How to: Land a front-end job

Landing a front-end job is hard.

We’ve had an open position at my company for about 3 weeks now, and it’s gotten almost 100 applicants. That’s a lot of competition, no matter how good of a developer you are and how passionate / motivated you might feel.

I think the market is especially tough for junior and mid-level front-end developers right now. Throughout the last few years we’ve seen a rise in bootcamp graduates, and learning front-end has become more accessible. I’d argue it’s also one of the “easier” coding fields to get started with that doesn’t require a degree. Mostly because it’s quite straight forward to create an index.html file, add some HTML, CSS and JS and you’re already going. The barrier to entry is much lower compared to something like data science, applied algorithms or systems design.

Unfortunately that also means that the market has become more saturated with entry level front-end devs. Combine that with the fact that many companies have been doing tech layoffs in the last few years following the post-covid boom, now is definitely not the easiest time to land that crucial first front-end job allowing you to gather real world experience. And the companies that are hiring are also often prioritising more senior profiles or people with 5+ years of experience. That can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s unfortunately how things are right now.

With all that said, there are of course still front-end jobs out there - even for juniors and people early in their career. They’re just harder to get because the competition is so tough.

That naturally begs the question: If you’re an aspiring front-end dev looking for your first or second job, what can you do to stand out of the crowd? How can you make sure you’re the person getting through the initial screenings, to the interview stage and finally to the job offer?

There’s obviously no silver bullet I can give you to make all of that happen. But what I can do, is tell you what I look for when judging candidates - in the hopes that shifting your focus a bit will make you 10x more likely to beat out the competition in this difficult and stressful job market.

So here’s some do’s and don’ts based on my experience as both a job seeker and more recently as hiring manager:


  • Have a portfolio a work. It can be past experience, side projects, open-source work or school projects. Anything you can do to show employers that you have some basic front-end chops is incredibly important. I can’t stress this enough. Without it I’m almost discarding your application as I have no idea about your skills or experience.

  • Target your CV and application to each specific position. I understand it can be time consuming, but it’s much better to send out 10 well-crafted and focused applications than 100 copy/paste ChatGPT ones. Think about it from the other perspective: the company doesn’t care how many jobs you’re applying for; they just want to find the best and most fitting candidate for them.

  • Reach out before applying. There’s almost always a person listed as point of contact in the job description. Write them a short email saying hello, that you’re interested in the position and just have 1 small question. It really makes a difference when they go through the list of candidates later and already remember you as nice and proactive.

  • Read the job description. This might seem simple, but you’ll be surprised how many people do not properly read through what the company is looking for. You don’t need to check every single box and know every technology on the list. But if the position says 4-5 years of experience and must be located in a specific country, applying while you’re still in school in another country makes no sense - and you’re likely just wasting your own time and energy applying for these positions.

  • Use a CV template to make it look clean and professional. Your CV is likely the first point of contact, so make sure it looks sharp. Have a good picture, put your experience and projects at the top, and cut out any unnecessary fluff. Make sure your CV leaves a good first impression and communicates what the company wants to know at a first glance.

  • Be quick to move. When a position opens up, apply for it right away. If the company gets back to you, reply right away. If they offer you an interview, reply right away. Again it shows that you’re serious about the position and that you’re a proactive person.


  • Don’t use skill bars. I’ve seen way too many CV’s with “90% HTML”, “70% JavaScript” etc. But these numbers serve no purpose because they are so arbitrary; they’re essentially meaningless because the reader doesn’t know what “70% JavaScript” means.

  • Don’t write large paragraphs of uninteresting stuff. Again, see it from the company perspective: if they get 100 applications, they’re not going to spend time reading your whole life story. Keep your application and CV short and to the point.

  • Don’t use ChatGPT. I know it’s tempting, but I promise you that I can sense a ChatGPT application from miles away - and it’s just not a good first impression that you couldn’t / didn’t bother to spend the time and energy writing a tailored application.

To sum up, I think the best thing you can do is try to see the situation from the perspective of the company / hiring manager. They receive potentially 100’s of applications, so they’re looking for any reason to discard yours from the pile. That might sound harsh, but that’s very much my experience. So make sure you do whatever you can to stand out and stay in the race for as long as possible. Don’t give them an easy chance to reject you for a lack of portfolio, a ChatGPT-written application or a CV with a poor image showing no experience.

Hopefully some of these tips and tricks can help you stand out of the crowd and land that crucial first or second job - because I really feel for any junior dev looking to break into the field in this current market.

At the same time, remember that it only requires 1 company to take a chance on you. So even if you might feel frustrated and willing to give up, I strongly recommend you hang in there and do whatever you can to keep up hope. Because if you do, I’m positive you’ll end up in a good place where you can build your experience and skills to enjoy a great and fulfilling career.