9 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Job in IT

IT and development jobs are among the most desirable careers in 2020. As a developer with a few years of experience, it's easy to find many suitable roles and choose the one that best meets your career path and lifestyle. Although jobs are abundant, it's still important to avoid these critical mistakes when you're applying for a new role. 

Having a Good Resume

When applying for a job in IT, like any other job, a strong resume is the first thing potential employers will see. Even though most jobs are found through recommendations of friends or through local developer meetups, many businesses still require resumes to be sent through traditional hiring channels.

If you're applying for an IT job, it's likely that you have experience with basic HTML and CSS. If you'd like to make a good impression, use your own website or a resume service to create a single-page application or portfolio that can act as a substitute for a traditional resume. If you're able to show off some of your development skills in your webpage, you'll make a better impression than a simple PDF.

Preparing for Whiteboard Questions

If you're applying for an IT position and are invited for an interview, you'll likely be pressed with some whiteboard questions. Whiteboard tests are a way for employers to see how a developer handles technical problems on the spot by writing out solutions on a whiteboard. If you're working in IT, you'll likely be handling time-sensitive technical problems regularly and will need to be able to think on your feet. 

If your background is in back-end technologies like PHP or Ruby, some common PHP interview questions may include basic things like understanding the difference between GET and POST requests or being able to evaluate the output of a regular expression within a PHP code block. 

Whiteboard questions are often stressful for developers, but many large organizations like Google and Amazon still use them during their hiring processes for both junior and senior level developers. Try to get some practice before showing up!


You should never come to an interview without a portfolio of your previous work. Even if it's your first development job, work on personal projects or contribute to open source software as you're learning development to be able to showcase your skills to future employers. Having working web applications or software can go a long way to getting you an interview with a team. 


If you only have limited front-end or back-end experience and have never worked in a full-stack environment, you should ramp up your skills before interviewing! While most developer positions focus on just one part of the stack, having the knowledge of how to work in cross-functional development teams to work with developers on both sides of the aisle is critical.


Even if you're primarily a developer, it's important to remain open to the idea of learning frameworks like Laravel or Symfony to make yourself more valuable to the team. Many modern developers are expected to be able to pick up new skills continually, even if they're only frameworks for their primary language. Staying up to date with the latest trends is an important skill to have. 

Familiarity with Scrum

Many modern development teams use the Agile Scrum framework to complete projects on time and within scope. Familiarity with Scrum practices is a necessary skill even for junior developers. Don't show up to an interview without previous experience or at least a basic understanding of how Scrum masters lead their teams and how you'll be working to achieve goals. 

Interacting with the Community

Most major metro areas around the world now have regular developer meetups. Because the development community is still relatively small, the best way to find a new position is to attend meetups, participate in community events, and find Slack channels for local developers. By avoiding the community, you'll surely miss out on a great job opportunity because you didn't even know about it. 

Continual Learning

Web development and IT trends change constantly. In the case of JavaScript development, there are a seemingly endless number of new frameworks and libraries released every year. Although you may not use all of them in your daily work, having cursory knowledge of how new frameworks work and how updates to your primary language will affect software you're developing is a must. By ignoring development trends and updates to the major languages, software you're developing for a business may develop errors or even fail completely. 

You can subscribe to services like Pluralsight, Udemy, or Lynda to keep your knowledge up to date as a developer. 


A common trend among startups and many IT jobs is the ability to work remotely. If you're not comfortable working remotely a few days a week or completing projects on your own without the supervision of others, it's time to brush up! Some large organizations still have traditional employment expectations, but as IT professionals become harder and harder to find, the trend of working remotely is likely to continue to gain popularity. 

In conclusion, if you're applying to a new IT position, try to familiarize yourself with recent development trends and make sure your skills are in tip-top shape. The casual culture of startups may be prevalent, but many tried and true hiring practices for developers still remain intact. Don't show up unprepared!

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