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Ask HN: I’ve been applying to a million jobs
274 points by oliv__ on Feb 16, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 248 comments
Hello HN,

I am simply writing this post because I can't take this situation anymore and this is a cry from the heart.

I've been applying to a million jobs, I always seem to get the same old automated denial and I am just so sick of it. I am incredibly hardworking, disciplined, passionate about what I do and good at it, I've been doing web dev & design since highschool, I learn fast, I sweat the details, I am willing to learn anything it takes to solve my problems, I've launched a startup, single-handedly sketched, designed, and developed two mobile apps from scratch, (both live on iOS and Android at the time, and one of which went on to get over 8000 users the first month, be top 10 of its category, get featured in top women's publications online) , created APIs, have experience with databases (SQL and NoSQL), marketing, writing copy, web scraping, product design, interface design, I am Franco-american, bilingual in French and English, speak Node.js, Python, Django, Meteor.js, Hapi.js, and whatever I learn next.

I've been "selling" myself as a Product Designer but I truly can't fit in such a narrow box; I love the entire process, I love coding: for me HTML/CSS and code have never been anything more than tools to get whatever was on my mind into the real world. I love clicking a button and seeing it do something. That to me is magic.

But I am so frustrated right now, I don't understand why everything takes so long, this process is unbearable. It's already an inhumane effort for me to apply for a regular job, but I am willing to do anything (in tech) as long as it's paid at this point. I just want to come back to New York (I moved there when I was 20, knowing no-one) and work. I really feel like I can be incredibly useful to whoever hires me and it kills me that no one is even giving me a chance.

This is my website: http://o23.io


I write resumes and coach job seekers who have difficulty in finding work or navigating career issues (my HN profile has links). My background includes nearly 20 years in recruiting for east coast startups.

You have a few things going 'against' you in most cases. I haven't seen a resume yet, but based on your site and post:

1 - You're relatively junior (at 23).

2 - You now live in France and want either remote work or to come back to the US. (remote junior work isn't easy to get).

3 - You're applying to a million jobs, which likely means you are sending out rather anonymous letters instead of something even remotely targeted.

I encourage my clients to apply to less companies, but to make those applications more targeted. Write a cover letter (or just the body of an email) that demonstrates that you've actually read the job spec and maybe even a page of their website.

Saying things like "I learn fast" and "I'm a good communicator" don't get a recruiter's attention.

The good news is that you have some projects that will look good on a resume.

Your messaging should focus on your accomplishments and projects, and not on how hard you'll work or how much you love to code. When you stop talking like a junior dev dying for work, you'll start being treated that way.

My guess is that the problem is the resume or the messaging.

Saying things like "I learn fast" and "I'm a good communicator" don't get a recruiter's attention.

Right. You don't impress people by saying "I'm a good communicator." You impress them by... communicating well.

It's an excessive theory for an idea this simple, but "honest signaling" is a hell of an insight. If anyone who wants a job can send a given signal, it's a poor signal. If only people with a certain trait can send it, it's a good one - hence personality interviews for communication, hence technical interviews for programming languages.

"Show don't tell" is a pretty basic (but incredibly important) writing concept that many people never learn.

Contrarian opinion:

Saying "I'm a good communicator" is the most succinct and clear way of communicating that one is a good communicator.

The recipient needs only read 4 words to get the message.

But what about the three-word sentence "I communicate well"?

More seriously, the most that reading "I'm a good communicator" tells me is that the writer can form sentences reasonably.

Succinct? Sure, but it's still so broad. When I'm working with someone, I would appreciate a troubleshooting message of "The Flob server is saying clients don't have the right Gruffin anymore." instead of "Flob isn't working."

Obviously this depends on context, but choosing where to be succinct is key. My project manager would much rather hear "Flob is down for half the users - we'll have a patch tested and deployed by tomorrow afternoon" than "Flob broke, and we're fixing it".

"I have a proven history of writing clear and efficient end-user documentation" and "I'm someone people enjoy bouncing ideas off of" give me more confidence in someone's communication skills than "I'm a good communicator".

The problem is that perhaps 75% of the people who say it are incorrect. There are a handful of trite items on a high percentage of resumes (team player, communicator, able to work in high pressure, etc.) that are virtually ignored - nobody has ever brought someone in for interview because they wrote "I'm a good communicator".

Generally I'll assume you're a good communicator until you show otherwise.

> I encourage my clients to apply to less companies, but to make those applications more targeted. Write a cover letter (or just the body of an email) that demonstrates that you've actually read the job spec and maybe even a page of their website.

That's exactly what I always did and I can tell you the conclusion of that experiment is that precisely 0% of recruiters/HR/bosses did read my cover letter.

Great analysis. Targeting and messaging is key. Treat the job search like analyzing a problem. What kind of industry do I want? What is my market? How am I marketable in this market? Do my skillsets match? Create lists so you can visualize your opportunity.

As far as messaging you need to show accomplishments? Translate to measurables like $ grown, $ saved, % improved, % eliminated, etc. Those pop out that you are goal oriented.

I've found the generalizing duties and skills doesn't get much attention.

Measuring accomplishments for OP isn't likely to be easy, but for more senior candidates that's the ideal situation.

You're correct about generalizing duties and skills. Bullet points on resumes that talk about non-specific day-to-day responsibilities are mostly filler.

> Bullet points on resumes that talk about non-specific day-to-day responsibilities are mostly filler.

This. A co-worker interviewed a guy last week who had 3 pages full of bullet points and when he asked him about his experience with any of them, he gave us some generic response like, "We used Java on project X that did Y". List 6-7 core skills; or better yet, list projects you worked on, the stack you built it on, and a very brief summary of how you kicked ass on it.

He has example projects on his site, which is great; most people don't even have that.

When I go into an interview as a developer, I always go in with a running example of a project that I built, with source code. Towards the end of the interview I'll bring it up: "I brought along a project I built; I'd love to go through it quick with you." At which point I go through the UI to show what it does and then open up the code to review the architecture and anything clever I did within the code itself.

Note that this all happens in about 5 minutes; no one wants to sit through a 30 minute demo.

could you give an example of an app you've shown (no need for links if you don't want, just a short desc would be very helpful)

I agree that it's ideal to have numbers attached to accomplishments, but how many devs actually know those numbers? I've written code that's run literally millions of times, because it's deep in the core of some task execution code, that enables easier debugging of tasks, and I have no idea how much debugging time it's actually saved. I wrote a large part of a couple of important features in a product for the company I work for now, and I have no idea how much revenue these features are going to help bring in or how many sales they'll generate.

Do you have any tips on how a dev can quantify his/her work in an easily digestible format like all the resume books suggest?

We all understand that it's often highly complex if not impossible for most devs to quantify an accomplishment. It's easy for some things to be quantified obviously - downloads, traction - though those aren't exclusive to engineering (could be marketing).

Scalability numbers and measurable performance improvements are relatively common. So if you built something that is able to handle n requests maybe.

The amount of revenue generated by a feature is clearly tough - but you might be able to find out new subscribers since the feature was introduced. Even if you can't, just saying you built a certain feature is probably enough in most cases.

It really boils down to unique, one-off accomplishments for me. Specificity. That code that runs millions of times - tell me the product name, what that product does, what your code does, and what tools you used to build it. Even if you can't point to a quantifiable figure, the specificity gives you some credibility.

I saw your website. It's great. I would advise networking and attending meetups, asking for referrals.

Every job I have is mostly due to referrals. Someone putting a good word on behalf of you means a lot.

Also don't fire and shoot. Target like a sniper.

Exactly. My first real job out of college was due to a referral. Girlfriend's stepdad put in a good word for me a a major engineering firm. I went to the interview open-house and realized quickly the people around me seemed much more accomplished and more knowledgeable about the company and the industry its in. I had some interviews later, they seemed to have gone ok, not awesome but not a disaster. Then the VP of engineering comes up to me and tells me how excited they were to have talked to me. This threw me because it all seemed way out of my league but I didn't see her approach anyone else except for a couple other candidates. I ended up getting an offer a month later. I knew my gf's stepdad definitely put in a good word for me, I just wasn't expecting it to help me that much.

If I tried to get an interview from this company through the job fair at my school, I would have most likely not even gotten a phone interview. The only thing, I haven't told any of my coworkers who referred me. I'm not totally sure how prepared I am for this work and I wouldn't want any poor performance to reflect back onto him.

- Put down debugging time from hours to minutes, by improving developer tools.

- Automated the manual week-long test and QA procedure for critical aerospace devices into a daily 1-hour automated routine.

- Increased application performances by over 9000%, allowing us to save 1M million a year in AWS server costs.

- Ensured we delivered consistently and with due diligence, every single day, month over month, to our 586 millions users.

- Interviewed and graded 23 candidates.

# Typical stuff you'll find in my resume.

As you can see, there are plenty of numbers to talk about, no matter your position. Costs, time, users, revenues, latency, percentage, improvements, progress, duration...

You just need to think harder about what you've done and put numbers on it. ;)

It doesn't have to be perfect, approximate and round if you have too.

This is a great illustrative example of why those numbers are informative - most developers are like you, and can't do that, but the reason is not in "CV writing" but in actual content of the work.

From what you say, it sounds like that whatever you did was driven by (initiated by, started because of) (a) technical need (b) order from above or (c) guessing. However, what people mean by "show the impact" is that they are looking for someone who has already done work mostly driven by their observations of business needs, their initiative to improve specific business results by technical means.

If you had no idea "how much revenue these features are going to help bring in or how many sales they'll generate" then you were performing a different role/function than e.g. a person who looked at a need to increase sales (or whatever else was the main business/strategic goal of their company at the time) and figured out a software feature to achieve that. Perhaps you are capable of more than just implementation, but how would a potential employer know? It's not like they'd just ask you, they want to see evidence that you have done this before, that you have been not only implementer of ideas but initiator of changes driven by your personal understanding of business needs - not matter how your role was called or what your nominal job description did/didn't include.

-->3 - You're applying to a million jobs, which likely means you are sending out rather anonymous letters instead of something even remotely targeted.

I think this is important, in a sense personalizing it for the company, and also the specific position you are aiming for. rather than aim for the entire goal net aim for a specific cross stitch within the net.

on a side note, all of the comments of others offering help I find absolutely beautiful and it makes me happy to have found this community of incredible people!

Can speak from experience: If your application was submitted by a robot (or feels that way) I don't look at it. If you can't be bothered to apply in person, I can't be bothered to read it. ;)

I'm a huge advocate for automation but there is such a thing as too much.

What kinds of projects do you consider that look good on a resume?

If you need more context, I just started learning web development and want to start building some interesting projects that could help me get a job.

As someone who does some technical recruiting, things that look good:

1) Work experience. Let's face it, this always looks good to everyone looking over your resume. We all know that people hiring for an office have a bias for work you do in an office. I'm as guilty of it as the next guy.

2) Side projects. For me at least, starting stuff from the ground up (no matter how silly or niche) shows me the kind of code you write in your free time, which is a much better measure of your ability (but possibly a less rigorous measure of your success) than what you do at work, where you're constrained by deadlines, code reviews, and "best practices".

3) Open source contributions. This one is trickier; usually when you contribute to Open Source projects, you're doing small pieces of the big work that needs doing, and there isn't much decision making/architecting going on. Speaking as someone who's currently trying (and failing....) to get into Linux kernel contributions, 90% of the issues you're going to come across that are within your abilities to fix are the kind of thing that a more experienced dev could do in 20 minutes, but doesn't have the patience to sit down and do it (due to being busy with more important/pressing work). So, the vast majority of the work you'll do (especially early in your career) is going to be bound in scope by your lack of experience, and won't be as impressive as engineering something from scratch.

In general, WRITE CODE. WRITE LOTS OF CODE. And show off whatever you can. And try to follow best practices, e.g. using CI/CD, writing good tests, using proper style, designing and documenting your architecture, etc.

The biggest thing with projects is that they're 'finished'. Most young devs have 20 sloppy repos or apps/sites with incomplete functionality that sends the message that the person is not able to finish something.

Of course you can go back and refactor old code (which you probably will if you keep repos public as your career advances), but have at least a few completed and fully functional projects to show.

When I'm looking at candidates repos I don't care what the project is. Music app, twitter clone, whatever. I just want to see a live project with a series of commits from 'ember new' all the way to deployment. I look at their migrations, model files, etc just to get a feel for how the person architects real world concepts.

Generally it's not so much what you build, but how it's built. If I look at your project, I'll be asking myself these kinds of questions:

1) Do you understand databases, or did you choose an easy project that lets you avoid knowledge of databases?

2) Do you understand how to write code on the serverside (either PHP, or Node, or Java, or Django, or something like that)?

3) Do you understand CSS/HTML/Javascript, or did you choose a project that makes it easy to avoid these things? Bonus points for React or similar framework.

4) If you are looking for work as a frontend developer, I would also include things like, "is the website attractive? Is it easy to use/user friendly?"

5) Do you know processes......git, Jenkins, AWS deployment, etc?

You don't have to be perfect in all those categories, of course, but the higher you score in each of them, the better.

You can also test those things out and gain some confidence in the game. Make a bunch of fake persons with similar skills, try many different ways to present them and see which ones get the most responses.

Related to (3) and the messaging, OP's post here reads to me like he's positioning himself as a generalist. Companies simply do not hire generalists other than very narrow corner cases. He should figure out what speciality a company is looking for and showing the side of your experience that best fits what they're looking for.

> Companies simply do not hire generalists other than very narrow corner cases

Then he ought to be spending 90% of his effort finding those narrow corner cases instead of sending out 1,000,000 applications.

Maybe it's that you're experience says DESIGNER all over the place, but you seem to look for a "DEVELOPER with some extra product-design attributes" type job.

This confuses the heck out of most recruiters, since they like to put people in "boxes with labels", like "product designer, "graphic designer", "frontend developer" etc. I mean, people can't even figure out "who should interview this guy?"... which leads to being unable to even schedule an interview... which leads to lazy people going "wtf, next" reactions...

Also avoid labeling yourself as "designer who can code"... at an older job I worked with projects started by a designer/coder and it was a horrible experience... maintaining code written by a designer with rudimentary coding skills (not even basic OOP, let alone basic OOD/SOLID skills, or at least notions of FP) is pure hell for a disciplined software developer.

Also adding ENTREPRENEUR there translates to "shit, this guy can leave the company and start his own business anytime".

I'm an "Expert Generalist" myself, but never label myself as such, it drives everyone away! (Not even after getting a job... it will make everyone around you feel stupid and insecure, because "hey, this guy knows everything, I only know X", and they'll not enjoy working with you...)

List your full experience, but label yourself as what you want your future job to be! This way recruiters, founders or engineers will know what to do with you...

Second the "entrepreneur" comment. If I'm looking for an employee, I'm looking for someone who can creatively execute on my company strategy — not someone who is going to push their own vision, and maybe even leave to start their own thing at the worst possible time. The only role for which "entrepreneur" is a positive attribute is that of co-founder.

Thank you for your insight.

The thing is, I've always been in between both and as a result truly fit in neither position, compared to people who've specialized in one side.

I thought I would apply on the design side because it has always come more naturally to me, but maybe I should reevaluate.

The positions you should apply for are called Front-End Developer. Maybe even junior front-end dev.

In these positions you will do a mix of design and dev, but mostly dev, and mostly dev that the "serious engineer" devs don't want to do, like CSS. But that work has to get done and demonstrating an interest across the stack will help you work better with both the backend devs and designers.

One more thing: you also have the odd combination of "product design" + "sounding-mostly-like-BACKEND tech experience", but people would expect "product design" + "frontend" with nicely sounding keywords Angular 2 or React or Polymer etc. I guess...

I don't have a solution for this because I have a similar problematic set of skills (product design + backend + entrepreneur-ish + desire to jump more towards machine learning...). I'm curios how you end up solving the issue of selling this combination of skills, so please let me know how it goes ;)

Recently there was an interesting article here with a title like 'The Bipolar Programmer' where a stereotype about 'smart but lazy' STEM students; in that article I fiund nearly a definition of myself, and I think you and the OP may find that this is true for you two too. I, too, am curious for many areas of computing and art, and as a result sparsely knowledgeable about most of them, but lack profound proficiency in all of them. I believe (and daresay) that we make a category which is hard to recruit in this sector. I've lost the hope that I'll be able to fit in as a programmer-for-hire and believe that the only place for me here is as an entrepreneur-hacker and open-source side-projects person. I've actually drifted so away from programming as a profession that at the moment am studying philology at uni.

That's the thing. I much prefer backend development to frontend. Imo, the frontend world is kind of all over the place right now and most of the time those frameworks are overkill for simple projects.

Tossing CVs down an HR portal (to nowhere) isn't a way to find jobs. You find jobs by knowing people. I'm sure there are some developer/designer meetups in Paris. Find one (or many) and start going. That doesn't mean sit in the back silently. You need to network. This doesn't have to be cheesy. Make small talk. Get to know them and their interests. Maybe you'll have the same favorite CSS framework. Talk about that then. When people feel that you are easy to talk to and that you know what you're talking about, it becomes easier for them to feel good about introducing you as a candidate to their boss.

Why I am so confident in this answer? 1) I've gotten every one of my jobs through networking (either from meetups or from former coworkers and friends); 2) I run a meetup, and I've seen it happen; and 3) I've been in the position to recommend people to an employer, and I don't recommend people who might make me look bad.

>"Tossing CVs down an HR portal (to nowhere) isn't a way to find jobs. You find jobs by knowing people."

No you can find jobs by applying for positions on listing on Indeed, Simply Hired, or direct listing on companies sites. It happens all the time. Yes developing a network is also good but that is not the only way to find a job as you are implying. I've gotten my last 3 jobs without "knowing people."

I am assuming that by changing your career 3+ times, you would be considered an experienced developer. If so, I would say that it's then safe to assume that your skill set and accomplishments speak for themselves to a degree. But for a junior developer without much professional experience, knowing someone or getting face-to-face time with someone may be their best shot at landing that entry position job. As a recent graduate, my 1st internship and ft offer were both through a career fair, and my other internship was through a friend's recommendation. When your skill set is so similar to so many other people in your position, sometimes the only thing that would set you apart is a personal touch.

You don't have to know people. I got my last 2 jobs through StackOverflow careers

also, another data point.

I got all 3 of my Dev jobs thus far from StackOverflow careers despite using a bunch of other available tools at the time.

I disagree with this. I've been offered jobs through blind applications several times; in fact, I've taken (some of) said jobs. I am not a senior developer; I'm about the same age as the OP.

The trick is to understand the criteria used to weed out people who apply through these venues. All you need to do, in many cases, is get to the first stage of actual interviews and let your real skills drive from there. To do this, you have to present a resume, cover letter, etc. that align more or less exactly with what the job description requires.

HR will ignore a "generalist" resume that has some but not all of the relevant skills listed and a whole bunch of other, irrelevant stuff; they'll also discard personal statements/cover letters that don't seem specific. All that's required to stand out in these cases is some limited personalization for each company, matching up the skills they want to the ones you have.

> Why I am so confident in this answer? 1) I've gotten every one of my jobs through networking (either from meetups or from former coworkers and friends)

This doesn't mean people don't get jobs through normal HR means. I've gotten the majority of my jobs through just applying on a website, although I do agree that knowing someone is better.

I've gotten on-sites and offers with the biggest Silicon Valley companies by applying on their online portals..

General idea is to market and sell yourself. Doesn't necessarily have to be networking. But of course you do have to promote yourself and learn how to do that well if you are planning to have a career in this field. Competition for software jobs is not going to decline.

This is good info and the best place to start - but unfortunately eventually the contacts and acquaintances routes are used up without response.

This is one of several ways to apply (I think the first way one should apply) and after some time you should be doing more.

I think you should chill a little. How are supposed to read your post? "I'm so good and nobody hires me, wtf?" I'm sorry to say so, but this makes you come across as the quintessential millennial entitled brat.

If I was recruiting right now, I would think: this guy will want to control everything he touches, and will be extremely negative whenever something doesn't suit him. And then he'll leave, shouting how crap everything is, you get the picture.

How about marketing yourself like so:

"I'm a young and passionate web designer, have been training myself on apps / webapps for the past 3 years. I'd like to think I'm ready to put my skills to use, so I'm looking for a group of great people who are putting together a product that I may be able to help design".

> I'm sorry to say so, but this makes you come across as the quintessential millennial entitled brat.

I think this is a bit harsh and would have been better edited out.

But otherwise, as someone whose is in the process of hiring a junior developer, I think you expressed the concerns I have exactly.

I'm usually looking for someone smart, talented, dedicated, etc... but most importantly, they need to have the patience and the discipline to churn through the boring stuff (bugs, documentation, code reviews, learning and following team practices) that is in my experience the core of being a reliable developer. Seeing three different positions listed for 2016 alone doesn't inspire that kind of confidence.

Yes, I agree that was too harsh. The guy is probably not, but in some ways that is what his post conveys.

> I can't take this situation anymore and this is a cry from the heart.

> I am so frustrated right now, I don't understand why everything takes so long, this process is unbearable.

Meta advice: if I were you, I'd take a break for a few days and focus on getting your feelings about this back to a calmer, constructive, cheerful place.

If you're not sure how to do this, I'd say: start with vigorous exercise every day [1], do things you normally enjoy, and consider mindfulness meditation [2].

[1] http://7-min.com/ is a good quick fix.

[2] https://www.headspace.com/ is good and free for a beginner.

Totally agree.

I'm regarded as a pretty good developer, but I've also had stretches where I was desperate to change jobs, and the offers weren't coming in fast enough. I got very stressed-out and emotionally over-wrought. That's not a good starting point for impressing prospective employers.

If you can, I'd suggest the following project:

1. Commit yourself to not look for a job for 6 months.

2. Pick just one or two of the constructive criticisms people post here, and use that time to see if you can improve in those areas.

3. At the end of those 6 months, give yourself 1 month to apply for jobs, and see how well it goes.

4. If you don't get an acceptable offer, GOTO step 1 above.

great feedback. I think this is the most important comment made so far. Morale is key to success in any challenging endeavour and the best thing this young man can do is take a break.

Best tips for you.

- Never mention where you're from or where you live. They'll figure it out when they'll give you a call (discrimination is bigger than you think). People hire similar profiles and take a lot of unfair shortcuts. If I'm not "franco-american", I'll have one extra information that could potentially make up my mind if I have 1000 Resume to look at. You're different than me, I will have to go outside of my comfort zone...

- Don't mention your age. It also gives people something to consume. A quick info that can make an early unjustified decision.

- Since you're applying for a Product Designer, make your personal website look like a portfolio of apps, not a Resume. Use a simple plain background and list your apps. Don't use text, make it easy for them to visualize what you've done in max 5s.

- Don't share your failures publicly, it will also give them more negative information about you.

- focus on building a network not on sending cold applications. You need a referral not a job.

Agreed, providing information regarding age and nationality works against you. I wouldn't mention "based in Paris" either.

The only point that may matter is if you have the legal ability to work in the US, and you can wait until they are interested to get into that. In fact, if you're an American citizen, use an American postal address -- it signals "you won't have to deal with immigration issues".

> providing information regarding age and nationality

While I believe it is common overseas, in the US it is considered a no-no. We like to think we live in a meritocracy.

If you have any information about your physical body on a resume they'll throw it out because it's a huge legal liability opening them up to discrimination lawsuits.

Hi Olivier,

These are just my thoughts and they are based on nothing tangible, other than that I own a tech company and hire developers and designers. I also come from a mixed engineering and design background and am probably from about the same area in Europe as you are and now live & work in California.

— You're young and it's hard for someone your age to master multiple disciplines. I'd focus on presenting one discipline. If I were you I'd sharpen and highlight your development skills. Maybe you can present yourself as a design-driven front-end developer?

— Recruiters often search by keywords. LinkedIn can help you experiment with what keywords get you the most attention. You could for example try learning React.js which is very popular right now, or further developing your iOS skills and change your LinkedIn title to React.js developer or Swift & iOS developer. Try different things and see what gets you more attention.

— Some recruiters like seeing big names on resumes. Have you considered applying to, for example, big international ad agencies that have Paris offices? Companies like Grey, Ogilvy, BBDO might have local offices that need design sensitive front-end developers. I have no opinion about any of these companies, I just know they're big agencies that have offices all over the world. You might be able to transfer or those names might open some doors for you in the US.

Again, please take this with a grain of salt. These are just some quick thoughts.

I get hired all day, people bang down my door after im hired, and all I do is explain the tools I used each year. I never graduated high school, never went to college, never really built anything that I can show off. I just talk about the tools I use. thats it. www.markentingh.com

Not sure why people downvoted this. It's depressing, but it's reality.

I A/B tested applications a few years back, when I was doing the whole interviewing circus, and the ones that were just a list of tools and adjectives were by far the most successful.

Recruiters don't do nuance.

+1 for 'Recruiters don't do nuance'.

I completely agree.

Job seekers should also understand that once you're past the front door, you should definitely be skilled in nuance as part of the interview process.

I have a similar experience and I attribute it to the fact that when you are really an expert at something, others can pick up on it quick, maybe even before you yourself realize it.

For many years I thought I was a dummy for dropping out of college and just having a bad time with school and never getting good grades. Turns out I'm actually very good at math and I just had chronic depression from a bad upbringing. I taught myself calculus and then later, quantum mechanics, out of sheer interest and boredom after I was able to stabilize myself financially.

I can't believe you taught yourself quantum mechanics! I thought for sure that was something only a serious physicist could do. Now that gives me hope in my own potential :)

I don't understand why you've been down-voted. At least from an experimental perspective I find you statement and CV fascinating.

Had you asked me if this approach would work, I'd have said 'no', so I appreciate the learning.

Your page breaks/is not responsive for widths greater than 1920. I'd probably still hire you, but might be a good year to fix that.

Hmmm... I'm using a Surface Book Pro, 3000x2000 resolution, and the site looks fine for me. How does it break?

Yeap a list of tools, the longer the list the better.

I'm completely agreeing with you, but I cry a little tiny bit inside. Sad that its this way.

PS don't think it fair that you are being downvoted. You are giving sound advice.

> Yeap a list of tools, the longer the list the better.

> I'm completely agreeing with you, but I cry a little tiny bit inside. Sad that its this way.

Me too. When did tool jockeying and lib/api wrestling become equivalent to "skilled techie/engineer"? Oh you're into algorithms, programming languages, realtime performance? Pooh-pooh on that, tell me your decades-long "experience" as a [cloud stack X] / [reactive framework Y] / [agile scrum devops continuous integration yadda-yadda Z] .. "engineer". Yeap that's what we call nowadays what you old grumpy neckbeard geek (rather than fashionista bespectacled over-groomed metro "geek") still call inane trivial "habits/rituals not skills".

Rant over =)

It's okay, I don't mind being downvoted. Haters hate.

Same. Only I recently noticed that I've had to list fewer tools per year over time. I've started to look for this trend in others.

Yea now that Microsoft is on board with open source, my list of tools have stagnated as well. Visual Studio, C#, Javascript, LESS, Gulp, SQL Server, Git. That's about all I need... No front-end Javascript frameworks, no React, no Angular, no Knockout... just beautiful, clean, vanilla Javascript... and C#.

This post is sarcastic and the site is some kind of a parody, right? RIGHT?!

Lol, no that is actually a mugshot of my ugly face. I swear. And the post is legit. I really did not graduate high school because back in 1999, the internet was exciting and school books were just a waste of my time. And then I got my first job as a web developer, building Flash websites. Exciting times.

Your link to rennder.com doesn't work :)

yea that project is dead... i should fix that. Thanks for the input!

There is a spelling error in the page you linked to, second to last paragraph "implimenting"

On your site, you bill yourself as a "Product Designer—UI/UX Designer—Developer—Entrepreneur".

Who exactly would that appeal to? In most cases, startups hire to get specific things done they can't do themselves. It's not really much of a plus if a candidate is "close" to the level where they could provide value in several ways. If someone is great at something, that provides value right away.

This doesn't mean combining skills is a bad thing. It means that if you're a designer and want to bring your other skills to the table, you should focus everything around what those skills can do for your design. E.g, make a whole page about your design work. Mention how you take copywriting or internationalizations concerns into making a design handle text flexibly. Talk about producing HTML/CSS/JS interaction designs to improve communication and productivity when working with developers.

This way of showing off your breadth, you'd actually be strengthening your hireability as a designer rather than weakening it.

Finally just showcase your one most impressive piece of work. If people like it, they'll check out links to the others but it will have no chance of getting lost in the crowd.

Quality over quantity. Apply to a few jobs, apply directly, really get to know the company before you apply and show that in your application by completely tailoring each one to the job.

I'd also market yourself as a Software Engineer (or a better known job title) rather than a "Product Designer". In the right company, an engineering role will see you dip your toes into all aspects of the product development process, which seems to be what you're after.

Lastly, remember that you need to stand out at every step of the recruitment process, from the easily discarded stack of resumes, to the checking your social media/github profiles, to the interview and technical assessment.

I really want to help you here, but I'm not sure why I would hire you. As others have said, one of the first things that struck me was your age is irrelevant and your nationality only matters if you've made the case for yourself (citizen hire?, visa?, contract?).

More important, if you're hired for visuals I have to see that your style can be a good fit for my company. For most designers I'd hire, this usually means they have past (or hypothetical) work displayed ranging from cutesy bakeries to engine manufacturers, with your typical corporate sites mixed in. It's hard to see how your git log -like look and tables of data or pictures represent you well.

If you're hired as a programmer, your JS screenshot tells me "this guy is very junior". Some thoughts that popped into my head while reading through it: your profit function does a lot more than calculate profit. It also reconciles dates (moment.js is a good sign), and computes interest at a hard-coded 9% (red flag). I have no idea what the 10 and 20 magic numbers are in the if statement, or why it's so repetitive. You also declare today on line 55, then essentially do it again on lines 67 and 68 without a good reason (from what I can see). Moreover, from looking at your table of data, you're clearly calculating the fees elsewhere which tells me you may be cutting-and-pasting code to get your profit number. Your text input experiment is great for learning but not something you should show off. It strikes me as a first-day jQuery toy for self-teaching.

So where do you go from here? I'd get a new URL (olivierbreton.io, maybe), clean up the design, and post more sophisticated examples if possible. Tell us what tools and technologies you know and what you're learning now. Don't try to sound like you've got 15 years of experience. Target a junior role with phrases like "I'm eager to work hard and learn". Apply to junior-level jobs you'd actually like to have and know about the company you're applying to. Hope that helps, best of luck!

You might not like this, but here are my honest thoughts: You seem to be selling yourself as a web designer, but your website is terrible, and so are it's contents.

I realise this is subjective, so I won't try and justify my thoughts. Frankly I don't care enough to debate them anyway, so you can take it or leave it, as you please.

Your designs aren't minimalist, they're just minimal; empty, underdone. And even then your colour palettes are grating. Not to mention that o23.io, days and skyler look pretty identical.

Maybe the reality is that no-one wants to hire you, because you, or the works you use to advertise yourself, aren't quite as good as you might think.

I should add that this is not meant to discourage you. As always in life, you have three options: 1. Be good. 2. Get good. 3. Get out.

I'm not saying you need to take option 3, I'm just saying maye option 1. is out of the question.

Your last sentence isn't necessary.

I changed it to something slightly less inflammatory.

Damn, I can only imagine what it was like before the edit then...

The ego on HN gets me every time. I quite like his designs.

Good for you, and good for OP. I'm really not trying to denigrate anyone, but OP is complaining that he doesn't get interviews. If his reviewers think like I do, using spans correctly in his html, and "playing the game" (which is what others are suggesting) won't do him any good.

His design is excellent for a developer. But maybe a little TOO minimal for a product designer.

I disagree. Maybe you are right, maybe this isn't the reason he doesn't get interviews, but if someone sent me that portfolio, I would not give the application a second look.

Probably not, but I did think a conclusion was necessary.

Fair enough. I thought the point about the sites looking nearly identical was strong enough to end on.

Well, thanks for pointing it out. Either way; an insult wasn't a good way to end it.

Stop being so honest and play the game. The game is getting an interview. That's all your resume is for.

Do you have a job, any job? A lot of places won't even consider you if you aren't already employed.

Do you have a list of buzzwords near the top of your resume? Many places receive so many resumes that automated filters are used to search through them, usually by buzzword.

If I were hiring you it would be for an entry level web developer position. If you like to see something happen when you click a button you are more of a developer than a designer.

Red flag - Misuse of css classes.

    <span class="star">*</span>
Classes are about the meaning, not the content. What if you want to use # instead of *? Do you change all the class names to "hashtag"? If I were interviewing you this is something I would ask about.

  Red flag - Misuse of css classes.
    <span class="star">*</span>
I'd also ask if that markup was necessary. Is it to represent a bullet? If so, that's already implied in the markup by the use of <li>, so a more semantic implementation would be to skip the markup completely, and either style it visually with list-style-image, or inject the star with the css pseudo-element ::before.

I'd also look at <h2 class="big">, and ask whether the class is needed, and the visual separators <p class="sign">@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@</p>. To a screen-reader user this would read "at at at at at at at at at at at at at at" etc.

These certainly wouldn't be deal-breakers for a hiring decision, but it would have me leaning towards a junior position for a candidate, and setting a goal of developing knowledge of semantic markup and accessibility.

You might be in the underqualified/overqualified abyss, where you're not experienced enough for the senior positions you'd like to apply to, and overexperienced or not specialized enough for the junior positions you're applying to in the meanwhile.

If that sounds about right, tone the CV a bit down a bit to get the latter, and try to go meet decision makers for the former in person (meet ups, etc.). (Fwiw it gets worse when you get older.)

Also, as highlighted in another comment, "entrepreneur" is a big no no in a lot of places: it reads like "just passing by to earn some cash and move on with my next venture". More generally, don't make your CV look like you're looking for something temporary until you find something better.

Good luck!

I take it you're applying to NYC startups without a US working visa. Even though you are willing to work remote it is an extra hassle to hire you instead of a local. Most startups won't go through the trouble if they can get comparable locals. So either indicate why you are unique and so much better than Americans or start looking for jobs in Europe.

Also, it helps to know people.

This. If you are eligible to work in the US, come right out and say that.

Agree with the other comments that you should market yourself as a software engineer, focus on the tools, languages, and frameworks that you're familiar with there, pretty up your website some (the random yellow stripes look like edit bars to me; monospaced fonts look terrible, IMO, etc). Make it more generic, less jarring, get the interview, get hired as a software engineer on a frontend team and then let your design skills develop and be recognized.

No one is hiring a ~25 year old remote product designer from another country based on that website. Start with incremental steps. Get the SWE role first. Go from there.

(Also, count up how many applications you've actually done and then compare that with 1,000,000. I suspect you're going to be off by at least 3 [and probably close to 4] orders of magnitude. People who hire SWEs tend to like people who care about precision.)

> No one is hiring a ~25 year old remote product designer from another country based on that website.

One of the best sentences on the page.

Yup. Timezone differences, flying people back and forth overseas, dealing with international payments and employment law and visas and such is a hassle. If you don't have a visa already, you'll have to convince some company that you're so much better than all of the people they could hire locally that they're willing to put up with it for you.

At the beginning of your career, you aren't going to be that interesting. Look for some local jobs first.

First, 23 yo is young, don't worry.

I'm not a designer expert but a few remarks :

On your website I can't find your resume, a simple pdf that I could skim through quickly, or even a linkedin link.

On each of your projects, I would put a bullet point or 2 about the key learnings/skills you got for each project. For software engineers it'd be useful to see something like: [App Foo] : platform for X and Y. Written in C++ using Unity Framework. That way, if I know any of these, I know I can ask you more questions about App Foo if I know about C++ or Unity. "iOS and Android", "get over 8000 users the first month, be top 10 of its category, get featured in top women's publications online" should show up somewhere too!

Similarly, I understand your minimalism effort but for each job position, I would add bullet points about your key experience, key skills, and more importantly key business impacts (and key customers if allowed)

You need to emphasize why companies should hire you, not why you want to be hired by company.

If you're willing to work in the US, be clear about it (is it only NYC?), also be clear about the fact that you are a US citizen or your work authorization status in the US.

> I've been "selling" myself as a Product Designer but I truly can't fit in such a narrow box

I know nothing about "Product Designer" but I do know quite a bit about not fitting in narrow boxes and how that can hurt your ability to find a job.

You need to figure out how to communicate your value proposition to HR-type people who make the initial decisions about what to do with your resume. These types of people have dozens to hundreds of resumes to go through, so they are probably not even going to look at your website and not going to spend the effort to figure out what a "Product Designer" is if they don't already know.

So, when you look at a job and apply to it, you should tailor your resume and pitch to whatever they say they're looking for, using their words even if they don't feel right to you. In my case, that meant calling myself a "Software Engineer" even though I don't think Software is an Engineering discipline and my educational background is in Chemistry.

You should also emphasize skills differently depending on who you apply to. Your list of things that you dream of is uninteresting to me, in that you put the least valuable (HTML/CSS) skills first and the most valuable skills (Python + Django, Node.js) last.

Also, don't list your experience the way you do on your site. You founded all of these apps that you list yourself as working for, right? Don't do that; it looks desperate and when I see it I wonder what you're trying to hide. If you worked for yourself the whole time, just say you did that and explain what you did; don't try to make them look like jobs that someone hired you for to do for them.

_Entrepreneur_ funny.

How about a little work experience in your field?

You basicly now a little bit Javascript, html/css, did some mobile apps and now a little bit of database stuff?

That's just not impressive at all.

You should start getting real. You are not special, you haven't done anything special for your age. Start somewhere, get job experience.

The negativity is unwarranted.

Are you venting your anger caused by yourself not being special? But why would you? We are all like that: nothing special really. The ones who are special are by definition exceedingly rare and there's nothing wrong in not being one.

What's important is that "nothing special" does not equal "nothing of value". The OP sounds like he doesn't know, yet, where his value lies or how to advertise it to people who could hire him. That doesn't mean he's worthless as he is now.

In any case, your comment is very unhelpful and it sounds like a personal attack rather than an advice.

What a patronizing and unhelpful comment. Should everyone in a period of failure be met with such disapproval? I suspect your judgment reflects more about you than the OP.

Figure out what you want and craft your resume to reflect that.

Big companies, as an excellent (though curiously downvoted) commenter noted, love long lists of tools you've "mastered". This is because they employ recruiters who don't have the technical chops to evaluate nor appreciate the nuance of your past experience.

If you want to work at startups, you need to use a different tack. When I started only doing startups, I added more of my personality to my resume and applied only to jobs in niches I cared about. I also invested a modicum of time in my network, getting a colleague or friend or acquaintance to "introduce" or recommend me.

Most importantly, I've never gone through the front door. I consider the "Apply now" button to be a passive filter. I avoid it like the plague.

Instead, I chat future co-workers up at meetups, asking them about their work. I contact companies that aren't even advertising positions (every company that's not shrinking is always hiring). Most importantly, I research the company and email individuals I'd like to work with directly. Not my CV, mind you, but I send a small, respectful note and put my linkedin profile and github handle in my signature block.

I know some people find this approach annoying, but it puts your name and email in front of a real person, establishing a direct human connection. That's powerful. And, unlike recruiters or people tasked with handling the application queue, the person you email has little incentive to toss your email in the trash.

Remember, the goal is always to stand out from the crowd, show initiative, and demonstrate your creativity. Good luck.

Most of the posters here are being assholes, welcome to hn comments - the ego here is huge.

I have been in a similar situation, and here is my tip for you: recruiters are idiots. Seriously, most tech companies hire art history majors and such for recruiting high tech roles. It's not that they are bad people, but most recruiters are very bad at candidate selection.

Here's what I would do in your situation:

1. Find a job I really wanted (e.g. back-end python developer). 2. Strip out any non-python related material from your social media, websites, resume. 3. Build a hyper-focused buzzword dense resume. 4. Apply and act like a bit of an idiot until you get a job. Play the junior dev who only knows some basic python for a year or two than you are golden when it comes to getting other jobs / moving around.

> I love coding: for me HTML/CSS and code have never been anything more than tools to get whatever was on my mind into the real world.

This is a red flag for me. Working for someone as a programmer is often about getting what is in someone else's mind into the real world. To excel, you need to love the process of designing and developing software, not simply seeing the end result.

All of the best programmers I know love programming for the sake of programming. Conversely, some of the most dangerous and careless programmers I've met are the type to only be into it if they're making exactly what they want to make (and often if they can make said thing quickly).

I may be alone on this one so take my comment with a grain of salt!

I would probably hire somebody like you, but I think the norm for many companies and recruiters is to seek somebody that represents themselves as a specialist and won't want to input on the whole product and business. You're easier to manage if you will completely defer to them in their areas of expertise.

I have tried your approach before and I also received less interest. I've always gotten more attention when I've rewritten my resume to sideline my other mindsets and interests below the technical ones.

On the other hand, Jon Gold [http://jon.gold] seems to have been able to represent himself as a designer/developer hybrid, so maybe it's possible with enough raw talent. Or maybe there is something he knows which we don't. ;)

Edit: Looking at your portfolio, I think you could sell yourself as a 'Designer'. However, I think to do so you will need to create a more visually interesting portfolio.

You kinda sound like a primadonna. It's an "inhumane effort" for you to even just apply for a regular job? How are you going to react when I give you a task that's actually unpleasant?

He's applied to millions.

When I was as young as you are and applying for jobs in the US (while living in Europe), I applied for jobs in about 250 companies. Eventually I got 10 interviews, and two job offers. It sure felt like a million applications. I spent roughly six months doing that.

But I targeted every single one. I sent a custom cover letter to every single application after researching the company, their clients and their work. I only applied for jobs in companies that were doing work that I liked / knew I could contribute positively, and I showed it in my cover letters.

It's tough. It's especially tough for young, jr. folks. Hang in there!

Talk to a trusted person who can give you good feedback on your resume and cover letters, and the whole process you're using to apply for jobs.

The one thing I always tell anyone on the job hunt, which few ever seem to take me up on: Informational Interviews. These are informal "can I take you out to coffee?" talks with people in your industry to see what they are working on, what is happening with them, what is going on in the industry. Every job I have ever gotten is through informal meetings with people I have met through my network (whether its the current employer, your friends, parents, relatives, or other).

At the end of every one I ask: "Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?" and "Do you currently have any opportunities at your company for me?". Rinse repeat. I guarantee investing in 30 informational interviews will yield huge dividends vs. 30 career fairs, a personal pitch deck, starting a blog, dusting off your resume, or God Forbid: applying to a million jobs on online portals.


I wrote a free guide on this if anyone is interested, would love feedback.

Several points I also want add:

1) Just, Wow. I am impressed at the amount of good advice here - HN'ers really do go all out to help.

2) Problem - too much advice is hard to sift through. To a carpenter, you will need a better hammer or to charge less; to a painter, the finish isn't smooth. Choose carefully; I doubt feelings will be hurt.

3) Finally - remember this is all an odds game. Your resume has to arrive, and subsequent interview has to complete all in concert with a need.

JD's (job descriptions) are supposed to improve these odds. But often JD's are only up for an HR requirement or other reasons. Some examples are:

- An H1B requirement

- Already have an applicant they want but they have to justify something

- Internal fill

- Tire kicking (happens in security roles - teams take their time filling these)

- Comparison people for the hiring process (they have a bead on one applicant, but they have to include 2 other applicants in on-site interviews for balance)

- Position is terminated before hire due to lack of funding/budget

- Situational changes (role is fluid and changing - you applied but the role itself was adjusted afterward)

These are just some of the reasons. Don't give up!

1- you've not posted anonymously (link to your resume with I assume your real name). Therefore the effectiveness of the advice may be reduced.

2- my advice would be to remove "Franco-American". If you want to profit from your dual experience, say you're American on the CV you send in France. Say you're French on the Resumes you send in the USA. But it's not obvious that it would be an advantage (depends on the company), so you may just say that you're American in NY, and that you're French in Paris.

3- search jobs locally. If you want a job in NY, go there first. If you want a job in Paris, stay here.

I'm not trying to be mean, but when i read:

"I'm passionate about all things visual" on your website*

...my brain instantly replied to me: "This website tells another story"

* http://imgur.com/a/TRtno

Also, to reply to myself :) ...I've hired a fair few people, your resume wouldn't make my first round of cuts if it were submitted to me.


* Website looks odd (see above comment). I just don't love the branding, and honestly there is too much text for too little message.

* You talk about yourself as an Entrepreneur. These people in my experience are often some of the hardest to work with, especially at the beginning of their career. You're likely to stick around for 12-24 months and then leave (even if I pay you really well, and treat you as best as I can). It puts me in an endless hiring cycle and annoys other staff who are here between hirings, which puts them at risk of leaving.

* You describe Skyler as a product, but it honestly looks like an extension of your blog, and a bit like a school assignment. Tell me what I need to know quickly, it's way too hard for me to figure out why i should care about this project.

* While I'm in Toronto, it's the same timezone as NY. You'd have to be something super special for me to want to hire you remote in Paris. In fact, this simple point alone would be the sole reason you were not looked at further. 9/10 interviews are unsuccessful (roughly), the chances you're the 10% are low...and then I still need to want you enough to deal with you remotely. It's a non-starter...remote work is generally something I'm into if you have a special skill I need (in which case i'll reach out to you, or you'd be introduced by a trusted source)

Suggestions: * Make your website simple, get rid of all the words and give me a simple, clean message. Tell me why I should care!

* You're at the beginning of your career in a less than ideal location for what you're after, I'd suggest looking for local work or opening up to moving.

* Pick what you're good at and sell that, you're claiming to be a silver bullet. There are no silver bullets.

> * While I'm in Toronto, it's the same timezone as NY. You'd have to be something super special for me to want to hire you remote in Paris.

If he was in Lima, Peru (It's also -5 TZ) would you have the same reservation?

Would you care if he was not american/canadian but say, a Russian living in Peru?

On the assumption you're not insinuating something there...

If the time zone was the same I'd be much more comfortable with it, but I'd still prefer someone who could spend at least some time in the office (some problems are just easier too work out face to face). We have not optimized things for remote work, yet.

Edit: I'd also argue it's probably not in his best interests to work remote. Remote is great if you have a family, other life commitments etc. At a young age I enjoyed being in the office around people, moving fast and making social connections while I worked. Losing that experience would likely have seriously disadvantaged me later in life.

No tricks, it was an honest question.

Thank you for a thoughtful answer.

Wow. I certainly did not expect this to explode like it did.

I'd like to thank all of you who commented! Thank you for all the harsh comments and great advice you gave me. It all really helped; I'll try to make the best of it.

Thank you HN!

  >  I really feel like I can be incredibly useful to whoever hires me
Are you showing that? In your cover letters, are you driving home how hiring you will make the company achieve its goals, with specific, measurable facts to back that up?

  > I truly can't fit in such a narrow box
Your blurb here reads like you won't be happy working on one thing in a collaborative environment. Most companies want you to execute _their_ vision, so you'll have to show flexibility of thought and willingness to work on someone else's idea.

Maybe you could benefit of a faster message flow. Something like:

Hello. I'm Olivier Breton, a 23 y/o Franco-American Product Designer; UI/UX Designer, Developer and Entrepreneur.


@Olivier Breton (pause)

Lets put a nice line here for no reason

Hello. (pause)

My name is Olivier Breton. (pause, Yes, you said it before)

I'm a 23 year old Franco-American (pause)

Product Designer—UI/UX Designer—Developer—Entrepreneur. (and now, avalanche of terms)

Visually each term must have clear boundaries. There is not need to fuse it. I read this line as: I'm a product, I'm a Designer-UI/UX and I'm a Desigdevelopreneur, whatever It means.

That sounds a little shy, and maybe also robotic IMHO.

It doesn't seem like anyone has mentioned location and work authorization yet. This can be an immediate red flag on your resume. Many companies just won't consider a non-US-based person, or someone who isn't already authorized to work in the US.

If you can do this honestly, remove any mention of France from your resume, and put in New York, NY instead. Or indicate that you're planning to move at a specific future date:

Olivier Cestlavie New York, NY (relocating from Paris in March 2017; Authorized to work in US since January 2015)

I don't know anything about the hiring process for designers, so just speaking to the programming side here.

My first instinct was to look for a GitHub profile, both on the homepage of your site and alongside the various examples. The text field thing was interesting - why not put the code on GitHub, so it's easier for people to look through and try out? If it's already there, then make sure your GitHub profile is discoverable on your site, because I didn't find it despite looking for several minutes on multiple pages.

Also consider posting your LinkedIn profile on your website (or get one if you don't have one). I personally don't care about that, but recruiters definitely seem to.

In any case, my employer is actively hiring; I'll email you the job listings.

Good luck.

Why is your age on your resume? That's unusual and it seems to be hurting you; everyone here on HN mentions it.

I would urge you to consider that you are not the only one looking for a fit, and it sounds like your frustration comes from the lack of such a fit (i.e. a role that you feel plays to your qualities, and where the employer feels the same way).

Technical knowledge is great (essential, even) - IT is a meritocracy and all that - but don't forget that people need to work with you, and you with them.

It may be people have an issue mentally fitting you in the 'right' box (as others have suggested), and possibly, the same is true for you (you don't like the sound of their box).

So as has been suggested, don't only look for a role/job that motivates you, try and look for something that speaks to you personally, and where you feel there is a good chance of cultural fit.

And don't take the rejections personally - ultimately, the outcome will always be binary, and I doubt it is the experience of most people here to systematically get offers _when they are the ones looking_.

Opinions are good, and if you value your own opinions, stick to them, and look for somewhere that agrees with you on their value. If you don't find that, do question yourself.

No matter how frustrating this all is, it will lead to something, be it your dream gig, your foot on the right career ladder, or a complete change of direction.

Again, do not take this personally - from your side, you are (of course, and to your credit) doing your best - but you have no way of knowing that anyone else is, and hence, of knowing you are being assessed on your merits.

FWIW, I have had to move countries twice to find my first job, and am currently having difficulty finding the next one, with 10+ years of experience behind me. IT hiring has its own weird hiring patterns and peculiarities, and most likely, your break will be down to luck - and like much luck, you may need to create the conditions for it to happen...

Just to add: make a priority list.

I don't mean to engage in discussion with myself, at least not in public.

If New York is what you want, make that happen. But make clear this is your priority, and that what you get, you won't take personally: we all need to make decisions that involve our future, and they aren't always the pretty ones.

If you want your technical knowledge to be the priority, make that happen. If you do it right, you can possibly move to New York, if you still want that.

I don't think age is the issue - and honestly, everyone asks for experience, which you can convince people you have: you need to point out the relevant aspects of what you have done.

If you feel, as you say, that you could be incredibly useful, then surely you must have some opinion about where you want to apply this: for yourself, for others, for love, for money, for recognition, for the lulz?

Some people have commented on the website already. I'm not a designer, but the first thing I think of when I see it is a Word Document made by a secretary who has been told to "spice it up" a bit, so she grabbed the M$Word 97 highlight tool with default settings and applied it at random.

As I said, not a designer. And I'm sure Microsoft picked that Yellow for its highlight tool for a reason. The yellow on white is probably Good for some reason. But I find it really unappealing and it has the same kind of connotations as the rainbow-coloured WordArt in an arch shape for me (e.g. http://www.softwaretrainingsolutions.com/HDO/guests/Word/Ima...)

You're like the dream person i'd love to have on my team. What im about to say is going to sound really odd and a little hocus pocus -- but i assure you -- it's meant as a re-assurance and not to demoralise you in any way. I went through something very similar to you about 4yrs ago. In the end i realised jobs are not for me. I was born to be an entrepreneur. A master of my own domain. I think the universe is trying to tell you that you're made for better things than a job that sticks you into a box.

I'd love to get to know you. I'd love to help you through the challenges you're currently facing and maybe if that leads somewhere we can talk about working together.

My website is http://krmmalik.com

http://www.krmmalik.com - without the www you get a 404

Thanks for letting me know. Although it seems to be working fine without www for me and for quite a few others?

This is the error I have:

Error 404 Vhost unknown. Vhost unknown. Varnish L7 server

Not sure why it would work for you and not for me. Might be a Varnish issue?

Works without for me.

I'm 23 as well, co/founded a few startups now. I never tell people my age - ageism is a real thing and sets in the second they identify you as someone young enough to be "inexperienced" even if you are far from it. When I don't tell people my age, they generally assume I'm late 20's to early 30's, which allows me to command more seniority and respect from my coworkers.

Your youthfulness is your most valuable weapon. It also makes you a risk. There are two types of companies - those that will seek to mitigate that risk or not get involved altogether. And those that will recognize that with great risk comes great reward.

What does your CV look like? You're getting a lot of feedback about your website, but I doubt this is what hiring companies are getting hung up on. Using a website to showcase some of your work is great, but your CV is what's going to make or break the deal. If your CV is written in a similar style, then I'd say that's your problem. Keep it short and professional; define your skill set by listing the tools you use and briefly describe where you've used them. Don't over design it, and keep the personal flair to a minimum.

You might want to clarify your immigration status. You mentioned that you have previously worked in the US.

- Does that man you have a valid visa that allows you to work in the US?

- Do you have permanent residency?

- Do you have full (dual-)citizenship?

If so, mention that on your resume. There are many companies, especially small startups, who simply do not have the resources to deal with visa/immigration issues - perhaps that is why you are not getting any replies. If you currently do not hold a visa, you might want to specifically seek out companies that offer visa sponsorship.

You're right, I thought that was clear from the "Franco-American" mention but I'll make sure to make it crystal clear.

Your best bet is to forget about writing applications but to get on the phone to the people that you've successfully worked with in the past and to ask them to refer you to one of their contacts in need of your skills. That's the fastest and most certain track to employment that I know of, it gets you to the head of the line without that pesky competition of 100 other guys and girls just as talented as you who are playing 'who can write the nicest resume' wars.

Best of luck!

Stop applying to US Based jobs. Focus on France. If you don't already live here no company will sponsor you a H1-B visa because it's practically not doable. Not even the big Silicon Valley companies will do this if you don't live here.

honestly, it seems like you're all over the place. pick a skill, be the best at it, and let the rest of your abilities support and reinforce that skill.

lots of young people talk about what they have done but don't realize that companies want to know what you can offer to them (read: results). if you're a "product designer" then you need to sell yourself as such (not "sell") and speak to the RESULTS of your designs. how have they been successful?

a hiring manager (like myself) is thinking, "how can i leverage what i see here to grow and build my business?" if you've launched a startup, speak to the design and how it impacted the financials and growth. no one cares you started a business (sorry!), i can do that it 15 minutes. making it successful is what gets attention. you want to work at a startup? how was YOUR startup successful?

lastly, i'd suggest you regroup on your website. i personally don't mind the design, but if you want to land at a startup, then you need to tailor your online portfolio to your audience (and desired position!), accordingly. you get one to chance to make a good first impression and i think you can do better there.

most importantly however, just keep at it. you have time on your side!

Hii Olivier,

I am assuming I was in a similar place like you 8-10 years back. In retrospect, I have found that the following reasons affected my applications.

1. I was from an unknown college in an unknown place. Yahoo! or Microsoft wouldn't even look at my resume. Too much of unknown.

2. Startups wouldn't hire me as relocation is expensive and 8-10 years back the good startups were scrappy. Btw, aren't the best ones always scrappy? And you might have been applying to them as you want to work with the best.

3. I listed a lot of expertise which I had. But its hard to believe especially for HRs who get 100s of candidate everyday advertising they know everything only to be told by the interviewer that the candidate wasn't good. I am not doubting your skills but the problem is the noise. Most 23 year olds don't know how to read code.

How I overcame it and got a job.

1. I did my Masters so an MNC would hire me. I knew this hack/entry.

2. After getting into the MNC, I worked my ass off and kept applying to jobs focusing on the work I did at the MNC.

3. I got a job at an awesome startup!

And things started changing. Now I get replies to most of my applications.

And automated or copy paste resumes do work but HN crowd might not agree. But most of the industry is still very non HN.

Hope it helps. All the best and keep applying!

The thing I think is happening is that literally everyone and their grandmother is becoming a web (app) developer/designer. This might be a very unpopular opinion here on HN, but I think branching out to something else within software programming might be a good idea.

Maybe I'm wrong, but that's an impression about the web dev job market I've had for a while now, and I'd love to hear if others have the same or a different impression.

I do pretty much the exact same thing as you and I am approximately the same age. Almost EVERY job I looked at in NYC precluded remote workers and non-citizens/non-greencard holders. Jobs in SF seemed to be a little more open to sponsorship. Maybe try looking there?

You'll need to look for jobs in Europe, or look specifically for jobs that will sponsor you. Your problem isn't your skill. It's your location.

Check out the "Who's hiring?" [0] thread and consider posting in the "Who wants to be hired?" [1] and "Freelancing" [2] threads (there's one every month).

I remember feeling like you do when I was young and thought I knew everything. As others have mentioned in this thread, starting your own company or building a freelance practice might be the best strategy. Quite frankly, if you're so great, you should work for yourself. If you're not, you probably (and unfortunately) need to "pay your dues" and put in two or three years as a junior developer (this is key) at an established company. I'm looking at your web site and can't easily figure out whether or not you've already done that, so that's not a good sign. You'll build skills, a network, salary and job title history, and most importantly, credibility.

Also, have you considered going to university? A lot of companies in the US won't hire you if you don't have an undergraduate degree (or 10+ years of corporate experience). I see "Foundation in Applied Arts" on your web site but it's not clear what if anything that translates to.

FWIW, I did the CS degree and dues-paying thing and most days wish I'd started a company instead.

0. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13541679

1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13541681

2. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13541680

Honestly feels like the OP is expecting this HN thread to be a series of commenters rushing to give sympathy and job offers - I'm pretty sure the frank, honest, and accurate feedback and criticism here came as a bit of a surprise.

But hey - if we didn't all feel like we could do everything when we were 23, then a lot of stuff throughout history ay never have gotten done ;-)

Make it very clear in your cover letter what role you are looking for. With roughly 3 years experience, a Product designer doesn't seem apt. (for the recruiter, although you may be a genius).

So something like "Web developer, with ambitions of growing towards a product manager/designer role".

Once you get an opening into a company, and its a good match, your talents will be recognizable instantly.

> Once you get an opening into a company, and its a good match, your talents will be recognizable instantly.


It's usually much easier to "climb the ladder" internally than to get hired to top positions from outside.

https://github.com/jessicard/remote-jobs may be a useful link for you - a lot of remote companies are smaller web dev or design studios where you may find a home. Apologies if this is something you've already seen and good luck!

I'm sure your technical chops are great, and it is a big plus that you have projects to demonstrate, however I must admit, your post has the potential to comes across as a bit desperate.

I would suggest not listing your dreams such as "Mesmerizing Colors" in a CV (resume). Without wanting to be presumptive, if you were to list your dreams, would they really be limited to containing "business value" attracting attributes such that may be of interest to an employer/client? In addition, the absence of any such dreams may unnecessarily put off potential employers/candidates - in particular those who look for candidates with a more varied interest. I don't state that as an insult - just the way I read it.

In my opinion, in an interview/marketing campaign, a person should aim to come across as professional as possible as this is effectively your store front.

Saying all of that, best of luck in your search!

To be honest I like most of your work and you remind me a bit of myself. The only difference seems to be I have a large focus on development. (frontend or backend, whatever code is code just the process is different)

My first job ~7 years ago I kind of fell into with a bit of luck and networking. However that experience helped me really propel my career.

I'm about the same age as you (24) have the following advice:

Don't put your age anywhere. Ageism exists. It'll benefit you a lot more to have a stunning resume / track record that gets you in the door and have a face to face talk with people who will hire you.

Get your programming chops up and try to pursue an engineering position. There are more jobs in engineering vs a design position. Plus you obviously know a bit about design and this'll translate nicely into aspects of engineering.

Good luck! And like others have said take a day off, have a couple beers, and continue when you feel a bit more optimistic.

I do this for a living. If you email me your resume, I'll get back to you with some advice in the next few days

I will, thanks.

I had some trouble a few years back when I was looking for a job after 2 years experience. I wasn't junior nor was I senior and I had spent a year and a half working on my 'startup' (so basically 3.5 years experience).

I didn't have any success finding remote interviews (less than 5), and had more interviews locally. However, it was my state of mind that prevented me from getting an offer. Not sure where your head is at, but with your resume and the job opportunities in the current days, the issue is more about you than the jobs itself.

Also, it seems like your designs would suit more French Fashion houses anyway. Seems like less of a feat to work at a French Fashion house (or design house) for a few years then branch off to New York than going straight back to New York (Remotely).

You're just too young and lack experience. Just keep shipping cool stuff and keep growing your skillset/expertise. You'll get there.

The best advice i can give you is to make multiple resumes. Adapt the resume for the job you are applying for.

And don't worry about the frustration. A lot of people had to apply a gazillion times for various things before they got one chance to show what they can.

I want you to know you are not alone... I have been doing the same thing with the same results for the last 6 months.

I have applied to over 168 jobs (I used LinkedIn and it tracks them all). Of that I got about 25 recruiter interviews (level 0), about 15 Hiring Manager interviews (level 1) and about 10 second stage calls or on-site (level 2).

None have yet panned out or even look close...

It's hard out there right now - I do not know why precisely. I have many guesses.

But the important thing is to keep applying. Certainly, if you stop, nothing will happen further on its own. Knowing your not alone hopefully helps you do that.

In the future I hope we can do something smarter with this information.

I applied for jobs this year and last year. Last year I applied to 323. I got 5 screening calls, 2 interviews, and 0 job offers. This year I applied to 26 jobs. I got 11 screening calls, 3 interviews, and 1 job offer.

I've learned that the trick is quality over quantity.

It really breaks my heart to see posts like this. I've been there but don't give up. If you are applying to that many jobs and not seeing any changes, there's a good chance that you have a problem that can be fixed.

On the other hand there's a lot of incredible advice here, plenty of which others (including myself) will find useful.

Are you "just" doing normal applications? or have you tried to spend a day or two looking at a specific product, and sending your thoughts/designs to the company?

Product Designer in NY, when you don't live in the US might be too narrow.

Just remember. It's always up to you. With your skills you can get a job any day. Which means, keep going for what you specifically wants, but just accept the consequences (takes time). If you can't accept the consequences, seek other jobs (e.g. other roles or cities). It's on you :-)

Complaining or feeling down adds nothing to your life. Easier said than done. I know!

So accept the process or hunt something else

Several of the comments here are pretty harsh about your works- to balance that out, I thought they were pretty cool, but then again I like retro / minimalistic things, and am not really a design expert.

> I've been "selling" myself as a Product Designer

You should ask a "product designer" crowd then. They can probably better tell you what is wrong with your applications than the programmer crowd.

Does Franco-American mean you are a US Citizen? * If so then say it, or just take the Franco out of your bio

Are you committed to working in NYC? * Move now. Worst case save up a couple thousand dollars so you can make it a month. Live somewhere cheap and you can pull this off more easily than you would think.

Rather than feature the products/apps you built, write about the process you went through. * What challenges did you overcome? What UX assumptions did you start with that evolved through user feedback and testing.

Where is your github profile? * feature it

From what I can tell you have a few things going against you.

1) You haven't worked anywhere I've heard of. Means I don't know if you've got "new-hire issues" around showing up on time, writing professional emails, etc.

2) You seem suited for a UX Designer position, but you're aiming for a more senior product role. If I were you, I'd go for a UX Design job at an agency or company that people have heard of (or with clients people have heard of) so you can add those to your resume. (It's not bad to know some code to do UX Design, just like it's not bad to know some design if you want to be a developer -- but understand that most teams are split so people can specialize and thrive at what they are each good at. College is about learning broad topics, but for work you'll have an easier time finding a job if you pick something with high demand and specialize in it.)

3) You're looking for jobs in NYC when you are in Paris. General rule, you have to be where you want to find a job. Your search will be 10x harder at least doing it from another city.

4) I don't see any links to LinkedIn -- always nice when new-hires have recs posted so I can read what others say. Get a LinkedIn page and get some recs. There's nothing about your education even on your web page...

Good luck finding a job, it takes time and patience. If you aren't applying "right" you'll end up spinning your wheels going after things you won't land. In time you narrow down what you are good at, how to sell your skills... it does get easier.

I mostly agree with nnq comments. And I think you should submit your resume to this site: https://www.topresume.com/

I am not anyway affiliated with them, and I know it sounds like a "bullshit service for just out of the college wannabe corporate executives who can't even write a decent resume based on common sense".

I used a jobs site (not even remember which) that included in the sign up this "free resume critique" service as an option. I did it expecting a whole bunch of mostly automated platitudes, but I was positively surprised with the comments they sent me a few days later.

It appears that a human being really read my resume with attention and send some very unobvious, constructive, practical feedback. It might be a little different for developers jobs, but I imagine you are applying to places where an HR person is reading your resume first. This company seems to know exactly what HR and their automated systems want.

That said, I have no way to prove if the tips they gave me are really good, but they sounded great to me. I think it is worthy to try their free offer.

Maybe consider looking for cofounder roles. Calling yourself a Product Designer and then listing mobile development, SQL, node and python as skills doesn't really align for companies and recruiters. Nobody hires for "everything" and especially not someone billing themselves as a designer. Companies beyond 1 room start ups aren't letting their designers touch their database, and nobody expects the API developer to create design mock ups and copy of product pages. This screams "novice" or "doesn't play well with others".

Know your boundaries and pick a couple things you really are good at and sell yourself on those alone, be humble about the rest if asked and choose a better fitting title if you're not applying for a product design or product team position. If I need to hire a developer and I know the role includes provisioning servers and optimizing code to scale better, I'm going to send resumes titled "product designer" to the trash.

Have you gotten any face-to-face interviews, or even been in touch personally with any recruiters? The initial hurdle is often the highest because of the minuscule signal-to-noise ratio in job applications. If you have any friends working at companies you might like, or even friends who can refer you personally, make use of them. Due to the sheer volume of applicants for all manner of tech jobs, the harsh truth is this: submitting an online application without a personal connection, no matter the quality of your work, is essentially throwing your resume into the incinerator.

If you have absolutely no personal connections in tech that you can leverage, apply to Hired (https://hired.com/) or Triplebyte (https://triplebyte.com/) and prove your worth to them however you can. Once you're on the platform as a quality developer, the rest will handle itself.

My apologies if this has been covered already. I know the job search is important, and I don't want to minimize that. I just want you to consider some things you may have stopped thinking about, in your discouragement.

Try to get good sleep. This will help you think more clearly.

Try to get regular exercise. This will also help you feel better, and think more clearly.

Read also. You cannot be looking for work constantly and not give yourself some kind of mental/emotional break.

As far as the job search is concerned, I'd recommend you talk to you people you know, where you are. Ask them if their companies are hiring. Generally, the likelihood of getting a job is better when you have a contact that already works there.

Go to meetups. Make contacts with others in your profession.

Freelance until you can get a regular job.

These are just some ideas. I know there are factors in your situation that none of us understand. I wish you luck. If you ever want to talk, my info is in my profile.

I can't tell why you were rejected, but I can offer you something to help bide the time: freelance work.

I was in a bit of a hole financially and getting a full time job would have killed my startup ambitions, so after failing to get any clients on sites like Upwork I applied to Toptal: https://www.toptal.com/#contract-just-respected-software-arc...

They screen their freelancers which means they've got fewer but higher quality workers. Your skills are similar to mine, so you should be fine to get in. Just don't give up, I failed the first time around but then I brushed up on my code solving abilities and got. Didn't take me a week to find my first client and I couldn't be happier with him or him with me.

I found an old HN discussion about Toptal after I got in, and realized it was mostly people screaming about not being able to get in, or considering themselves above solving code challenges. Just don't let that hold you back.


That aside, I do have tips on your job hunt!

Right before I got into toptal, I began having conversations about employment through the HN hiring posts, but I had a better process than (I suspect) most.

1. I copied all the posts from Who's Hiring into a spreadsheet 2. through them all by hand and wrote a single paragraph about why I think I wanted to work for their company 3. I extracted email addresses into another field 4. I composed an email about how awesome I am 5. I combined all of these through a Mail Merge and sent out 10 emails a day, keeping track of them through Streak's pipelines.

I recommend this project. After this, I know I applied to exactly 53 companies (felt like millions) and received no replies from 27, and was rejected by 21 because of visa issues.

Streak's Career Search Pipelines are awesome. :)

First thing I saw that popped up on your website is your age. Not sure why, but I seem to think some (potential?) employers could take it against you. For example, being young, lots of people would think you're unprepared, inexperienced, or much worse, does not bring much to the table. On the other hand, some might think otherwise that when you apply for them and get hired, there's the potential that you might jump ship when the next better opportunity comes.

Others may think differently though - they could see you as someone they could probably use for tasks which you would find dry and not worthwhile, hence, even before you start, the odds are stacked against you.

Just my observation. Your credentials looks impressive though. But hiring managers rarely look deep into what your page tells.

Hi Olivier - I work in recruiting for ezhome.com and we have a 100% distributed engineering team (https://www.ezhome.com/careers/positions). I'm not sure if we have the right fit for you because we're looking for relatively sr. talent at the moment, but I still wanted to get in touch.

I second what fecak and others have said which is it's much, much better to be very specific about what you want and spend much more time on a few applications than generally put your info everywhere. You also need to be specific and tailored about your skills and the role you're looking for because it's hard for companies to know what to do with generalists.

And don't lose hope!

From a critical point of view, it's funny that you seem to have made designerjobs.co entirely by yourself but are struggling to find a job.

From your brief website I have no clue what you did on any of those projects. I actually missed the list the first time I glanced at the page. What did you actually do? Project management? Make the coffee?

Anyone with a little experience can list a dozen projects they've contributed to, so recruiters and interviewers need to know that your contributions are meaningful.

Make it scan-friendly. Don't expect people to actually read your writing or devote time to researching you unless you have your own Wikipedia page (that you didn't make yourself).

If you are really desperate, you could try to A/B test the process. Optimize a site/profile for one application at a time. If they're looking for a front-end programmer, be that 100% and casually mention you also have experience in the other fields. Backend? Be that. Write the bio for that, show examples of that, quotes od clients regarding that... Right now you try to check all the boxes and you're getting compared to people who fit the job 100%. Just my 2 cents. By the way, your site feels rather un-personal and cold. How about adding at least a picture, a short bio, a bit of design and emotion?

The title made me hope he had written a bot to literally to a million jobs.

For a second I thought he indeedd built a tool to apply to a million jobs at once. That would have been impressive.

FWIW, the title was edited by a moderator. The original title was: What's wrong with me.

I do agree though that that would have been a nice feat.

Your work is pretty great. I especially love your job board. I'd remove your age from your website to avoid ageism. And I'd start emailing people a lot. Send like 50 emails a week to people you don't know but ADD VALUE to them first. Here's a good post by Paul Jarvis: http://lifehacker.com/an-experienced-freelancers-guide-to-fi...

Have you thought about Canada? In particular, Montreal has a vibrant tech scene, and they have a connection to French culture that might work in your favour. Canada needs lots of working-age people!

This guy is clearly aching to live in New York, so this advice isn't great...

Pretty bad advice for a developer.

How so?

First, get your portfolio in order. Things you've built, along with clean and professional github repositories. Second, identify small companies that hire remote engineers. Weworkremotely.com, remoteok.io, etc. Note: small company, hires remote. Third, reach out to the founders or hiring managers directly and tell them exactly what you posted here minus the frustration part. Show them what you've built along with code. Finally, follow up with them relentlessly until you hear back from them. Good luck.

I would highly consider revising your js/time.js if you want to be consider for a javascript development position, there are some painful issues here.


please see


I am aware of toLocaleTimeString() but I chose to do it manually because I wanted to display time in this particular format, regardless of the user's locale, and because of oddities like this one for Safari users: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5471508/javascript-on-mac...

when you pass the local "en-us" that means you use that, and not the user's locale.

the formatting you desired, can also be easily defined with the options argument. see (https://jsfiddle.net/prn4823b/1/)

but these methods, are pretty new, so say we disregard them for a minute.

The serious issue to take note of here, is that you are defining everything, in a function you are calling every second.

you don't need a new date object every second, you don't need to redefine those arrays, you also instead of doing one conditional for amPm, and hour formatting, are doing each in their own ternary.

I'm not trying to be hyper critical, but I did to you, just like I do with most candidates that apply with me, and seeing this, it would make me doubt your statements about javascript.

I would also argue, that showing the time here is a bit odd, as typically for something like this, it would be the time of the contents last update, not their own time, they have a clock already.

Best of luck with getting a gig.

You're right. Your code is much cleaner.

Otherwise the time itself is just something I liked having there; my OS has a clock too, I'm aware of that.

You really don't need to be displaying your user's time at all. It's kind of distracting.

How have you been finding companies to apply to? Honestly, you should have no trouble at all getting a job in NYC with your skills, so there must be a glitch happening somewhere in the process.

I'd suggest hired.com and angellist for a start. You could also make sure your LinkedIn is up-to-date and set your location to NYC to get on recruiters' radar.

Do you need visa sponsorship and relocation? Maybe that could be narrowing the pool a bit, but I think you should still have plenty of options. Don't get discouraged!

The problem is that 80% of jobs are filled internally or by referral, leaving the other 20% to be split up by recruiters and cold applications. So yes, if you're just filling out application forms, you're very unlikely to get a job. You need to go out to meetups and start networking with people already in the field. They will know about jobs before they are listed publicly and will also get to know you. It sounds really shitty, because it kind of is, but that is how it works.

Your target audience ( recruiters ) may not like the style of your website.

Although I have no doubt that your are unique, you might consider it styling it a bit more close to the norm.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, functional and good looking website. Can't speak for recruiters, but I like the style.

I had the same positive reaction and I'm a little baffled by the reception here. The portfolio sites are information tools, not marketing sites, and they look crisp and efficient and a pleasure to use.

Same. Though as others have said it may work better as a developer's portfolio than a designer's.

Hey man, don't apply from a distance, and worst of all over web forms / email. Go talk to real people (meetups and conferences), give them free, useful advice from your expertise that you think might help their business (e.g. your website/api has such-and-such issues). If a company you like has open source repositories, attack the issue queue with PRs.

You'll be hired :) Take heart.

And you are young (only two three years out of college). Any recruiter will see in you just a potential for junior hire. Maybe something that you are not aiming at.

Focus on figuring out what you want, not just that you have those skills, but where you are passionate to use them.

Put your photo on website.

Have fun, and nothing is wrong with you - maybe you are ugly duckling figuring out other species of water dwelling birds ;)

> I've been "selling" myself as a Product Designer...

Instead of selling, focus on creating WANT for potential buyers. On this subject, Oren Klaff is brilliant > http://artofvalue.com/learning-art-frame-control/

Last resort: the pity play. Some chivalrous HN startup guy will offer you something. Like 10% stake to build his vision...

I downvoted you because this guy just asked for advice. And judging from other comments, he got a pretty good one. No need to be snarky about that.

If you're in Paris, go meet people from recruiting agencies like Mobiskill or Urban Linker. It's literally their job to know the market and find opportunities for you. In one or two emails you would be getting great advice about market positioning as well, as they know what's in demand and what's not.

something that I found out.. UI-Design-Kits are in high demand...yes the price is low $14 per unit but give the tricks of automation one can easily pump out about 15 products to get a good side income going..online stores that allow you to sell them are themeforest, materialup, etc..yes I am making some coin already

At 23 you do not usually get a tech job for what you can do right now but for what you love and will probably still love 10-20 years down the line. The point is: find yourself and a job will find you as a consequence, because your passion will make you stand out and fill the eyes of the hiring people.

I like your minimalist web site but if you are looking for designer positions you might want to make your web site a bit more along the lines of what the companies you're applying for consider good style.

If you are applying for developer positions you might want to highlight more of your developer skills.

If youre applying to a million jobs, reading this post might help you.


Your resume doesn't even have an objective section. That should traditinally be first. Describe what type of position you're looking for, and why you want to do that. Don't just list your experience, describe what you want for your future work.

A lot of the other comments are focusing on the content and style of your website. Here's the thing: Most employers are never going to look at that. Unless you are showcasing something truly incredible, even the ones who are actually interested may take a quick glance and then move on.

What actually matters is your resume. That's the document that every single person is going to look at. Not everyone is going to read it over carefully, but everyone who is even remotely interested in you is going to look at it and for most of them, that's the document that matters most. I haven't seen your formatted resume, so I can't give you specific feedback, but maybe these tips will help others reading these comments:

* If you have fewer than 10 years of experience, keep it to one page (exceptions are academia and possibly roles in Europe). I know people with 40 years of experience who use one page. If they can squeeze it in, so can you.

* Keep the page clean and minimal. Black type on a white background with plenty of white space. It should look clean.

* No pictures or graphics. A lot of people will be turned off by this. Virtually no one will be turned off by black and white, text only.

* While we're at it, no funky fonts. Serif, sans-serif, it's not gonna matter much. But don't try to get cute.

* No typos or grammatical errors. 80% of people seem to have them. But this is a one page document and if you can't show that you can write one page without typos or other errors, what does that say about your attention to detail?

* Have someone proofread it anytime you make more than minor edits.

* I personally think that a statement of purpose line at the top can only hurt you by putting you in a box and rarely helps you. I've never looked at a well formatted resume and said "why doesn't this have a statement of purpose?". Just highlight your experience, contact info, etc and that's it.

* If you want, you can have one line at the bottom that talks about your hobbies that aren't directly relevant to your job. Sometimes your love of golf will be a good talking point for interviewers. But limit it to one line (or better yet, don't put hobbies in at all).

* PDF format! This means that it'll look the same on everyone's computer. I made this mistake in college when I sent out my resume as a word document. It looked great on my mac but I realized later than on Windows, the text went one line over the first page which looked terrible. That's when I started using PDFs and PDFs only for my resume (I format it using LaTeX but using Word or similar is fine as long as you save to PDF).

I've seen a lot of resumes for developers and you know what sticks out? A clean, well written resume with no typos. Because it's much rarer than you'd think. Most have typos. Some are too cluttered. Many list experience that I don't give a damn about. If you went to a college, then I don't really care about your high school experience. I also don't care about your babysitting experience if you are applying to be a developer. If you need to show work history then keep the irrelevant parts as short as possible.

But the main point is this: Well written resumes stand out because they are rarer than you would think. I used to think the opposite; that most people write good resumes and maybe you need to try something bold to stick out. But when I got to the other side of the table where I was looking over others' resumes, this turned out not to be the case. The resumes that tried to hard to stick out looked tacky to me. And finding a well written resume with consistent formatting, a nice layout and no errors seems to be rare, at least among junior hires.

OK, so now you've got a great resume. You send it to a thousand websites. Well, here's the bad news. No one is going to read it. I'm sorry, and it sucks, but it's the truth. But the good news is that today, there are many ways to contact hiring managers directly. You can message them via LinkedIn. You can go onto company websites and find email addresses. At small companies, those messages will often find their way to the CEO. You wanna really make sure it gets to the right person? Print it out and mail it in with a short cover letter. No one gets snail mail anymore so it's almost guaranteed they will have a look. Submitting a resume online for a large company is kind of like throwing your resume in the garbage and hoping someone will pick it up, unfortunately.

Finally, talk to recruiters. Email them out of the blue. These are the only people who are incentivized to scrutinize your resume more carefully. They will give you frank and honest feedback on your resume because that's what they do. As an employed developer you will get reached out to by recruiters all the time and will become annoyed by some of them (and possibly angry at some of the less ethical ones). But at your stage, you may need to reach out to them. And the good ones will actually help you. Their livings depend on getting your resume into the hands of people who hire.

Anyway, I'm sure there are those who disagree with some of my points above, but I think this is applicable to the majority of people, especially those early in their career.

> snail mail

Uncommon advice. I like it! I am going to try it. Thank you.

@OP: do you really don't see the contradiction between the content and design of your site?

You're clearly talented. Why do you need a job? Why not build your freelance practice?

IMHO You're heading towards niche which is minimalistic and pure static design. This direction is mostly loved by small-gang startups that doesn't have enough resources to hire full time webdesigner. I might be plenty wrong.

preface: take my advice, and everyone elses with a pinch of salt

The programmer in me appreciates the neatness and simplicity of your site, but recruiters are not programmers. they will see a "plain" website by someone selling themselves as a "designer".

My advice would be

1. re-target yourself as a Full Stack Developer. You have the skills for every level, from client UI right down to server and db stuff.

2. re-style your website. you don't have to give it a major overhaul, but maybe just try a few slight variations on that theme. use some fancy CSS3 effects. drop some shadows. use some transitions.

3. put a photo up there. a photo goes a long way

Have you considered learning a valuable skilled trade? There's plenty of opportunity in construction, welding, plumbing, electrical work, etc.

You could still make mobile apps as a hobby.

Start attending some local meetups. Also it appears you are more startup friendly, so apply to startups. There are plenty of startups hiring people with your skills.

It might just be your market? I got a job in 2 weeks after leaving my last position, and had quite literally 30+ offers on the table when i accepted this one.

Move to Montréal, plenty of jobs for franco-americans here!

Consider coming to Berlin, tons of work opportunities here!

Human networking is the key to more reliable job finding. Go to meetups, make connections, let people get to know you and see how your mind works.

Please post your anonymized resume online and we'll be able to advise you.

In my experienced, people rarely get rejected -millions- of time for no reason.

Ok, this is a great question (I've faced the same problem as a generalist at times over my career), and I've loved almost every comment.

First, let's look at the situation we find ourselves in the tech industry. Everyone is interviewing, but "no one" is hiring. Companies are reporting they hire less than 1% of applicants (http://davidlynch.org/blog/2011/07/hiring-developers/). He probably wasn't the first to mention it but Joel Spolsky's post(s) about recruiting, where he talks about how one bad hire can seriously injure a company had a terrible effect; companies now look for any excuse not to hire you. The vast majority won't invest a nickel into training you either, you're supposed to hit the ground running.

While there's some truth to the point about bad hires, showing them the door quickly is one of the responsibilities of management. It happens---deal with it and move on. The reverse strategy however, avoiding a bad hire at all costs, (to the extent that you toss aside multiple good candidates in the process) is a recipe for disaster as well. Unless you've got nine months to wait for Mr/s. Perfecto to walk in. The result of which has been nothing short of the so-called "tech-shortage."

The point I'm getting at is that you need to remove all the barriers to getting hired. Spolsky does have one great post on the subject: (https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/06/03/strategy-letter-ii...) on how to remove the barriers that prevent people from choosing your product (in this case you). In short, you knock them down, one by one.

Regarding your website, I liked the starkness and the font, but am a geeky outlier. (I'm tired of the cookie-cutter websites that everyone agrees are professionally designed these days. The round photos are especially grating.) The only thing I didn't really like were the "@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@"'s, removing them made it feel less cluttered.

The point I'm trying to make though, is that your site is edgy and polarizing and does not help when you are looking to sell yourself, it cuts your audience by 50% or more. Just like in the old days you had to support IE6, you'll probably have to "dumb" the site down to be more accessible to current design thought.

Next, if you want a job with the title "Product Designer," your last job must be of the title, "Product Designer", sad but true. This means you need to convince your current employer to let you move to a new career not the next one. You do this by being valuable, but not irreplaceable---document your work. Focus on one thing until you get hired. Front-end dev might be a better match given your interests, learn Angular and React to a passable degree. This will open the floodgates to many more jobs.

Finally, figure out how to work in the US without a visa if you can, that's a huge barrier. Don't mention being based in Paris unless framed as temporary.

There are probably more barriers, which you'll find mentioned through out this page, knock them down too. And now off to follow some of my own advice ;).

First of all I agree with you. Even though this whole thread was initiated from my own not-so-great situation, I'm actually glad it happened because it spurred such an interesting conversation. The comments here are incredibly insightful (yours included) and there are some real gems to be taken!

Now about your comment more specifically: I was not aware at all that this was the state of things in companies. It definitely puts things into perspective.

I am taking note of all of the other changes you suggested, most of which I agree with (although I don't really like the idea of "dumbing" down the design to be more accessible, it feels to me like watering down my own self...)

Well, I meant taking it in a more expected direction, not actually dumber. It's paradoxical that startup websites are so conservative that they must all look alike, but there ya go.

Go individual on your personal site, but remember a professional/CV site is for the benefit of the recipient so they'll buy.

Edit: It just occurred to me that this is the same idea as the sales/marketing funnel.

Im hiring, how can i get in touch with you?

Maybe try applying for front end/full stack dev jobs rather than product design, should be easier with your skill set

Super niche balance of skills, but the kind we are looking for. Unfortunately in Amsterdam, not NYC/Paris.

How's your personal network? The best jobs are by knowing a guy (or girl) who knows a guy (or girl).

Hi there, fellow designer here who also doesn't like to fit in the narrow box of most product design roles. I've been doing this generalist thing for 10 years, and I've found that it makes applying for jobs pretty challenging - most companies are looking to fill a specific role and won't value the breadth of your interests.

I think there are 3 ways that you can make this generalist path work without it being career suicide.

1) Start your own profitable small business. It's not easy but if you can get to the point of personal financial sustainability based on something you've built, then you can stop worrying about the fact that nobody wants to hire you. Words of caution here - if you go this route, you will spend most of your time doing things other than design work and coding. Also, don't consider "start a business" synonymous with "start a startup". Startups are a very particular kind of business, but they aren't the only kind, and they have an extremely high failure rate. If you go this route, I would strongly consider focusing on building a small, profitable business first before you attempt to build a hypergrowth startup backed by outside capital. For this path, seek inspiration from https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses

2) Commit to the freelance gig path and make it work. This is pretty similar to #1 except in this case you're doing work for hire instead of building a product that generates revenue. I've done this path before as well, and found that the most challenging thing was to get a consistent pipeline of client projects. I think this is easier than it has been before. If I were doing this today, I would focus on building a reputation and profile on one of the gig marketplaces (Gigster seems like the best of the bunch right now) and use that to help fill the pipeline of projects. If you go this route, your personal financial planning should include a buffer for weathering weeks or months without work, as the lumpiness of income from the freelance life is one of the most challenging parts for someone who is starting fresh and trying to build a client base.

3) Find a very early stage startup that is so small that they value generalists over specialists and is working in an area that you're excited about and has high potential for growth. When you find this company, take almost any job they will offer you, and start working hard. If the company grows, there will be opportunities to take on more responsibilities. Over time, if you can prove your abilities in design and coding with hands on projects inside the ocompany, there will probably be many ways to contribute in these areas. You typically won't find companies like this by skimming the headlines of recent funding announcements - those companies have already made it far enough that they are usually focused on hiring specialists. Your sweet spot here will be smaller, scrappier companies that haven't made it that far yet and need to get a lot done with very little. Searching AngelList for startups that have raised only seed funding or no outside capital and are OK with remote work would be a good start here.

Just curious, did you pay for the Input font licensing?

If I could afford it, I'd hire you.

Sorry I can't afford it.

What would you hire him for?

Have you been working with any recruiters?

"Currently looking for remote/NYC-based work at your cool startup."

This is the first red flag for me. What you should be looking for is a good team to join, a place you can grow, and etc. It is okay to state you can only work either remote or in NYC. I wouldn't say anything about a startup, unless you only want to work at a startup. Even then I wouldn't state wanting to work at a startup. It is like flirting with someone. You don't just tell them you like them. Describe yourself and your work ethics to make yourself sound like a great candidate for a startup.


"I'm a 23 year old Franco-American"

I would drop the age. It is unneeded information, and their is such a thing as age-discrimination. If you told me someone had 3 years of work experience I would be like "great". Then if you told me he was 23 I would be like "hmmm". It sucks but it is how it is.


"I'm passionate about all things visual and get a kick out of crafting thoughtful digital experiences that delight their users."

Why are you passionate about visual things? Why do you enjoy making digital experience for people? How do you accomplish this? This sentence that is suppose to describe you actually doesn't accomplish that.


"I favor clean, minimal design and like to design right from the browser: HTML and CSS are my best friends."

Does designing directly from the browser make you hardcore? Why do you favor clean, minimal design? Same as above this sentence doesn't accomplish anything.


Latest work section.

I would add some info to this section. Why you made it? Challenges you over came while doing it. What you learn, or what you experience while creating it. Right now it just looks like random projects someone throw together in a week.


Experience section.

This sections feels like you trying to hide your lack of experience. Either state how many months you worked at each place, or state why you weren't there for longer then a year. My rule of thumb is if you weren't there longer then 2 years then you drop in months. Either I was there for 19 months or I was there from Jan 2016 - May 2016. Also the job title doesn't tell me anything you actually did. Give at least a short description of your duties, or why you accepted the job. What tools or languages you used while there.


I dream of section

I would change the name of this section. I would assume you would dream of joining a team or working on this or that or something. I am not a frontend designer so I really don't know what requirements someone in this field actually needs. "Mesmerizing Colors and Beautiful Typography" seems like something you should show on your website, so it doesn't need to be listed. Ditto for "Witty Copy" which I had to google and still don't fully understand what it is.


These are just my thoughts from looking at your site. When I start looking for work I get a group of friends together and we hammer out my resume. They read it and any time they ask me a question I know that is a red flag. A resume is to inform someone of your ability and strength. Every word should have a purpose and leave the person reading it not questioning anything. Everything on the resume should be truthful, serve a purpose, and be prosaic.

Best of luck to you.

I'm in exact position as of you. Though I am looking for Product Management position.

Small Context:- Apart from things you listed above, I have experience in Ethical hacking and data analytics as well. Built many products, some good , some bad. Helped many people (freely) to build their product and their internal engineering infrastructure for facilitating other developers to contribute smoothly. On Business side, I'm strong in crafting various monetization strategies and know that I'm pretty good at predicting the market trend and reflecting things in my product roadmap. So, I figured it our that best way to keep me motivated and contribute in a significant way WAS to get into product management. Be it as general product management or Technical one. I just don't have superficial knowledge, like know the interface of products and stuff... but literally enjoy to dwell into the core implementation of products/softwares which enables me to think from top of the stack to all the way to below underlying NAND registers. It's not like I had mastered every layer in between but I have enough enthusiasm to understand the WHY behind everything. This applies to both my technical and non-technical stuff.

BUT being said that, I have noticed that people generally don't believe in what we write on our resume/website. Because they feel that this guy is certainly bluffing. One thing I noticed though, whenever I meet someone in person, they instantly notice the difference. And they tend to seek knowledge from us. But again here my shyness kicks in I can't ask them for job directly. Can't even start a conversation, feels really odd. If you can try some offline aproach and are good with initiating conversation with people, you might find yourself better opportunities.

Why I failed in my startup? Answer - I specifically lack in Sales. I'm introvert. And my major failure is that I didn't hired or had resources to hire a proper sales team. Ideally, I'm fully aware and believe that founders should be a good salesman as well, but I'm now learning to do that.

My Advice for you- Brainstorm a little bit, imagine a situation where one founder gave you full liberty to help him for his product. Where will you will help him the most and at the same time will also enjoy for yourself. For me, it was Product management. I somehow feel the same for you BUT please spend some time to think on it. Once, your somewhat zeroed on your position, second step is to check the job descriptions of that position. Check 2 things there, 1) Does those job responsibilities excites you? 2) Do you have most of the "requirements" mention there. By requirements I want you to focus on the "skills / knowledge areas" mentioned there. If these 2 things resonate with you, you'll instantly know that where you fit the most. If somewhere things like "experience years" seems to be a hurdle, don't get discouraged. Still reach out to the recruiter and help them understand that you really know your shit and well experienced to handle the job swiftly.

Other Stuff-

Let me share one irony with you. While working on my startup, I gave chance to people just because they had enthusiasm and adaptability. They had literally zero knowledge in computer world. I on-boarded them, taught them programming right from some basic concepts of versioning to all the way to deploying and managing servers using docker or even VM based approach. Many of them got a job somewhere after working with me. But I feel pained about the same thing, I had not yet came across same people like me who believe in giving chances to people based on their enthusiasm and willingness. But I still believe that I need to find more of such people, who truly believe in a caliber of person. For them, a person is more important than the piece of paper.

NOTE: If some people are interested to atleast talk with me, please mail me at away8600@gmail.com

OP - If you feel, please get in touch with me at away8600@gmail.com ... We'll plan something. Since we both have nearly same attitude and way-of-life .... we'll try to figure out something concrete.


You've only graduated 2.5 years ago, so trying to push yourself as a Product Designer is probably out of your reach, and comes across as unrealistic. This is a senior-level role where experience is more important than ticking off skills. In combination with the breadth you listed this doesn't make you seem like a genius, it makes you seem like a generalist who lacks focus and probably has a touch of ADHD.

Personally your website also doesn't impress me, nor do any of the projects shown. They all have the same blank slate look of plain sans-serif fonts on white backgrounds with little or no colors and virtually no iconography. That might be good to sell consumer goods, but it doesn't demonstrate your skill and it contradicts that you're "passionate about all things visual". There are no illustrations, no flourishes, the artistry and aesthetics are absent.

In fact, what seems to be your "showpiece" for product design is IMO a self-sabotaging demo. Instead of showing off the creative process and focusing on the creative possibility space, it's a long-winded and visually dull story of navel gazing about details, interspersed with random code screenshots and programmer art. The end result, buried at the very bottom instead of pulled out at the start, is an ugly neon monospace table view with only an out of place Mario coin for graphics.

The golden rule is show, don't tell, and to not force people to do the heavy lifting for you. Also, drop phrases like wanting to work "at your cool startup", it screams try-hard. You don't want to join the startup because _it_ is cool, you want the startup to hire you because _you_ are cool.

Don't talk about writing witty copy or designing mesmerizing colors and dazzling typography, just make me laugh, mesmerize me, dazzle me.

I read this comment and was ready to jump to the OPs defense and chide you for being overly-negative but then I looked at the website...

None of the products look like something I'd expect from a "Product Designer" and even less so from someone who is "passionate about all things visual". I am not a designer but I've worked with a number of highly talented designers and none of these designs really impress me, in fact almost all of them nibble at something in the back of my head proclaiming them as slightly "off". I can't exactly put my finger on it but they just look out of place for some reason. I can get past the style of the main website (though I think it's in the style of a programmer and less of designer) but the things the OP has worked on just don't seem that... good. The "quirky equipment" with text inputs is confusing on a number of levels: What is this trying to show? Why is it listed at all? How is this innovative/interesting/or even cool? A tiny bit of JS strung together with some CSS animations doesn't strike me as worth sharing. Lastly, and a tiny thing at that, o23.io works find for a dev/designer name Olivier that is 23 years old but.... Did he buy o24.io-o100.io as well? Just seems like an odd choice of domain.

I believe you guys are being overly harsh and strict, you probably don't realize it but to me you sound like you're criticizing for the next Jony Ive position.

I find OP's work impressive and his design skills are great, he handles minimalism with grace, and that's not something a programmer could achieve without previous design principles.

His website's concept is exactly what it should be (being a T shaped professional), his grasp on typography is very good (a far better skill to have than the ability of making a million animations to impress), his Skyler app is extremely well designed and overly his work is above average in every way.

I'm not sure why OP is having trouble finding work, but it certainly is not his skills. Perhaps it's the way he presents himself, or sounding needy, or he aims for positions that require much greater experience.

He is absolutely fit for a junior to mid level front end developer or UI engineer job in my books.

Edit: His name is Olivier, just goes to show how much attention you paid when reviewing his work. (edit 2: parent edited their post where they originally referred to OP as "she" and "Olivia")

In general, I'd agree with you, but here's the sad truth...

Olivier is having difficulty finding a job, despite applying for 'millions' of positions. That screams that there is something wrong. At this point, we could pat him on the head and tell him that everything will be fine, or we can put our critical hats on and try to find things that be blocking his dreams.

I'll agree that some of the feedback has been harsh, but the poor man ended his plea with the word 'help'. Sometimes the most helpful advice is the hardest to hear.

He says he needs help, he doesn't need everyone telling him how disapointing his entire resume is.

He needs people to let him know what they like and dislike about his profile. But that does also include mentioning what is attractive about his resume. Otherwise we might as well tell him "yo bro, tech isn't for you honestly" if there's nothing likable about what he's done.

He needs to find where his profile adds value and concentrate on that. Conversely, he needs people to let him know about what they think is his profile's weaker points so he can adapt. But asking for help and having everyone tell him the same thing that his interviewers have told him isn't what he's asking for. Is it ?

Some answers have been very helpful it seems (as simple as "well maybe you're applying for senior positions instead of junior ones" or "maybe it's your personality rather than your achievements"). But saying "yeah man; I'm sorry but none of your projects impress me, they're all at best avg" does seem kinda harsh to me. To the point where it might be detrimental to OP's motivation.

Back to the main question:

I think your resume is great, you clearly have valuable skills. Assuming you're applying to entry level positions (you're only 23), I would guess that it's everything besides your resume that isn't working out. Maybe it's your cover letter, it might not be transmitting what people want to read. You should be able to get interviews with your resume, I'm surprised you're not. Have you tried to contact people directly ? I mean as opposed to responding to job ads ?

Also, little tip, rather than saying you're the best at what you do and that's why someone should employ you, I would also add to my cover letter why you want to work for who ever you're applying it. Is it because you're in love with drones, with sports, with lingerie, with whatever you're gonna be working on if you get the job. Because employers are looking for devs that love the product they're coding. I'd rather code with someone avg but passionate about what he does than someone super good but that doesn't give a shit.

Anyway, don't give up bro, you're young and you're clearly not dumb, so it'll work out. Good luck !

Well, although I don't want to be harsh and strict on someone who just asks us for some advice, I must be honest that my opinion of his design skills match more closely to the posts above than to yours.

The designs shown are not compelling enough for me to recommend, hire or work with OP if it were for his design skills. And somehow that is in fact what he communicates as his biggest skills.

Then again, maybe my opinion, or the amount of attention I paid when reviewing his work, is not representative of (even a part of) the companies OP is applying to.

I think the OP's design skills are great for a developer, but not necessarily for a product designer. He should market himself as a web developer instead of a product designer.

yea i read these comments and was ready for a terrible site, but it's totally fine. whenever HN has a 'show your personal website thread' the designs are all awful '65 year old combinatorics professor' designs. these old fucks would probably have a hernia if they looked at brutalistwebsites.com

We "old fucks" are usually in charge of hiring. If I have two applicants and one gives me a hernia, which one am I going to hire?

> In combination with the breadth you listed this doesn't make you seem like a genius, it makes you seem like a generalist who lacks focus and probably has a touch of ADHD.

Slightly off topic, but is being a generalist considered a bad thing?

  is being a generalist considered a bad thing?
I would argue that having a general knowledge of the related fields is a very positive thing. That said, if the knowledge is at a fairly basic level, it'd be hard to find much more than a junior role. Senior roles generally require more advanced knowledge/understanding, and that's a lot easier to achieve by focusing on one specific skill/niche.

Most senior people I've worked with are the archetype T-shape: a good general knowledge of a number of related fields, and a deep speciality in one area.

Wikipedia has an interesting (although uncited) comparison of Versatilist (T-shape) vs Generalist [1]:

  Think of a person having some level of knowledge/experience in 15 knowledge areas.

  That person may have a very high competency (score 5) in 3 areas,
  a medium level of competency (score 3) in 5 areas,
  an introductory level of competency (score 1) in 4 areas,
  and no competency (score 0) in 3 areas.
  This creates an area under the curve of 34.
  This is different from a generalist who may score a 1 or 3 in every area.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versatilist

Being generalist is a good thing in the sense that is good to have many skills at a reasonable level. Unless you're truly exceptional, it simply doesn't happen without lots of experience. At 20 years of experience, you can have e.g. 5 "secondary" skills (in addition to whatever key specialization you might have) where you have a reasonable knowledge and "exposure" from having applied them multiple times.

At 3 years of work experience, most people have just started to understand 1-2 things. It may be that you have gotten a great, wide experience at a young age, because you started to do hard things really early - if a junior person claims that they "know" many diverse skills, maybe they truly are a generalist, but it is so much more likely that this simply shows a so big gap in knowledge/understanding that they don't even understand how little they know about all these 'secondary' skills.

This is true at least personally - there are certain skills where 15 years ago I believed that I had them, however now I know that I don't and never did so, simply because now I have seen people who actually do have that skill and can evaluate my knowledge in appropriate context.

No, but you do need to focus your resume to the job you're trying to get. If you're a Product Designer then your resume should focus on that, and if you want a junior developer position, your resume should reflect that.

And it should go without saying, but if you're applying for both jobs, for heaven's sake - have 2 different versions of your resume...

Generalists don't get hired to traditional "jobs" within orgs. Being a generalist is great if you're starting projects or companies yourself, or have personal connections to people who start such things and are looking for 1-3 generalist types when they first start hiring.

But companies hire specialists, plain and simple.

Bollocks. Full Stack Developer is just a formal title for generalist.

It's great when you're 50, tends to message 'thin' rather than 'deep' when you're 23.

Don't take this guys negative position to heart - personally, I think he's basically wrong.

Your portfolio is actually pretty decent - especially for someone so young.

You're only 2.5 years out of school and you clearly are a multi-skilled individual with a solid ability to 'get things done' (the best skill ever) - especially wherein you've clearly required a number of different skills.

I'd suggest that being young and wanting to work remotely, or go to 'a foreign country' is hard. Immigration laws are real, and they are a barrier.

Try searching for something closer to home, or facilitating your career by getting some kind of 'status' in the US so that employers there can hire you. (Easier said than done, I know).

Keep your chin up, I would hire you in an instant if I had a role for you.

Unfortunately, companies like to put people in specific boxes.

They are not looking for people who can span the entire process, and change things globally.

Partly because that is threatening to high up's, and makes you harder to manage.

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