For New Developers: How to Stay Motivated And Positive When Job Searching (Ft. My Journey)

Spoiler Alert: It’s hard

Background

I finally accepted my first SWE job offer last week at my 7th-month of job searching (Sep 1, 2021). It was probably the hardest 7 months I have been in my life. I had to go through so many obstacles and insecurities to finally be able to gain the confidence and the positivity I have right now.

How I Stayed Motivated in my Job Search

Here are a few ways I stayed motivated:

1. Always remind yourself why you are looking for a job as a developer

Although I had so much negativity especially in the beginning and the mid of my journey, one thing I never forget is my passion in programming. Yes, developers in entry level do earn way higher than average, this may be a motivation, but sometimes the compensation is not the most fulfilling. I’ve heard so many stories how many people would leave a 6-figure salary financial analyst job to become a chef or whatnot. Because it is all about passion. Same as you if you are transitioning your career or starting your first full time job like me! Never forget about your passion in programming, that’s how you stay resilient and motivated.

2. Take time to self-reflect and use your strengths to build confidence

I don’t usually code in the weekends or after 10pm every night, because… I don’t want to. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I hate it, but it’s because I like to take the down time to reflect on myself.

2b. Take time to self-reflect at times and use your other non-coding skills as a narrative

I made this bullet point as 2b, because it is still related to using your strength. I was very discouraged when I learned that not a lot of developers come from a social science background. But in the end, I found that that was my leverage and what made me unique as a candidate and developer. I learned how to use my sociology background to create a narrative and link it to my passion in web development/coding.

From my portfolio (I recently changed the picture and I forgot to fix the margin issue…)!

3. Online presence — Put yourself out there and find your people!

As I have mentioned from my previous bullet point, I found my strength in creating a more engaging Linkedin content. It might not be an easy task for some people, but for me, that’s like my way of building my network and showing my personality.

4. Don’t grind Leetcode thinking that is for interviews

It is quite unfortunate that it seems like grinding LC to prep for interviews has become an obligation and a norm.

5. GO FOR A WALK!

I found walking to be a really helpful activity for breaks! I always took a walk at around 3 or 4pm because that’s when I started losing concentration (and I will continue to do that). Going out for a walk is not for the purpose of thinking about the challenges you were stuck in, but it’s more for taking your mind off from intense work. I always listened to my favorite music, depending on my mood and I always came home feeling lighter and happier.

6. Maintain good rapports with your recruiters (and hiring managers)

This may sound silly for motivation wise. But it’s true. I found my motivation via maintaining good rapports with the recruiters and hiring managers. I may have been rejected from these companies, but I had great conversations with the people I have talked to within the companies I was interested in. By communicating openly, you, as a candidate, will make their jobs easier, so as your job searching experience. I always showed a lot of gratitude to the recruiters that I worked closely because I sincerely appreciate the work they have done and it’s not easy to be the middle person. Their ways of responding your questions also show the companies culture, which helps you make decision whether you believe you will fit in the company’s culture or not. Interviews are not a one-way street, it’s always two-ways. They interview you, so are you. You may heard of the term, “flip the table”. ’Cause in the end when they end up giving you an offer, the ball is your court and you are the one who make the decision whether you would take the offer or not.

7. Sometimes… it’s really about luck and timing

I’ve got a few friends who were able to get a job offer just a few weeks or even less after graduating from their bootcamp. But I know these people had been looking for jobs even before they graduated from bootcamps, like my friend, Eva who had been joining events actively, posting her experience on Linkedin and eventually caught the attention from a recruiter at her current company (please check out her amazing articles!). Honestly, if you believe you have done everything you can (I am talking about portfolio, online presence, network, etc., I will post another article regarding that in the near future), sometimes you just gotta find that right person/company.

My Takeaways After Searching for 7 Months and How I Turned My Negativity into Something Positive

I was extremely negative at the beginning and the mid of my journey (pretty sure I’ve mentioned that at least 3 times in this article), but because I kept on grinding and tried to fight the negativity demons in me, at one point of my journey, I started to look back all the things I have achieved and done, and I was like… wow. It’s like spending so much time climbing that mountain and when you climb to the top of the mountain, you see this beautiful view. All the hard work suddenly becomes… gratitude.

Last but not least…

Happy Coding!!

Credit: here

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