Get my 5-day email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch

Want an email sales funnel that's already proven to work? Get the entire word-for-word email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch and apply it to your own business.

Yes! Send me the funnel now
Start Here: “The Ultimate Guide to Asking for a Raise and Negotiate Your Salary”

“Why don’t companies ever hire me?”

27 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

5 0

Because you’re no different than the other applicants.

Here’s how to stand out. Note: This doesn’t only apply to programmers. Everyone should have a portfolio.

I am in college, but have lots of free time, so I can work fulltime at a startup plus add in a lot of extra hours (I know how startups are) on site or by telecommuting.

I applied to a few, sent my resume, etc.. but the same thing always happens. They want a portfolio.. links to things I’ve worked on. I am a programmer, PHP/Rails/C/Ruby/etc.. but I don’t have a degree in anything related to CS, and no professional portfolio.

I’m thinking the only option I have is to get a regular $8/hr job, while working on more and more projects in my free time. Enough projects to get a startup interested in me.

My response:

You’re a programmer, so why don’t you create a portfolio for yourself? Find interesting things that you wish software did — and build it for yourself.

Maybe you want a new way to integrate your iPhone with Outlook, or you wish there was a way to scrape all the images off a web page with 1 click. Whatever. Then build it. There — you have a portfolio.

Do you contribute to open-source projects?

Have you started a blog?

Or have you found someone who has an idea and helped them to build it?

Without some/all of those things, you’re just another programmer. Ask yourself how you can stand out.

There are a couple books that had a huge impact on my career. Rather than the typical how-to-get-a-job books, they’re a little different:

Staying Street Smart in the Internet Age: What Hasn’t Changed About the Way We Do Business (it has nothing to do with the Internet age, and everything to do with a kickass mindset in your current job).

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. (It’s not just for businesses. I used the ideas in this book to convince Seth Godin to hire me as his first-ever intern and work on a bestselling book with him.)

For more book recommendations, see a list of what I read.

5 0

Related Articles

Best travel credit cards from a man who’s traveled to 193 countries

Are you finally ready to book your dream vacation BUT… you want to make sure you get all the rewards ...

Read More

The psychology of breakfast

I got a few emails from people who said, “Dude Ramit, I signed up to learn about business. Can you ...

Read More


5 0
  1. That’s good advice, many programming tools are free now and all it takes is time and effort. I’m in a similar situation – I’m a computer professional but not a programmer, so I work on my projects as much as possible so I’ll be able to demonstrate what I can do.



    You’ve stumbled across a missing page.
    Check out the Table of Contents!

    I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    “Really sorry, but I can’t find the page you’re looking for. Instead, you can look at the pretty picture above. If you click refresh, I’ll even show you a different picture. Or check out the table of contents.” -The Computer

  3. If you want a job, don’t apply to job postings. It only gets you thrown into the black hole known as Human Resources. Also, this is a case where you want a sniper rifle, not a shotgun. It may seem counterintuitive, but the fewer jobs you pursue the more successful you will be.

    Here is my 10 step strategy. It has almost always gotten me the job. It may seem like more work, but it isn’t. You put in 10 hours up front and blow away your competition. You impress your future boss. You go in offering a solution to their problems, not asking them to help you with a job.

    1) Identify 10 companies you want to work for.
    2) Do basic research on these companies and the industry. Talk to friends. Ask family what they know. Google them. Your goal is to weed it down to 3-5 that are strong candidates.
    3) Now you start the real work. Dig deep into each company. Go to the library and research them. Look up news articles and press releases. Get their annual reports.
    4) Do the same for the industry. You want to be an industry expert.
    5) Research their competition. Know thy enemy…
    6) Get an informational interview with several people in the company. You want to be known. Do not try and turn this into a job interview. You need to be honest and be doing research. Often this will lead to an interview. They may ask you back for an official interview, but you are not ready yet. Push it out a few days out so you can get ready.
    7) Put together your portfolio focusing on how you and your skills will help the company succeed and grow. Things to include:
    -Letters of recommendation: go to family friends, coaches, professors, ministers, etc…
    -certificates of accomplishment
    -any diplomas
    -a copy of your transcript.
    -an executive summary of the company
    -an executive summary of the industry
    -an executive summary of the competition
    -a summary of the projects you have worked on (listed last because it is the least important thing).
    8) Think of ways you can help the company. Come up with several thoughtful questions about the company and the interviewer. Go through common interview questions and come up with good answers. Practice with friends.
    9) Call your future boss and tell him you love the company. Let him know you have been researching the industry and think you have some ideas to help them ______(fill in the blank with your newfound industry knowledge and info from the informational interviews). Be polite and professional.
    10) Go dressed in a suit. Shine your shoes. Get a hair cut. Look your best.
    10.5) Send everyone you meet at the company a thank you card. Don’t email, write it out by hand.

  4. I’m a technical writer and you’d think creating a portfolio would be a piece of cake. However, I work for a medical device company and everything I write/create is proprietary. Any suggestions?

  5. Matt, I have a few thoughts but what do you think? How could you create something that would make you stand out?

  6. Matt, as I understand it, technical writers aren’t subject matter experts, but are supposed to be good at taking hard-to-understand technical stuff and make it readable for a consumer audience. If I were you, I would go look for 3 – 5 examples of terribly written crap online (FAQs, manuals, white papers, whatever), and re-write them. Then in your portfolio, include the original crappy version, and the new, awesome version. If they are all completely unrelated and different items, that’s just better because it shows your diversity and ability to research and understand different subjects.

  7. Sara – thank you for the suggestion. There is a fair amount of poorly written documentation for shareware/freeware online I’m sure I could work my magic on. Thankfully I’m not looking for a job at the moment, but this is something I want to stay on top of.

    Ramit – I came across your site several weeks ago and really enjoy it. You’re stories are pretty amusing.

  8. As a manager of a couple of smaller computer companies, I can only agree with the original post. When we get a new application of a person we don’t know or a recent college graduate, one of the first questions is what they have to show. School projects are fine, but “own hacks”, open or closed source, are the best. It shows not only the programming qualities but also that the person have the ability to finish tasks / projects.

    The same would probably go for stuff like documentation etc.

    Not having anything to show does not mean that the person is not interesting, but it means potentially more work for the recruiter later in the process.

  9. i am interested in making a portfolio and trying sometihng new. I am a recently grad with a masters in leadership, and having trouble getting my foot in the door. How would i start a portfolio?