to do what the client wanted, so just keep those projects out of your portfolio. If your portfolio is up-to-date, is fresh, has great examples of your work, is eye-catching and is very impressive, it will greatly increase your chances of getting a job or project.

Experience at any Cost

One if the first things an employer or potential client asks a web developer is, “What sort of work and projects have you done?” Thus, it is imperative to have proper experience to show your capabilities and potential, so that you can prove that you are the one for the job. However, unfortunately, many web designers and developers get out of school with little experience, or the experience they do have is limited. Therefore, I suggest doing a few projects for free or very low cost so that you can include those in your portfolio. For example, try to find a local non-profit and see if they are in need of web services. If so, over your services for free or low cost, so that you both can benefit. They get a great website and you great experience under your belt, not to mention you are giving your services to help a good cause! Another idea is to do internships at design firms or web development businesses so that you can have some more experience under your belt. So, as I said, try to do whatever is possible to get experience to put on your resume.

Partner with other Developers

In order to really get a good job and some good projects, I like to suggest for designers and developers to join forces with other designers and developers. Doing this helps on a few levels. First, it allows you to get the experience you need in order to get bigger and better jobs. Second, it allows you to put your name on big projects that you would not ordinarily do alone. And finally, it makes for great networking and references, when you do go to send out your resume. So, try to work with other developers as much as possible, and it can help you in your job search.

Do not be Afraid to Brag a Little

This tip seems strange, but it is true. I know this personally from experience, because I tend to be on the humble side and it has hurt me in interviews in the past. However, when it comes looking for a job, you need to be ready to share all your abilities, and not be embarrassed to talk about all of your accomplishments. Even if you know only a little of a particular program, mention it in the interview or on your resume to show your versatility. And more importantly, be sure to mention when you are at advanced levels in certain areas. For example, you may say beginner in JavaScript, Ruby, and Python, and advanced in ASP.NET, PHP, and CSS. Just be sure to mention everything you can do, and do not be shy about it! It will definitely help!

Do Professional Development

There are a lot of professional development out there for web development and design. In fact, most of them are free or you can find tutorials on Youtube. However, try to look for online classes, classes at the University, workshops for web development, or even certificate classes. It is important to stay on top of the ever changing world of computers, and it is even more important to be able to show your professional development on your resume. Employers love to see that you are still interested in learning new things and in containing your education.

Never be Negative

One this employers and potential clients truly dislike is a person who is nothing but negative about everything. In general, those types of people can be very annoying and most people care not to be around people like that. Well, the same goes for employers and potential clients, because they do not want to work with someone who is always negative and is never happy with anything. An example of this is when you are in the interview; try to be as positive as possible about past employers, projects, and clients. If you had a bad experience with an employer, be discrete and say you had a difference of opinion, rather than saying you loathed him. Also, with projects you did not like, do not say you hated that project or that it bored you, rather say, your talents and interests are in other areas. People like positive people, so try to be as positive as possible, and it will help you in your job search!

Be Patient

Last but not least, be patient! Instead of getting frustrated while you are without work, use the time to freshen up on your skills! Keep designing and practicing in all your free time. Anytime I have some spare time, I try to stretch ideas on paper or open Photoshop or Dreamweaver and make some sample menus, logos, background patterns, vectors, and play with fonts. I will even design full websites to keep my mind fresh and my artistic power working. Practice does make perfect in this regard, so you do not want to get rusty! Moreover, this tip has an added bonus, because when you are in a tight time-frame for a project, you will have some sample designs ready to use, that will only require some modifications.

Teylor Feliz
Teylor Feliz

Teylor is a seasoned generalist that enjoys learning new things. He has over 20 years of experience wearing different hats that include software engineer, UX designer, full-stack developer, web designer, data analyst, database administrator, and others. He is the founder of Haketi, a small firm that provides services in design, development, and consulting.

Over the last ten years, he has taught hundreds of students at an undergraduate and graduate levels. He loves teaching and mentoring new designers and developers to navigate the rapid changing field of UX design and engineering.

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