How to Decode Job Descriptions as a Junior Developer

January 20th, 2020

Lauren Mabra

Marketing Coordinator @ Suncoast Developers Guild

We partner with local companies to prepare our students to be successful as web developers after they graduate our program.

Last week, Erica Woods from Apex Systems came in to cover how to decode job descriptions as a junior web developer. Here are a few of the questions and takeaways that students had...


How do I know when I qualify for a job and when to apply?

Usually HR employees or hiring managers are the ones who write job descriptions and these are people who most likely have never done the job that they’re hiring for. It’s important to remember that typically, the person writing the job descriptions treats it as a “wishlist”. It may seem like they include every possible qualification that they can dream on the job posting.

It's hard to know what’s mandatory versus what would be nice to have as a junior developer who's job searching. The reality is that their goal is to write a job description that attracts top talent while weeding out those who are completely unqualified.

Here’s our advice- If you believe you’re a good match and can do the job minus a few things here and there, then you should take a shot. We encourage our students to apply for jobs where they have at least 50% of the requirements (as long as the title/main job function is relevant).

Pro tip: Before you apply, make sure you’re tailoring your resume to every job you go after.


As a newbie in the industry, how do you really communicate that you’re hungry to break into a new career?

Take additional courses for versatility and to communicate initiative. You can add the completed courses to your resume and LinkedIn profile under “Additional Training” section. Within this section, you’ll be able to outline course title, provider, and completion date.

You can keep sharpening your skills by taking assessments via different providers like Indeed, ProveIt, etc. and if you do well, add it to a ‘Technical Assessments’ section on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include the assessment name, provider, score and date completed.

When you’re completing your resume or Linkedin profile, make sure you’re highlighting your willingness to learn and excitement to learn new technologies and furthering knowledge of technologies in your resume, Linkedin profile, and interviews.

When you're applying, take a second outreach attempt to hiring managers, talent acquisition, and recruiters. You can either call into the office (if it's a staffing firm) or identify the talent acquisition if it's a company via LinkedIn. Reach out, let them know that you've applied for X position, show what you can do and include a call to action at the end such as: "I'd love to chat more about the company and how I can help."


How do I prep for an interview?

After you get an interview request, reread the job posting and outline questions you have. Remember that you’re conducting an interview, too. You’re interviewing the company to see if they’re a good fit for you.

Stay active by interacting with recruiters you’ve spoken with and keep track of the applications that you’ve put in. Also, have a follow up strategy. Everyone has a different way of following up. Your first move could be simply sending a thank you message within a day of the interview.


What else should I be doing to gain experience and make myself a valuable candidate?

Put together a portfolio for interviews and meetings with recruiters. Include your resume, code samples, technical assessments, recommendations, etc.

Do research about prospective companies via their website and 1-2 social channels (LinkedIn corporate page is a major one). If you know who’s interviewing you, do your research on who they are and their experience.

In our three-month program, we set you up to be successful as a full-stack developer which means guiding you through the job search process and soft skills needed to get (and stay) hired. Ready to get your web development career started? Learn more here.

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