Putting together your junior web developer portfolio is an exciting process. You finally get to show off all your hard work to potential employers.
But if you want to stand out and leave a positive impression and get that job, there are a few things you must avoid.
Here are the top 5 crucial no-nos for any junior web developer portfolio:
- Cookie-cutter projects
- Not linking to the source code
- Not giving your projects context
- Too much information in the About Me section
- Social media unrelated to software development
Even slipping up on one of these can cost you a chance at getting hired as a web developer.
Let's take a closer look.
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1. Avoid Cookie-Cutter Projects
There are quality projects out there that are taught by reputable instructors. And these can be great for getting familiar with technologies and languages. But the thing is, you aren't the only one using them.
And you're not the only one adding them to your junior web developer portfolio.
So what does that mean?
Learn from these projects but don't replicate them.
One thing I look for in a jr web developer is someone who can at least make his own portfolio... If you are serious about becoming a developer look into the size and scope of some of the projects that we build, really understand how much work really goes into this stuff, you can't always just grab someone else's work and slap your name onto it.
While working on these projects can help you develop skills to become a better candidate, featuring them won't make you stand out as one.
Take what you've learned and add to an existing project, or build your own.
2. Not Linking to the Source Code
Source code is like an X-ray. It gives employers insight into your coding abilities and your coding process.
So if you don't give your projects context in your junior web developer portfolio, employers can't see how you went from zero to hero.
And no matter how rad your project is, employers will pass you over if your role in creating it is dubious.
Bottom line: Link to your GitHub repo.
3. Not Giving Your Projects Context
Employers want to see your problem-solving process. Because that's what we get paid to do: solve problems.
They want to know the steps you took to solve the challenges.
Pro tip: "Use the PAR method to give your projects context. It also illustrates your problem-solving process and impresses employers," says RTC. "Check out my course How to Get a Job in Web Development to learn more."
4. Too Much Information in the About Section
Employers are curious about who we are, and the About section of your portfolio is a great place to showcase all your great qualities.
But try to be succinct.
By giving a brief description, this allows employers to focus on the more important meat of your portfolio: your projects.
Plus, giving too much information could actually work against you. The unseen opportunity cost is that an extensive About Me section distracts employers from your work.
Try highlighting a few personal and professional accomplishments.
A short paragraph will be sufficient.
5. Social Media Unrelated to Software Development
Employers are digging into social media now more than ever to screen job candidates. In fact, over half of employers that screen social media have chosen not to hire candidates that post:
❌ inappropriate photographs
❌ drug/alcohol use
❌ negative posts about previous employers
❌ lies about qualifications or reasons for absence
❌ too-frequent posting
And MUCH more.
Only include relevant social media when applying to web developer jobs.
And check your privacy settings.
Potential employers don't need to know that you hold the longest keg stand on record at your college, about clients you can't stand, or issues with your previous job.
First impressions are everything. And when you make a bad one, it doesn't go away.
And even after you're hired, you have to be careful what you post on social media.
Remember the kid that posted a photo to Facebook of him licking a stack of taco shells?
It turns out it was an unused photo for an internal company contest, and the taco shells weren't served to customers. He lost his job anyway.
And this phenomenon is nothing new.
Did you know? In 2004, a developer from Friendster got fired for her blog posts about the company. "I only made three posts about Friendster on my blog before they decided to fire me... They did not have any policy, didn't give me any warning, they didn't ask me to take anything down," said Joyce Park.
5 No-Nos for Any Junior Web Developer Portfolios: Conclusion
So, what are the 5 no-nos for any junior web developer portfolio?
❌ Cookie-cutter projects - Don't use them! You want your portfolio to stand out.
❌ Not linking to the source code - Let employers see your work.
❌ Not giving your projects context - Show them your problem-solving process.
❌ Too much information in the About Me section - Be brief and let them focus on what's important: your coding abilities!
❌ Social media unrelated to software development - Employers use it to find reasons not to hire you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What should I avoid in my junior web developer portfolio?
There are 5 things you should avoid in your junior web developer portfolio: 1. Cookie-cutter projects. Using a project from a reputable instructor is fine, but be sure to add your own flare. Change the theme to something you enjoy, and alter photographs, descriptions and layout to suit. 2. Not linking to source code. If you don't link to the source code, employers won't be able to see your process, and if it was you that completed the project. 3. Not giving your projects context. Use the PAR method to illustrate your problem-solving process. This will show employers your reasoning and methodology. 4. Too much personal information. Keep the About Me section minimal so employers can focus on your projects. 5. Social media unrelated to software development. Employers frequently use social media as a tool to find reasons not to hire people. Keep it professional.