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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Apply for jobs now or build stronger resume first?

    Hi there..

    Just looking for some advice here..

    Am a bit bored of my regular day job and looking into becoming a coldfusion programmer..

    I built my own site using coldfusion and mysql and have been maintaining it ever since, so for about 2 years I have been working on it. Recently I decided I wanted to improve it, so I have taken the site down, and completely started again. using the coldbox framework and concentrated on more professional coding using cfcs and occasional custom tags and UDFs.

    Thing is, as im reworking the site I dont have it available for potential employers to see, also its the only site I have worked on.

    Do you think it would be necessary for me to finish my site properly and professonally first for reference, and do some freelance work to increase my portfolio, or is it worth trying to get a job as a junior or middleweight developer now?

    Cheers
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member Jobs for 14's Avatar
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    Of course , a succeed site is more important than lots of words.

    Your ability is first.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    If all you have is a little freelance work and one site under your belt you're going to enter as a fairly junior level regardless. Unless you plan to spend the time to really build a client base that's unlikely to change. I would reason that it's better to have a job (which gives you experience) than to putz around to work in basically the same role.

    That said if you really have no portfolio it may be a good idea to do a little work to show your skillset/ ability. Not every site has to work but it's nice to point to a few live clients to show your skills as well as your ability to communicate and manage a project.
    - Ted S

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    I would reason that it's better to have a job (which gives you experience) than to putz around to work in basically the same role.
    .
    Not quite sure what you mean here..
    Are you saying that its best to get a junior developer role just to get some form of commercial experience?

    Cheers
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    What I'm saying is that if you're going to get a role in the next few months either way, I'd get one now. Having experience is crucial to getting a better position and better compensation but it's not something you can produce overnight. So if the option is to do some very basic freelance work for a few months or get a job today, I'd say get one today. The truth is any work you do in the next few months is going to have very little impact on your future roles as compared to the experience you'd gain working for someone else in the same time frame.

    The exception to this is if you have no portfolio in which case you're applying "on paper skills" and may have trouble getting any responses... if this is the case I'd start applying but also work on some sites on the side so you can build a small base of documented experience. But I guess it also makes sense to work while you apply even if you do have experience, afterall, more is always good.
    - Ted S

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    ok, i think I will start looking for junior coldfusion positions...
    Im looking to go travelling so I think i may start applying for positions in america, whilst finishing off my site for my potfolio..

    Cheers
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast irish-ed's Avatar
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    Well, your experience will count for everything in an interview no matter what you have done. Try to get the site up asap for references.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    cheers irish, am trying to get it back up asap
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  9. #9
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Just knowing how to build a site isn't enough these days.

    No one wants a "website". They want to sell, market, promote themselves. They want to reach prospects, educate existing customers, save money on marketing or support or distribution and increase profit margins by selling direct.

    If you can show what you built accomplished one or more of the objectives above, you'll be in a much stronger position -- especially in the current economic climate.
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
    SitePoint.com - Empowering Web Developers Since 1997
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    You can start throwing your resume out there, as that you never know what's going to come your way. But overall it sounds like you have little to show and should focus on building a strong resume with portfolio; before I hire anyone that's what I look at - what they have done, not what they say they can do.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast headless1226's Avatar
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    Social networking is important so it never hurts to expand your network by distributing your experience and name. I would recommend distribution while building your resume, never stop updating your resume, the more quality entries the better.
    Develareel Innovate
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    Only take a junior position if you need to learn. Else, you might as well freelance given the pay of many junior jobs.

  13. #13
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    From my experience here in the UK, companies want someone who has a good protfolio AND commercial experience.

    When I left Uni, I couldn't get a job due to lack of experience so decided to work freelance for a few years. I then got bored of being stuck in my home office all on my own all day so decided to apply for jobs.

    About 90% of responses came back saying they were looking for someone who has worked in a commercial environment and can show you can work as part of a large team.

    So I am now employed in a junior position and still do some freelance work to earn some extra money.

    So from my experience I would say go for a junior position now and still build up a portfolio by doing the odd freelance work.

  14. #14
    Community Advisor silver trophy

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    I agree pretty much with John - as an employer I wouldn't consider hiring anybody without substantial portfolio. I would consider somebody with out much commercial studio experience if they had a quality body of work in their portfolio that showed good knowledge.

    If a candidate has nothing to show, then it doesn't illustrate much dedication to the craft - even if you're a student or just a hobbyist there are always plenty opportunities to create sites for friends, do small freelance works and do your own experiments.

    In the event you can't muster even some of those, at least get a blog and write some posts about what you're learning/trying out etc to show some prospective employer that you have knowledge and enthusiasm for your area of work.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Yeah, ive got to finish the redevelopment of my site so i have something to show for myself.
    Have also found a freelance site, and there seems to be quite a lot of coldfusion jobs on there, would be pretty excited about getting some work going on that side of things as well..
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I'd say become a developer first. At least this way you can pay the bills and on your spare time you can work on your portfolio.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast Jessemn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mickiewicz View Post
    Just knowing how to build a site isn't enough these days.

    No one wants a "website". They want to sell, market, promote themselves. They want to reach prospects, educate existing customers, save money on marketing or support or distribution and increase profit margins by selling direct.

    If you can show what you built accomplished one or more of the objectives above, you'll be in a much stronger position -- especially in the current economic climate.
    However, as a pure programming role, I'm not sure how much selling, marketing, and promoting come into it. I'm not disagreeing at all (in fact I quite agree), but I believe that function is still most important when using a website as a reference. A popular site full of minor bugs can still cost you a potential job.
    soLinkable - Trying to put the social back into social news.

  18. #18
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    I say, that you should try getting the job you want, and in the mean time continue working on your site and building your portfolio!

    <snip/>
    Last edited by Mittineague; May 4, 2014 at 00:59.

  19. #19
    got beer? jabo's Avatar
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    if you are comfortable doing your freelance and earn a pretty neat money out of it, then you can stay with it, working in an office would probably give you the same tasks but working at office and at home is different

  20. #20
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    for those who have experience of freelance, how difficult is it to survive purely from freelance work?
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot Acquiesce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonpenny View Post
    From my experience here in the UK, companies want someone who has a good protfolio AND commercial experience.

    When I left Uni, I couldn't get a job due to lack of experience so decided to work freelance for a few years. I then got bored of being stuck in my home office all on my own all day so decided to apply for jobs.

    About 90% of responses came back saying they were looking for someone who has worked in a commercial environment and can show you can work as part of a large team.

    So I am now employed in a junior position and still do some freelance work to earn some extra money.

    So from my experience I would say go for a junior position now and still build up a portfolio by doing the odd freelance work.
    I was by and large in this position as well. To begin with I had a portfolio and little commercial experience.... I went out and got some more commercial experience. Then I was told I had no agency experience, which is difficult to get when an agency won't employ you to begin with.

    I think more and more companies nowadays are looking for the almost finished article. You can't blame them for that... they're taking a risk by employing you, so I would keep on freelancing (seeing as that is something you can control) and keep applying. Dont get despondent with knock-backs (which will inevitably happen), but use them as fuel to prove them wrong.

    You may well have to start at the bottom rung, but its a rung on the right ladder, and the sooner you do it, the sooner you can start to climb that ladder.

    Good luck with it... and the travelling.

  22. #22
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    Hi Everybody,

    It is important to have good and attractive resume to attract the HR and here are few tips to make an attractive resume. Your resume is the backbone of your job application. It outlines your skills and abilities, your background and education. Your resume should be a glowing self-advertisement that presents you in your best light and sells you to an employer.
    Format
    Is your resume tidy and easy to read? Can an employer quickly find the information they need? Make sure you use clear category headings for things like your objective, education and related studies, work experience, project work, skills, volunteer experience, activities & hobbies and references.

    You don't necessarily need to include all of the above categories in your resume, but they can be a good place to start. Some categories may be added or eliminated, depending on the specific job you are applying for.

    Tailored to the Job
    Your resume should always be tailored to the job for which you are applying. Employers want to see that you have done some research into the position and know what you are talking about. Make sure you highlight any particular skills, experience or education that pertains to the job.

    Show the employer that not only are you interested in the job, you also understand what is involved in working for them and you have ideas about how you could contribute to their team. Think of your resume as an advertisement: you must convince the employer that not only are you a good candidate for the position, you are the best candidate for the position.

    It's always a good idea to do some research on a particular company before sending them your application. Know what it is they do, what their company policies and goals are, who their business partners are, what they look for in employees. And of course, make sure that their morals and practices are in line with your own.

    Language
    Be sure to use clear, concise language to get your information across. You want to be thorough but brief. Your resume should not be any longer than two pages. Use short phrases and succinct points rather than long sentences.

    Use professional vocabulary, and employ action verbs where possible.

    Spelling & Grammar
    Check and double check your resume for any errors. Mistakes in spelling and grammar will often cause an employer to discard a resume immediately, so always proofread! It may help to have someone else check for errors as well, or to print a hard copy of your resume; sometimes your eye will catch mistakes on a piece of paper that you didn't notice on the computer screen.

    ======================
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  23. #23
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    Don't quit your day job just yet!

    There are tons of people now a days who can put together a website, heck, even high schools are teaching basic web design to kids.

    Just telling somebody that you know how to do something is usually not enough to get a decent position. If your website was up and running, you might have a chance at landing some freelance jobs by showing your site as a reference example.

    In your position, I would continue my day job to finance my basic needs and at the same time I would spend my spare time building new websites either for yourself, or for free for other people, this will help you build up some good testimonials from past clients as well as add more sites to your portfolio.

    Once you establish a portfolio then I would definitely give it a shot at landing a good paying job.

    Just be sure to equip yourself with all the knowledge and experience needed to move into a new job field.

    Good Luck!

  24. #24
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Thanks for all the advice and encouragement...

    appreciate it
    discover song meanings and more http://www.music-explained.com

  25. #25
    SitePoint Addict ruby-lang's Avatar
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    Frankly, at the risk of starting a flame war, Coldfusion isn't a good technology to invest your time in right now. There are few new sites built with it, and CF programmers are moving on. If you find a position, you will probably work maintaining an existing CF site, with several years of hacks and annoying quirks.

    Java, ASP.Net, and PHP are safe bets now, while Python and Ruby are two fast-growing markets that will probably offer several great opportunities by the time the economy turns around. If you do land a CF job, it's still wise to start planning your next move.


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