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Jobs for Students - Where Are They?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the a-question-that's-on-a-lot-of-minds dept.

Education 161

jtpalinmajere asks: "The past few years students like myself have found themselves in an ominously precarious situation. This is to say that the availability for jobs in the computer industry that are suited well for fresh meat graduates are dwindling at an alarming rate. Personally, I graduate this coming Spring and have been job searching for the past semester with little if any success at finding a prospective future employer. The placement office at my university hasn't been too helpful for many students in the CS department. The only companies that I have come in contact with that might consider fresh graduates are Microsoft and government agencies such as the FBI. If I can actually compete with the 76% foreign immigrant population of Microsoft then I might see that as a fairly good start, though the odds don't seem to roll in my favor. As far as the government is concerned, I'm simply not old enough for any job that gets paid more than minimum wage and has actual job security. Most of my job searching has been conducted through services like Dice and Monster. 99% of the jobs listed in these services require 2 - X many years of previous experience using Y software with a current Z security clearance level. I've even found one company that wants 10 years experience specifically with .NET -- go figure! I'm not looking for the dream job that everyone hopes to one day attain. I'm looking for a job that will simply get me into the industry with a meager salary large enough to sustain life. How many other students find themselves in my position? What are some opinions, particularly from our non-students, for soon to be graduates like myself?"

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161 comments

Welcome to the Jungle (5, Insightful)

Numeric (22250) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705143)

Did you do any internships while in college or coop? One of the most helpful job resources I found are my "ex-coworkers" and "friends of friends". If they like you and know you can perform good, people will keep an extra eye out for leads and/or possible openings.

Network...
Don't burn bridges...
Wear clean underwear...
?...
Profit

Re:Welcome to the Jungle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4706601)

If you want a summer internship using Oracle and PHP on Linux, drop me a line... You can work from home and I'll teach you Oracle..

johnalmon@yahoo.com

-John

Re:Welcome to the Jungle (4, Insightful)

afay (301708) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706897)

I'm always surprised at how many people think they can get a job by just browsing monster.com or whatever. I haven't met anyone who got a job through monster.com, but I've met a lot of people who've tried.

In my experience, the only and I mean only way to get a job is to already know someone in the company. Quite simply, if you send your resume directly to a company with no references in side, most likely it won't even be read and you certainly won't get an interview. You *have* to know someone. This is also good because especially in the tech. industry the person you know will usually get a bonus for "finding" you.

Like the poster above said, hopefully you did internships and didn't slack off. Call people you know (even relatives) and see if they have any leads.

Re:Welcome to the Jungle (2)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708042)

I'm always surprised at how many people think they can get a job by just browsing monster.com or whatever. I haven't met anyone who got a job through monster.com, but I've met a lot of people who've tried.

I got my last job through Monster or Dice (I can't remember which). It can work, though I wouldn't suggest relying on it. Since they are free, you might as well spend some of your job-seeking time using them.

Jobs for Students - Where Are They? (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705144)

That depends. Can you say "Do you want fries with that?"

Re:Jobs for Students - Where Are They? (2)

presearch (214913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705205)

In the coming police state, maybe the best thing to do is to be a cop.

Re:Jobs for Students - Where Are They? (5, Funny)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705782)

You are wording that wrong. "You want Fries with that" is not a question. You are telling them. More people buy fries when you tell them than when you ask them. Suggestive selling.

Re:Jobs for Students - Where Are They? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706335)

I defer to your superior knowledge, oh aptly named "McDaddy"

Re:Jobs for Students - Where Are They? (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#4711273)

Sorry, but you're wrong, too. The correct phrasing, at least in the UK, is "Would you like to go large with your fries?" Implication selling is a tried and tested technique, and works much better than telling your customer what to do. Just ask any used car salesman. ;-)

Immigrants (5, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705147)

The only companies that I have come in contact with that might consider fresh graduates are Microsoft and government agencies such as the FBI. If I can actually compete with the 76% foreign immigrant population of Microsoft then I might see that as a fairly good start, though the odds don't seem to roll in my favor.

I think you will find that the vast majority of non-US citizens at Microsoft, or any other organization that hire H1Bs for that matter, aren't fresh graduates, but were already experienced software developers before the H1B is granted. It would be very difficult under the terms of H1B to hire fresh graduates, as one of the conditions is that the holder must have skills that are not in ready supply in the US.

Therefore, these people are entirely irrelevant; you wouldn't be competing with them for an entry level job anyway.

Re:Immigrants (1, Flamebait)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705698)

The H1B visa, don't have any skills that US citizens don't already have(or could aquire through retraining), they are just willing to work for less and get beat on more!
Kick all their asses out, hire an US IT worker who is currently out of work, but would love a Job(I know many), for a fair wage, and move on...
H1B visa's are the equivalent of the scabs in a labor strike.

Re:Immigrants (3)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705789)

The H1B visa, don't have any skills that US citizens don't already have(or could aquire through retraining), they are just willing to work for less and get beat on more!
Kick all their asses out, hire an US IT worker who is currently out of work, but would love a Job(I know many), for a fair wage, and move on...
H1B visa's are the equivalent of the scabs in a labor strike.


Great attitude. That's why the major software houses and systems integrators are moving offshore as fast as they can.

A fair wage is whatever someone is willing to do that job for. No-one's pointing a gun at their heads and saying "write code or die". Frankly, if someone can do a job as well or better than you for less money, then they deserve it, not you. If you think you have a god-given right to high pay without producing the best work, then you are mistaken. If you do produce the best work, then you have nothing to worry about.

Re:Immigrants (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705869)

Actually I have the best attitude that I or any other American can have...
I have no issue with people coming to this country, and becoming part of American soceity(after all if my Irish,French,Britsh, great-grandparents had not come here, I wouldn't be here either)...However I have issues with people who are not American citizens potentially taking jobs away from people who are...like many of my friends who are currently out of work. I firmly believe that when their are American Citizens with the skill to do a job out of work, that a non-us citizen should not be taking a job that American citizen could be doing. I feel firmly as well that if they can't find a us citizen with the exact training to do said job, that they should be hiring one with the skills and background to learn that job, not looking at an H1B visa from outside.

Re:Immigrants (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706905)

. I firmly believe that when their are American Citizens with the skill to do a job out of work, that a non-us citizen should not be taking a job that American citizen could be doing. I feel firmly as well that if they can't find a us citizen with the exact training to do said job, that they should be hiring one with the skills and background to learn that job, not looking at an H1B visa from outside.


But Americans priced themselves out of the market. A couple of years ago there were people demanding, and getting $60k just to write HTML. This was way more than they job was worth, and the market correction put a lot of these people out of work. If they go back to the market now with the same $60k demand, they will find no jobs, but might get a job - the same way the H1Bs do - by asking a more realistic salary.

Re:Immigrants (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708063)

Umm...I don't agree with the that thought...
The problem is if you have been living the life style of someone who makes $60K...

An example that comes to mind is someone who was making a good salary doing good work. Based on that they were able to purchase a home, and have a decent car, buy a few nice things...so now the "market correction"(I hate that term) comes along...well the cost of things has not corrected with the market, however the "market correction" has caused people to loose jobs, or not get raises for over a year now...the taxes on the house have however gone up...the cost of heat, power, and hot water have gone up, the cost of gas has gone up...so now our poor person who had a nice life going, but was somewaht dependant on compensation rising in relation to inflation is either stuck at the same salary now struggling to make ends meet, or worse unemployeed trying to keep things together on Unemployement...
(Don't even go down the road of sell the house, not a fair conclusion, and extremely not the American dream.)
He might be able to find a new job except no one is hiring, he might be able to find a new job that pays the wage he needs, expect there are others who undercut his salary, for the same work...these are the results of the "market correction"...this guy is screwed!
This "market Correction" is a load of crap, its an excuse....and does not benefit the American worker...only the H1B visa ripoff's willing to take that guys potential job at a lower rate, or worse yet causing the median salary for his job to be must lower than it should be, thus employeers do not offer that job a resonable rate, or if he has sayed employeed offer less of or now wage increase since hey can get away with it. Employeer's markets are bad all around...it should always be an employee's market otherwise we are headed back to the days of the sweatshop...

What I am trying to say is that since there are unemployeed americans, the govenment should certainly not be granting new visas, and when visa's expire those people need to go home unless they are going to become citizens.

Living beyond your means. (3, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708863)

"The problem is if you have been living the life style of someone who makes $60K..."

Maybe you should stop living beyond your means then?

Sell the house and buy a cheaper one.

Car payments got you down? Sell it, buy a cheaper one. You can get a good used car for $3000 or less. My '93 Dodge Spirit is worth less than $2000 now. It's old, it's high mileage, BUT IT RUNS and that's all that matters.

All this post amounts to is, "WAAH-WAAH! THE MARKET CORRECTED ITSELF AND I CAN'T KEEP UP MY OLD LIFESTYLE!"

Re:Living beyond your means. (1)

jon doh! (463271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709214)

Sell the house and buy a cheaper one.

in a market downturn like right now, unless he's willing to basically eat the cost of his current house, he's not gonna be able to get a new one. builders are having trouble selling new houses right now, how can you expect him to compete with his 1-3 year old house that maybe needs a fresh coat of paint inside, maybe some nicer carpet, etc.

i know someone who's been shopping for houses most of this year, and they keep saying that most builders are having to sell houses that are coming back to them because the original buyer couldn't sell their old house to pay for the new one. he told me one particular builder in his area was reducing the price by 10's of thousands, offering to pay for all appliances, and one even offered to rip out the carpet in one (large) room and replace it with tile at no extra cost.

Re:Living beyond your means. (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4710200)

And there is no reason that my friend who is having these issue should have to change....if he was once worth $60K(actually he was worth alot more)...he should still be worth that...

Re:Living beyond your means. (3, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4710803)

And there is no reason that my friend who is having these issue should have to change....if he was once worth $60K(actually he was worth alot more)...he should still be worth that...

Yeah, I bet the stableowners said the same when the motorcar was invented. Times change, and people who don't change with them are lucky to get anything. If he's not worth it now, then the hard cold truth is that he was never worth it, and was living on borrowed time.

A job is "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Hot skills of 3 years ago like HTML are now commonplace. There are no barriers to learning new skills, if someone is willing to study and not sit around waiting for someone to send them on "training".

It might be bad for some employees, but it's good for as many more.

Re:Immigrants (1)

Bri3D (584578) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707902)

By law, Employers MUST pay H1B's at least $60K. Look it up. The situation is, a company will lay off two $50K workers, and hire one H1B at $60K, and then force them to work 80 hours a week to do the job of two people. Since the H1B holder is beholden to the company, they have no choice but to do the two job's worth of work. But H1B is not the problem. The problem is that most IT work can be done remotely, and a company can get a Java programmer in India for $400 a month. I would never, ever advise anyone to get a CS degree at this point. There is just no future.

Re:Immigrants (3, Insightful)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708111)

However I have issues with people who are not American citizens potentially taking jobs away from people who are

What is it about being American that makes you a better choice for a job? What if I required you to buy an American car because you are an American citizen and the car was made by American citizens? What about an American TV? And what if those American cars and TVs were all twice as expensive because the manufacturers knew that people would be forced to buy them? Even if you wanted an American car or TV, do you think it would be fair?

If someone with the same skills as you is willing to work for less money than you are, why shouldn't they be hired? Maybe you should ask for less money.

Re:Immigrants (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4710271)

I am defending my fellow workers...I have my job still, because my employeer recognizes my worth...however I have friends who lost thier jobs because of thier companies tanking, or being in redundant positions because the company was growing, and then turned around and started shrinking....some of them are better at what I do than I am, however they are the street and struggling because the "market correction"(still hate that phrase)...and I still maintain my position that as an American Citizen they have more right to a job than a non-citizen when the economy is in the state its in....

Hell I though people around here would see the logic in all this, but guess there are to many bleeding heart liberals around here.....

Re:Immigrants (3, Informative)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708820)

when their are American Citizens with the skill to do a job out of work, that a non-us citizen should not be taking a job that American citizen could be doing

Well, actually, this is the case. In order to be able to bring someone over on the H1B visa, a company must prove that they have expended due effort to find a qualified U.S. resident for the job first. This means they must show they've placed advertisements -- and in appropriate places, too, not in the back section of the classifieds -- and been searching for what is considered a sufficiently lengthy period before they can go through the H1B process.

Yes, I'm sure there are abuses of the system. However, I came over (not through the H1B system, by the way -- my wife is an American citizen) and walked straight into a job where the company had been desperately searching for a year for someone with my skills. They simply couldn't find anyone in the area (or who was willing to relocate to the area) with the necessary niche skills.

Desperately searching... (2)

DrCode (95839) | more than 11 years ago | (#4711082)

I see a lot of ads for jobs that employers don't seem to be able to fill. Usually, they have several specific requirements like "1 year experience with Swing 1.29", or "Java - must have 2 years experience with IBM VisualAge". Any decent C++ programmer could teach himself Java/Swing in a couple weeks, and learning a new IDE wouldn't be much of a challenge either.

I'd worked for a year in Java, and asked a recruiter if I should download J2EE and teach myself to use it. She said not to bother, because companies want to see professional experience.

Gettin a job (5, Insightful)

droyad (412569) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705148)

50% of jobs out there arn't advertised.
Go to the employers directly, send in your resume. It shows initiative if you call a company and ask to speek to HR or the hirer, depending on the size of the company.
I work for a small company (im not out of uni yet) and have heard that small companies are good for jobs, but don't advertise much. I hear this stuff through the "channel". Network some Wetware and hunt down a job.

Re:Gettin a job (1)

JGski (537049) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707781)

The number is more like 80%. Most jobs are "created" for candidates that impress to fit the organization rather than the other way around. You never hear about it, by definition. Another statistic: 80% of all hires result from contacts with people you know *only casually or less well*. I've never gotten a job by sending out resumes. I keep a box of reject letters from college during the '82 recession to remind me of how useless a method it is. On top is the letter from Intel I received 2 weeks after I started at Intel as a result of a "non-traditional" contact and phone interview. :-)

So true (plus a little more friendly advice :-) (3, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 11 years ago | (#4711381)

The parent is right on the money, except that I think the stat is much greater than 50% in my area (East Anglia, UK).

There are basically four ways to go about getting a job:

  1. Use an on-line jobs board.
  2. Send a resume and covering letter to likely companies.
  3. Reply to job ads, or use an agent who serves much the same purpose.
  4. Get a contact through networking and word-of-mouth.

In my experience, these are listed in increasing order of likelihood of success, and the first two options are way behind the other two.

My other advice would be to consider aiming for a small company first, particularly if you're good. You're much more likely to have someone technical read your resume and any covering letter you send, rather than to be filtered out by some buzzword-craving DB. If you write a good resume -- most people really don't, and I've posted advice on this subject around here before -- then so much the better.

You probably won't get a top notch salary at a small company, but you'll get a decent average for someone with your experience over the first year or two at most of them, and you'll get a much more personal experience from those you work for and with, which is good for developing your early career. Again, this is particularly useful if you really are good, either technically or in your attitude, as this is far more likely to be noticed in a smaller, more personal environment.

After a couple of years in the business, you'll have had chance to establish a solid track record with a company, and to see which skills are really useful and not just hype. If you choose to move on from there, you'll be much better placed than you are right now.

Final tip: do consider staying on and getting more qualified while the market is tough. NB: I'm mostly talking about serious qualifications, not random certificates from marketing departments, though the latter rarely hurt. I got a long way based not only on a good maths degree, but also on the one year postgrad diploma in CS I took to go with it. Aside from being a darned useful course, it distinguished me from other random graduates in my early career. If you can get some sort of funding or sponsorship to do such a course, so much the better, obviously. It gives you a way to ride out the current wave of poor IT recruitment, and good experience to boot.

If you're looking to do software development as a serious career, supporting skills in things like maths or management do no harm at all. If you're after sysadmin type work, you could do worse than having some electrical or communications engineering skills as well (and those random marketroid-driven certificates are probably worth something, at least in some cases). Either way, the extra edge does no harm.

Work + Uni (3, Insightful)

tedDancin (579948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705150)

Being a (nearly-finished) student, I can vouch for the troubles that can be had trying to find a job in the industry at the moment. I was lucky enough to study a course (Multimedia) that has a year of work placement between 2nd and 3rd year. Our uni boasted a "100% placement rate" for these before my year (2001). Obviously things went downhill from there. I was lucky enough to secure a place (it wasn't my first choice) and hang on through the tough times. I kept working through final year and now have a full time job to go. I've also had 2 years experience at the same time (:

All I can suggest is that you seek out any opportunity to work while you study - the workload is heavier, but your chances of being employed at the end are far greater.

Apply anyway (4, Informative)

bsmoor01 (150458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705178)

Even if an employer wants 2 years of experience, go for it if you feel qualified. I only had about 1 year of experience, all coop. I applied for a job that wanted 3-5 years experience, and I got it. Granted, I am getting paid a little less than the advertised rate, but it's a job.

I remember seeing 5+ years in Java Enterprise Edition and 2+ years with .NET when looking around last spring. That's nonsense, and most people know it. Why companies do this, I don't know. Don't let it discourage you. If you really feel you are qualified, sell yourself anyway. Talk about why you are good for the job despite not having the desired experience. You have nothing to lose.

Re:Apply anyway (2)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707869)

Most places the job postings are made by HR people, not by actual hiring managers. Hiring managers (if they're competant) just want you to be able to do the job, and the HR people are thrilled if they can fill the position for cheap (since you're "inexperienced" they will pay you less, sorry).

Another thing to look at is smaller companies. They usually don't have HR staff so you can deal directly with the hiring manager who is more likely to understand that people aren't just buzzwords.

Agreed. (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708919)

Also, in many of these cases, even if the experience they ask for IS possible, they won't get any responses with that kind of experience. So just try applying anyway.

good point (5, Insightful)

Uma Thurman (623807) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705213)

As far as the government is concerned, I'm simply not old enough for any job that gets paid more than minimum wage and has actual job security.

That's about right. My grandpa needed to be 18 and just graduated from high school to get a good job that could support a family. My father needed to have a 4 year degree for the same thing. I needed a degree and a few years of experience before I found a decent job.

At this rate our grandchildren are going to have to be retired before they can get a decent job.

Re:good point (3, Insightful)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707304)

It's more fun to ask WHY this has happened.

Grandpa probably paid no income taxes until he was well established, and even your father paid far less taxes than you will. It's not just a matter of earning more, there's a far higher tax burden today than in the past, even before you toss in FICA taking money out of the first dollar you earn.

Grandpa probably started out in a room at the Y with a hot plate, maybe, and a common bathroom down the hall. Your father probably started out in a small efficiency. But today it's hard to find cheap but safe housing - almost everyone would rather pay hundreds per month for every luxury today, than save and invest the money so that they might be able to afford their own property with the same amenities in a decade or two.

Grandpa probably walked to work, or rode a tram. People lived in cities close to work, not in suburbs. Your father could have ridden the bus, or gotten a used car with minimal features. But today you need a car (unless you're in some core cities), and that car has a laundry list of federally mandated safety features and a second laundry list driven by market forces.

Ditto laundry, clothing, travel and recreation, etc.

Don't get me wrong - life today is far more comfortable and safer than in your father's or grandfather's day. But it is also much harder to get established, and even people who are willing to make short-term compromises for long-term benefit find it difficult because of the lack of availability.

Temp temp temp... Oh! and Open Source... (5, Interesting)

Big Sean O (317186) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705219)

Get a temp job that starts to pay the bills. Let the firm know that you would prefer tech-area jobs. Temp work is the great back door through which the inept Human Resource director is circumvented.

If you like the place, and they like you, you will eventually get an offer for a 'real' job. Meanwhile, you will get to see all the different types of jobs there are: specifically, which places you really don't want to work.

While you're slumming in the mail room, you should contribute to some open source projects at home. Temp jobs almost never make you sign oppressive IP contracts. It will keep your skills up, and you will earn a reputation with your peers. Non-paid work is _always_ impressive on your resume. If a shop says "Hey, why are you doing OSS stuff?" you can say it was to keep your skills sharp while you found a 'real' job.

But don't write off the 'real' world. There's a far bigger, and hidden, market for people who know how to program. I started in environmental consulting, and one of our best consultants was a database guru. I recently automated table generation in a large report. Saved us a week of formatting time. Programmer is not in my job description. These types of jobs generally have a specific problem domain, which gives you a leg up when you want to move to a 'real' tech shop.

Re:Temp temp temp... Oh! and Open Source... (1)

vbweenie (587927) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706172)

Same here - I started out temping, stuffing envelopes in the mail room at the admin HQ of a small UK bank. Now I code for them, build databases, automate back-end processing, you name it. I don't get paid a heck of a lot for doing it (about one and a half times what I was paid for stuffing envelopes, truth be told), but it's a bona fide tech job and a leg up to the next thing, whatever that may be.

A lot of the time you just have to sneak in sideways: get a foot in the door, and then fight your corner for a few months (obviously this requires some peculiar contortions...)

Don't be afraid of the internship (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709013)

You might be able to try (as a recent college grad) for an internship. While internships sound like they should only be for students returning to school, it's becoming increasingly common to work as an intern even after graduation. If you do a good job, then you'll get hired full-time.

This is my situation. I was not totally sure when I applied for my current job whether or not I wanted to go to grad school immediately full-time or to get a job and start doing part-time grad school. The company I applied to was thinking about hiring me permanently, but in the end decided to hire me for the summer, with the possibility of continuing on.

It's November and I'm still here. I'm still officially on "Intern" status, but I no longer have an end date and my boss and his boss (up to the VP of Research) want to get my status upgraded ASAP. (Unfortunately, hiring is semi-frozen at the company). But having a semi-permanent internship with low pay is better than no job at all, and I have my foot in the door and a head start on my dream job once the economy picks up a bit and hiring becomes easier.

Note: I'm making far more than minimum wage, but still far less than the going salary for an EE.

And as the original poster said, even in jobs where "programming" might not be in the job description anywhere, even a bit of programming experience can be a BIG benefit. (I find myself whipping up a small Perl script every week or two.)

Re:Temp temp temp... Oh! and Open Source... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4711192)

I tried for almost a year to break into the field after graduating from college. I worked part-time in a job that wasn't related to my degree and did open source development in my spare time. I mentioned my open source projects in a small section at the end of my resume. I submitted by resume for dozens of jobs on dice but never even received even an interview. Not even so much as a rejection letter-- I never heard a thing.

Then I got the idea of making a bigger deal of my open source work. I put each open source project I had done significant work on down with as much description and detail as each of my actual jobs, including tools used, descriptions of the tasks and roles I was responsible for, etc.

My next batch of resumes scored me two interviews. (out of four resume submissions), one of which landed me my current Programming job. Open source development got me my paid developer job. It turned out the person responsible for going through the resumes and doing the interviews for the position was an avid open source developer in his spare time himself. Out of something like one hundred resumes, I made the short list of interviewies, and that was all I needed.

My job experience may not have looked all that impressive on paper, but face to face, I was able to prove my ability (in something like a six hour interview!)

Aim For Contract Jobs (3, Interesting)

cam_macleod (59140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705232)

I was in the exact same situation -- job hunting for months before graduation, with no results. Admittedly, I was a B- student, so I can see why I wasn't the top of every list, but to not appear on *any* list?

Anyway, my success was in contracting. Talk to IT recruiters about filling small roles and assisting other contractors, that sort of thing. Just to get your name out there, and to get some actual after-school-experience. I was jobless for 3 months after graduation, then I did contract teaching (computer repair, network design, etc) for 4 months, then was hired full-time at the company where I'd been contracting most often.

YMMV of course. Good luck!

some rules....of mine (2, Funny)

hswerdfe (569925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705249)

Make sure every one you know, from your aunt who works in health care to your drugie high school friend knows you are looking for a job, and has a copy of your resume.

Contact all your old employers, make sure they know also, see if they have any openings, or know of any, in the industry, send them an updated copy, and get letters of recomendations from all of them, even if it was a McJob.

Have samples of work to show prospective employers.

apply to a minimmum of 5 jobs a day!

Never use the auto submit for a job posted on a job board unless no other contact info is given.

Include a Cover letter with Every Submition.
use words in your cover letter that are used in the job description.

and last show up to the interview DRUNK!

Re:some rules....of mine (1)

Boba001 (458898) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708846)

>> and last show up to the interview DRUNK!

Odd advice but I actually did this once for a phone interview. I interview terribly over the phone. I decided that if I was going to have any chance at this I had to be relaxed... and what made people relaxed? Tequila! Since I was on the phone they wouldn't be able to tell I was slightly intoxicated.

I had an interview set for something like 2pm. I took like 5 shots of tequila at about 1:30 on an empty stomach. The call came in and I was slightly to moderately drunk.

It actually worked. The alcohol loosened me up enough to sound relaxed and coherent on the phone and I was able to get a face-to-face interview with them. :)

Have you looked at your university? (4, Insightful)

eclectric (528520) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705255)

I know most CS students see it as "below" them, but most universities have a thriving IT department. Even getting a job at the help desk can be a *huge* boost in your career... a couple years of that, and you've suddenly got 2+ years of experience in the field. You don't have to stay, but it's a good place to start.

The real problem is waiting until you get out of college. IT departments in colleges are much more willing to hire students, because they can count more on the person actually sticking around if he's got two or three years of school left.

Re:Have you looked at your university? (2)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709268)

Most university help desks are going to be staffed by fellow students that have received work study financial aid. Because of this, don't expect much more then minimum wage.

Do what the H1B's do... (1, Troll)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705277)

Lie.

When you submit a resume to HR, talk about your 25 years of experience with .NET and 50 years of Java.

Just remember to bring a real resume to the interview.

Re:Do what the H1B's do... (5, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705689)

When you submit a resume to HR, talk about your 25 years of experience with .NET and 50 years of Java.

Care to back that up? Lying on an H1B application results in a 10-year ban from travelling to the US, so it's not something that anyone would do lightly. And it's not just a HR department checking up on you, it's the INS. And if a company decides to stretch the truth a little in a pitch about the experience of its employees, that's not necessarily the employee's fault.

Or was that just another whiny "the dang foreigners are takin' all our jobs and women" remark? Remember, the only difference between you and a green card holder is that your parents caught an earlier flight or boat.

Re:Do what the H1B's do... (3, Insightful)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706026)

Remember, the only difference between you and a green card holder is that your parents caught an earlier flight or boat.

Unless you are Blackfoot, Cherokee, etc. but that is an entirely different can of worms. I just sigh, shrug my shoulders and mutter "white people" a lot.

I think we Americans take far too much for granted; and few of us appreciate what we have or are willing to work hard for it. Those of us that do are likely to ride out dips like this and hopefully be better off personally and professionally in the long run.

Re:Do what the H1B's do... (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706233)

You are right. They caught an earlier ice bridge. =)

Re:Do what the H1B's do... (2)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707601)

Very true *L* Yet this is the 21st century; many had hoped that advances in transportation, communications and medicine would have made us a planet without borders by now. Now it seems those advances have only widened the gaps.

Re:Do what the H1B's do... (2)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706153)

There is a big difference between my grandparents and H1B visa holders.

H1B's are temporary imported labor brought in to address a "labor shortage". They are usually not eligible to become permament residents, and have their visas revoked 30 days after separating from employment.

My grandparents entered this country on a long-term visa and eventually became naturalized citizens of the US.

I'm all for immigration -- I say that we should allow lots of Mexicans and Asians in -- as permament immigrants. Imported temporary labor contributes little to our society, besides providing cheap, abusable labor to companies.

Re:Do what the H1B's do... (1)

danielpavel (243201) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706243)


Imported temporary labor contributes little to our society, besides providing cheap, abusable labor to companies.


Yes, but most H1B applicants actually hope to upgrade later to a long-term visa and finally stay in the US. In IT, at least.

How to spot a lie? (1)

bayankaran (446245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4710112)

The proportion of lies in H1B resumes and the non H1B resumes are going to be the same. Both the parties do that to varying degrees. But for the H1B non-immigrant it would be much more riskier as the resumes and the candidate backgrounds are checked prior to issuing of visa.
Your attitude comes from misunderstanding or xenophobia.

"years of experience"... (1)

lburdet (552112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705362)

... is nothing more than a figure of speech.

When they ask for "years of experience", they just want to avoid the wannabes who just popped out of 6 months community college, and know only what was taught on the blackboard.

if you take this "requirement" for what it *really* is, it shouldn't bug you!

... unless you just got out of a community college 2-month speed-learning program? ;-)

I guess this is "normal" (1)

mary_will_grow (466638) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705373)

I always remember people saying "Oh you'll have no problem getting a job." "Oh you'll be rich" since I was an electrical engineering major. People never said that to Biologists and Mechanical engineers. Maybe now we in the tech industry just have to go through the process of finding a job, rather than a job finding us. Sure would have been nice if I had graduated 3 years ago, instead of 1, though. :)
It all comes down to finding people you like, and that like you. I should take my own advice though.. .I'm still working an internship from back-in-the-day and making pennies.

Re:I guess this is "normal" (4, Interesting)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706071)

It's a hard life, being a 2001 electrical engineer grad at this time.

What I really want to know is what makes these companies so completely STUPID that they won't hire fresh graduates? Many kids are kicking out of engineering already, and starting engineering majors are at an all-time low.

Ok, an HR guy may see someone with FIVE or TEN years of experience to be a better choice. But what happens in five years, when I have been working a job barely related to engineering? I won't remember a thing I learned in school. I've been keeping up with my projects, trying to learn additional skills, but it's not easy when trying to hold down a (poorly paying) full time job and pay off student loans. The companies are setting themselves up to have NO competent engineers available in the next three to four years.

By setting insane required experience levels, they are limiting their candidates to two types: those who will demand higher pay and retire ten years earlier, and those who are ethically twisted enough to blatantly lie on their resumes.

The idiocy evident in many of these corporations, as well as their failure to analyze the talent pool on a long-term basis, is seriously convincing me that contracting may be the only way to keep a safe distance. The only problem with that, is developing a good contracting business is even harder than finding a job. People just don't understand that an engineer doesn't need to have the EXACT experience in what you want them to do. Most engineers have the skill of learning everything necessary to complete a project, and making decisions based on the research of others. It's primarily an application field; you wouldn't question a carpenter's ability to make a desk out of black walnut even if he's only made maple and cherry desks before.

Someday I will find people who have a clue. Or take a few of my money-making inventions and actually do something with them.

You need to bust your ass when in school. (3, Interesting)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705487)

Try like hell to get on somewhere to get "real world" experience. It makes all the difference when looking for a job.

It also helps to move to an area where jobs are plentiful. For example when I graduated I too couldn't find a job worth anything in Oklahoma. So I moved to Dallas. After working there and getting experience the jobs I wasn't qualified for in my home town area were now begging for experienced developers.

I also did lots of free work (software development related) in my spare time. You can always find non-profit organizations that need help and will give you a real project without the time constraints usually associated with a real job. This is experience and you'd be doing something good for your community (I still volunteer). Just make sure not to flake out b/c non-profit's get a lot of people who want to help but don't want to put forth the effort needed.

Resumes are usually poorly written. (5, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705574)


For more than 20 years, as a hobby, I've been helping friends re-write their resumes. I've noticed that one factor that affects the hiring of excellent students is that their resumes usually don't communicate clearly.

People are told that resumes should be only one page. That's not true. When you write any advertisement, you should write as much as you have to say. When you finish telling the entire story, stop writing. This advice is from the famous ad man David Ogilvy, who wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man [isbn.nu] , an excellent book that is, as you would guess, easy to read. Any library should have it.

Here are PDF examples of the before and after: Original student resume, with beginning corrections [hevanet.com] . Draft of improved resume, with formatting quirkiness caused by Microsoft Word [hevanet.com] . (My friend the student did the re-writing, using my suggestions as a guide. The improved version is current as of yesterday.)

It took maybe 10 hours to develop the information. I spent the time because I am a friend. It is easy to understand that a prospective employer would not spend 10 hours getting to know every person who sends a resume.

Notice that the original resume looks like the resume of thousands of recent journalism graduates. The improved resume is an advertisement that gives a complete picture of the person being advertised. The original expects the reader to do the work. The improved version gives as much as possible and asks as little as possible from the reader.

Like the friend in the example, many students have a lot of relevant experiences.

The book Executive Jobs Unlimited [isbn.nu] is old, but includes a lot of information that is relevant to anyone's effort to write a job-getting advertisement. Most libraries have this book.

A lot of the problems in getting a job are caused by the inexperience and ignorance of the employers. Employers are often no better than applicants at communicating. They often ask for qualities expressed by buzzwords. Often what an employer really wants is very different from what is communicated. Imagine the confusion when both the applicant and the prospective employer communicate poorly.

The most difficult kind of writing is writing an advertisement. The most difficult kind of advertisement to write is an advertisement for a person. The most difficult person about whom to write is yourself. Get help if you can. Write biographies of yourself, so that you will have information to use in the job-getting advertisement. Most people have difficulty believing they are as good as they really are, I've found.

If you are interested, it is okay to mirror the resumes, but the mirror must include a link to this original Slashdot comment.

Re:Resumes are usually poorly written. (2)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705955)

Most people have difficulty believing they are as good as they really are, I've found.

Amen to that. The last 'tech screener' that talked to me asked me why I downplayed my experience and was "so humble" about it. I had too many people mistake my willingness to help and strong work ethic for ego; and now it is difficult to decide when enough is enough - especially when you have to play more cards than your tech experience with 25 other applicants waiting for their turn to interview.

Re:Resumes are usually poorly written. (2)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708293)

Here are PDF examples of the before and after

I am not a particularly good writer, so I hesitate to critique the improved version (but this is /. so what the hell).

I don't like the reformatted version because a two-column format is very difficult to read on-screen. When I was involved with hiring as part of a previous job, I would read all the resumes on the computer, and then print out the good ones so I'd have them in my hand during the phone interview .

Re:Resumes are usually poorly written. (2)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708688)

Also, companies don't want to bother with relocating people these days (or so I've heard from a recruiter friend). So make sure you have an address and phone number in the same area as the jobs you're looking at.

I know someone who was having a hard time finding a job because he lived in a different part of the state than the one in which he was applying. Then he got a cell phone in the area and used a friend's mailing address and jot offers out the wazoo (comparitively speaking, anyway).

76%? (0, Offtopic)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705675)

Does MS really get 76% of their workforce from outside the U.S.? If true, then no wonder they don't mind trampling our rights and trying to enslave the population. They employees at MS may not have ever even read the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Line up for your chip implants.

BC

Answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4707080)

At this college, when MS collects people for
interviews, they only ask the people with Indian
last names. Anybody else is never considered.
It doesn't matter if you have a green card or not.
Guess if you have a green card, you'll get weeded out.
That would explain the number of incompetents that find
their way up there too.

Change Carrers (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705679)

...Honestly those of us who are already out here, and already have jobs(or have lost jobs due the current market)...don't need any fresh young talent to arrive and threaten out job security or ability to get/change jobs...I hear Biotech needs help...maybe there is time to redirect your major....

Co-op (3, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705785)

I go to a university that requires me to have 4 co-ops before I graduate. A Co-op is a paid internship in which I work for 10 weeks, 40 hours a week in my field of study. Since I am a CS major I must get a job writing code, developing software, etc. or it wont count towards graduation. It is incredibly difficult to find such a job. I plan to spend the break I have right know contacting as many companies as possible so that I will be sure to get a co-op in the spring. I really need the money.

If you would like to hire a computer science major to work for you check my resume [rit.edu] .

Re:Co-op (2)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706086)

PAID internship? Good luck. When I was laid off in February, I decided to ask my previous employer to allow me back on the helpdesk if an opening arose (there are 12-14 people and the turnover rate when I left was 1 or 2 every six months or so - after all it was helpdesk). Even though I had not left on bad terms *at all* (at least as far as I knew), I was very smartly informed that I would be in a part time, on-call situation at whatever they felt like paying and would be laid off before any of their four unpaid interns would be left without any work to do - the free college kids were more important apparently. I was still doing some 'on call' sort of work for the folks that laid me off and travelling, so I couldn't go back anyway; but you can imagine in a situation like that I shouldn't have.

It's like that Linux-based software cliche' - "What do you mean it's not free?"

Re:Co-op (2)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706124)

I guess I should've added that the manager of said team is very proud that they are moving from a tech support to a call center/forwarding environment despite the programmers they are forwarding to not being too happy about doing tech support; and that NO ONE has left his team since I left over a year ago (until the contract company promoted someone into a job at their home office). It doesn't take a lot of thinking to realize no one has left because there is nowhere to go. I'm still fractionally remorseful that I didn't come back aboard and work my way back up there, but maybe it was for the best. [AhI'minachattymoodtodaymuststopcaffeineintake]

Can anyone can 'sustain life' at entry level? (4, Insightful)

krinsh (94283) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705907)

I hate to tell you this; but it is my observation that you may be looking at temping - A LOT - and holding down an additional part time job just to get situated as a recent graduate. I feel this goes for all fields. Unless you can hold yourself to the minimums (used ride, efficiency apartment, outlet store clothes) until you establish yourself; you may be out of luck.

I think one thing going against you is a lot of adults, regardless of their field, are going back to get their first or even second degree and very likely their Masters' because they are either currently unemployed or very worried about the security of their current job. I know that despite my experience I am ready to start night classes and finish my degree; and I'm far closer to 30 than you are.

That's even with a $28 an hour job - specifically because it is a consultant gig and I won't be making $60 thousand this year or next unless I can roll out of this position and right into the next one... and I'm scared that that won't happen. Yeah, scared. You get a bunch of hard working people afraid they aren't going to make it and they start exercising a lot of options to make themselves viable in a tough market.

On the other hand; there have to be a considerable number of IT jobs that aren't just support or "network engineering/administration" and the like. I know a kid that just finished college with his Comp. Sci. major but he focused on chip design and already has a cushy; if not extremely high paying right off the bat job in a clean room. At least his foot is in the door.

Don't count yourself out yet. Check with your [city/county government] employment service and don't forget your college likely has resources and internship provisions for you. My current contract is in a place I didn't think would be likely to have IT employment opportunities.

Last, forget the "TS SCI/Poly required" jobs, unless you go somewhere that indicates on the announcement they will hire you then clear you or clear you before you are officially hired like the State Department - they still need about 100 IT Management Specialists I think, and thanks to my stupidity a few years ago I won't be one of them right now (nothing criminal; just shouldn't have held a grudge after I left [non-classified] civilian government service). The 'you must have current active clearance' jobs are often most suited for military folks that will very likely never get out of a classified work environment - not that they would want to with some of the salaries they will get paid. Then again, maybe four or eight years in the service (with a college degree I don't think Officer School would be that difficult for you to get into) would do you some good and at least guarantee you a roof and meals; and maybe even help pay off your college bills. There's private consulting, government contracting, then defense contracting - and with this Homeland Security business they want everyone to have some clearance or other - odd that the more people cleared to access information the more likely it is that information will not remain secret, but that is another topic for another day.

Take what you want from this comment and leave the rest; but I wish you the best of luck. Keep your chin up and don't take it too hard that there are probably 4 or 5 thousand former Worldcom, Global Crossing and other IT/telecom employees vying for that same job. Sometimes youth works for you not against you.

Mmm.. minimum wage... (1)

Jon-o (17981) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705963)

I guess I'm lucky to be living somewhere where you don't need much money, but I could *easily* live off of a full-time minimum wage job.

As it stands, I'm working several very part-time jobs, and covering living expenses pretty easily - had to take out a loan for tuition, but that's different.

I'm currently working about 10 hours a week at the help desk for my school's computer centre, getting paid to sing in a church choir, tuning a harpsichord for another university, and taking various freelance performing gigs where I can.

Of course, living where I am, I don't need (or want) a car, my living expenses total about $500 Canadian) and I'm generally pretty low-maintenance.

I have several friends with rather severe money problems - huge debts, damaged credit, etc... - most of whom make about 10 times what I do in a year. There's a point where you just have to look at how little you can live off of - do you really *need* that Xbox? Can you put off upgrading for another year? etc...

I pity those people forced to live in more expensive places. Almost any city in the States - and even more places like London - just paying rent on a small apartment can easily cost several times my total living expenses... Makes you wonder if it's really worth the trouble of living there.

Re:Mmm.. minimum wage... (2)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709890)

I guess I'm lucky to be living somewhere where you don't need much money, but I could *easily* live off of a full-time minimum wage job.

As it stands, I'm working several very part-time jobs, and covering living expenses pretty easily - had to take out a loan for tuition, but that's different.


I know what you are saying, but like the point you make at the end, it's really hard to live in a big city. Why live in a big city? I dunno. I am in Boston for school, and the rent is crazy. I see studios go for 1000-3000/month, and 1BR's go for 1000-4000/month. I am from North Carolina, and you can have ANYTHING there for 1200/month. Personally I pay about 100 in bills a month, 175 in groceries, and 700 (my share of rent). I guess that's around (quick, but inaccurate, math skills..) $1000+/month in living expenses. I have no car, I don't have a TV, and I don't have a Bus pass- just a subway pass, and I don't eat much. So I am trying to save money...
But with school taking up a majority of my week (bad schedule makes in almost impossible to work a job). Even if I had a job working 20 hours a week or so, I couldn't do it at min wage. I would pull about 80/week (after uncle sam's share), or 320/month. That doesn't even make a dent.

My advice, move somewhere cheap, and get a job. I have been offered jobs in NC, that would probably pay 40-60K/year after I got into them, but nope, I wanted to go to school....

Move into parents house (3, Insightful)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705973)

Move back in with your parents... hope they still have a job so they can pay your bills... if you have any. The economy sucks right now... I've been having the same trouble you have... except I blew off college... I took two semesters and was like "this is worthless bullshit", so I ended up working.

I recently lost my job because I would not let my employer screw me (not literly, financially)... So now.. I atleast have the chance to have a love life... I only have car payments, cell phone bills, and other expenses that my parents are kind enough to pay for me.

Tip: Don't worry about it... You will find a job, In the mean time, focus on your love life.

Love life??? (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709147)

Moving into the parents' house is a bit of an inconvenience love-life-wise. (Read: No privacy)

On the other hand, it's much more socially acceptable in the current economy to be living with your parents than it usually is. I'd say 50% or more of my graduating class are living with their parents - I'm considered lucky that I have a job.

Work on apps that make you relevant (2, Insightful)

meara (236388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4705993)

1. Start working on business apps now. Your network battleship independent project may not impress anyone, but a substantial contribution to an open source workflow system might. Re-engineer some club website in J2EE or .NET just to see how it works. Try to get an understanding for the kinds of problems real applications solve.

2. Lots of companies will take a fresh college grad if it's the right kind of person -- they just don't necessarily advertise that on Monster (since they'd be neck-deep in unqualified resumes). Instead, they go to career fairs at selective universities. Try going to one of those or at least getting a list of attending companies. Then submit your resume directly with a cover letter that explains how you're ready to be relevant right away. (see #1)

It could be too late... (1)

jholder (22001) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706132)

My company has taken to only extending offers to people who have interned with us, provided that the work done was good work... Unfortunately, to intern, you have to have another year (or semester) of school to go...

Honestly, the people we have hired this way have worked out really well compared to most of the "cold hiring" - both parties pretty much know what to expect going in to it.

The moral? Make sure you intern somewhere you would like to work the year before you graduate!

(of course, I wasn't a college-hire here, came in during boomtimes...)

Should have dropped out earlier (2)

Raskolnk (26414) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706161)

I hate to say it, but you should have dropped out and started working while the market was overly hot and they would pay good money for a programmer with demonstrable skill -- degree or no.

That's what I did, and four years later I have enough experience to give me some small kind of security. But then, I also have no degree, so I get filtered by HR that way. Fortunately, I've made enough contacts with people who are willing to vouch for me.

Of course, I'm kicking myself now, as I'm trying to go back to school. But, at least the university is always more than willing to take my tuition check, esp. in the slow market.

Re:Should have dropped out earlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4708823)

I did exactly this. Took an internship two summers ago and never left. They are now paying for my last year of tuition as well.

The probelms that I deal with daily (Application/Database admin) are the kind that you will NEVER learn in school. I am thankful that my time in school focused on teaching me HOW to learn.

In my time with this company, I have learned:
-SQL & PL/SQL
-Active Server Pages
-JSP
-PHP
-Perl
-DOS Batch programming

I now have more marketable skills than the vast majority of my recently graduated classmates. I don't have a degree quite yet, but I have a job and they don't. By the time the economy picks up, I will have my degree and 3 years of solid experience not only programming, but general administrative and people skills too.

Grad School (1)

dmr (22497) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706232)

You've still got time to take the GRE. You already live like a student. You are (likely) very familiar with your university's department, and your professors still know you well.

Start investigating graduate programs.

Worst case scenario: you take out some loans and hustle for part-time work. Best case scenario: they get you grant money or a teaching post, and you get your degree while they pay you.

It's crappy out here. You can always drop out of grad school when things start looking up.

Job Requirements (2)

Alethes (533985) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706263)

I've even found one company that wants 10 years experience specifically with .NET -- go figure!

It's listings like this that should show you much you need to ignore the job requirements and just apply for everything you think you could do well and would enjoy doing. A lot of times the company will take you on if you can ramp up quickly and they'll save money by getting somebody less experienced.

geeks take away blue collar jobs, its only fair pl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4706301)

play .now you know how all those factory workers felt. and why dont you tellyourself what geeks
awlays tell those workers? "well you just nbeed to learn more and work harder"

Do something else (2)

cwinters (879) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706485)

Try doing something else for a while. Can you write or edit? Do you have decent communication skills? Nonprofits, particularly smaller ones, are always looking for smart, well-rounded people because you wind up doing much more than your job description dictates.

This is not a bad thing: more than one person has backed into the computer industry by taking on tech responsibilities at a small non-IT company. After a year or two you have some decent experience, you'll be able to show that you can solve problems creatively (read: cheaply) and you might have a greater appreciation for the user's point of view than if you'd gone directly into application development from college.

Diversify (1)

PaddyM (45763) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706536)

One thing I took in college was a business administration minor. It was very boring, yet if I didn't have my current job, I could fall back on that. Maybe become a certified public accountant or something. Then use my spare time to code some GPL projects to keep from getting rusty. So if you can't get a job in the computer science field, get some job, and just hobby in the computer science field until things get better.

OTOH, you can always go back to the academic world as well.

Computing in US is Ruined, Change Your Major (1)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706656)

I'm sure you won't listen, but computing is largely ruined in the US -- basically, Microsoft owns it and it will be doing everything possible to reduce employment and benefit levels, not increase them. Unless you're planning to leave the country after you graduate, I'd strongly suggest changing your major to something more profitable in the long term like biotechnology or furnace repair.

jobs for students (3, Interesting)

VAXaholic (627555) | more than 11 years ago | (#4706713)

Dont be daunted by the often illogical 'experience' requirements. Most of the time, these are taken from boilerplate templates and guidelines that HR departments get or cook up themselves. A job posteing seldom has what the original author intended after it gets through HR people! Having been on the other side of this fence before, trying to hire people (and wasting my time interviewing way too many people who were completely unsuitable before I found some folks who were), I have to say that the job description folks post is every bit as sensitive in triggering interest on the part of applicants as their resumes are in triggering interest in employers. On the same subject, most management have, probably from their super-leet business schools, some strange guidelines in their heads of 'rules of thumb' that a guy of some degree of seniority should have foo years aof experience with such and such buzzwords. Your mention of one that asked for 10 yrs experience with m$'s .net stuff is a prime example. My advice: spend a few minutes to figure out what the employer _really_ wants, and send
him a resume anyway. Make sure you point out to him what you can do and make mention of projects youve worked on (if any) that give a hint that you are good at working on projects. Dont just shy away because you dont have a certain number of years experience. Often the actual interviewing or
even screening of resumes is done by people who _do_ know what they're talking about, in any well run organization at least. Good managers know to use their specialists to do their job.

[OT] Do I know you? (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708956)

VAXaholic -- I recognize that nick from about 10 years ago. It's a unique enough nick that I don't feel silly asking: What school did you go to?

--Joe

Try getting a job WITHOUT a degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4706913)

... I managed to do it. No degree, but experience. I'm 21 and make decent bank and work in the middle of San Francisco for a very, very large employer. I can't stress how very important it is, especially in this market, to have experience. You said it yourself, after all. They want experience. Get a job at your computer lab. Get a job with a local PC repair company. Have SOMETHING under your belt that at least in some way reflects your knowledge 1) of your field and 2) knowledge of WORK.

So what is my answer to your inability to get a job? I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but get a job! Get experience! The average time for a college grad to find a job, when they have experience, is 4-6 months. It is an uphill battle, and I wish you luck.

Make sure you stand out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4706979)

True story...

Straight out of school I looked for jobs in the gaming industry. My first interview I was asked "What have you done that nobody else has ever done." I answered "Get my pocket picked by a hooker while she was blowing me behind a Pizza Hut dumpster." I was offered a job that afternoon.

Funny thing is, guys probably get their pockets picked by hookers all the time.

Re:Make sure you stand out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4708383)

Funny thing is, guys probably get their pockets picked by hookers all the time.

True, but how many would actually admit it?

I prefer to get blwon for free, by hot women, not near piles of garbage.

don't be too picky (3, Informative)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707095)

Don't be afraid to take a job that you feel is "beneath you" at graduation if nothing better comes along. Believe me, it looks a lot better on your resume to see that you worked for $8/hr in some minor IT job than to see that you spent a year and a half sitting on your ass because there were no decent jobs out there.

Being young and fresh has advantages (2)

rw2 (17419) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707222)

I can think of two advantages that you have over the rest of the world.

1) You are young, can work hard and risk a great deal without worrying about the wife and kids.

2) You know how to live on the cheap.

Those two things make this an ideal time to start a business. And I'm not even thinking an IT business necessarily. The reason you got trained up in IT is because businesses need IT skills. Heck, no business can run without them and they are *the* reason why US productivity has done so well compared to the rest of the world the last two years. You can use those skills to run your own business too. I work in IT now, but when I started out I opened a photo lab. These were the days before a one hour lab in every supermarket, and people still went to stores that specialized in processing film. I wrote all the systems for the lab and that gave us an edge over the competition. Now, that said, we failed anyway because of the switch from large scale processing to automated processing in the mini-labs, but I don't regret it for a moment.

So, use those creative skills you have been showing in code to invent your own career. Prepare for long hours and an adventure to match.

Aim low (1)

Bandito (134369) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707338)

I'm simply not old enough for any job that gets paid more than minimum wage and has actual job security. ... I'm looking for a job that will simply get me into the industry with a meager salary large enough to sustain life.

Aim low and you'll always reach your goals, eh?

Should I change my major? (2)

dotgod (567913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707355)

I'm a second year CS major and I see questions like this all the time and it makes me wonder if I should change my major. What do those of you who recently graduated with a CS degree reccommend?

Re:Should I change my major? (1)

bayankaran (446245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4707513)

Try to mix something biotechnology with your regular CS.

Biotechnology + Computer Science (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4710098)

>Try to mix something biotechnology with your regular CS.

Yea, come up with a biological agent that sends H1-B's back to India (alive or dead) and all of a sudden computer guys will start getting jobs again.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Re:Should I change my major? (2)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708419)

I'm a second year CS major and I see questions like this all the time and it makes me wonder if I should change my major. What do those of you who recently graduated with a CS degree reccommend?

If you're a CS major because you think it will make you good money, then change your major to something you like or go to a techincal school, because a university education is intentionally not designed to train you for a job.

Choose the major you think most interests you. If it's CS, then stay with CS.

Re:Should I change my major? (2)

dotgod (567913) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709600)

I actaully like being a CS student...it's just that I also want to be able to get a decent job once I graduate.

Re:Should I change my major? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 11 years ago | (#4711299)

Definitely.

Most people in the tech field don't have CS degrees anyway.

I realized my degree was a waste when the guy who was hiring me was a history major, learned ASP while on the job, and wouldn't hire me because I didn't have any professinal experience doing ASP.

Now I haven't worked for 2 yrs and it's even harder to find a job {whooops)....

Get out while you can.

My experiences (2, Interesting)

ben_degonzague (222715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708369)

Well today is my second day at my new job and I'll tell you my experiences. All throughout school I worked at a local networking company gaining experience and certification. I attended a community college then transfered to a state university. My grades are ok, nothing to write home about. I graduated this spring and my previous employeer didn't have a full time spot for me, tough luck. I spent the months of June through late October in searching for work. I used the local paper, monster, net temps (found some part time work for beer mone) there), various websites from NY State dept. of labor, friends, former co-workers, and local career fairs. I don't know what the poster is talking about government jobs. THe only ones I found at the FBI wanted experience or big certifications like the CCIE from cisco. Not only that but you have to pass physical requirements as well. I applied there as well and the local office had gone through my app, but I wasn't going to hold my breath for 6 month process. New York state itself is so big and slow that application process takes a long time too. My current job I landed after I visited their booth at a government technology fair in albany. I gave them my resume and talked for a little bit. I got a call a month later about a different position and they wanted an interview. What's funny is that I went for 3 months without an interview and then I got 3 interviews in one week!

So, I had 4 years of part time experience (technical and the more important non technical skills) with a college degree and it still took 5 months to land a job. This one is pretty sweet. I work with a few other laid back people and a laid back boss. Plus I have a nice 17" flat screen with a P4 :)

I hope that helps. I felt compelled to write something since I had gone through the exact same thing the poster will go through. It wasn't that bad having the whole summer to mysefl though. Good luck!

Ben

(oh, don't beat yourself up over a "dream job." They don't exist! A dream job is getting paid for vacation. There might be the most ideal job, but you can't be that selective right out of college.)

imho...

Don't wait for job offers; *make* them happen (3, Informative)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708652)

Personally, I graduate this coming Spring and have been job searching for the past semester with little if any success at finding a prospective future employer.

After you graduate, I'd suggest working at least 8 hours a day looking for a job. It's hard work, but so is a job. There are a lot of books and websites with job-hunting tips. The newspaper and job sites are the very beginning. You need to meet people and to let them know you need a job without sounding desparate.

Some ways to meet people: mentor, teach, volunteer, temp, go to local user groups. Remember, you just got a degree in a field that most people are afraid of and have little experience with. If you had an English degree, it would be hard to teach or help people, since everyone took English in school.

And don't focus on just tech companies. Let's say you are interested in science and computers. Maybe you know someone who knows someone who works for a biotech company. Tell them you want some practical experience writing a database program (in Access or something) and ask them if they could use such a program for free. Work there for a few weeks (don't work at home). Now all of a sudden you know a bunch of scientists who think you are a computer genius (because they have no idea that Access is easy). Maybe they'll hire you, or mention you to their colleagues who actually are looking to hire someone.

And finally, think of it this way: if half of the graduates this year can't find a job, it means that you only have to be better than 50% of the people in your school. You're better than 50% of the people there, right?

The placement office at my university hasn't been too helpful for many students in the CS department.

Don't expect them to do much work for you. Actually, don't expect anyone to do work for you. Do it yourself.

As far as the government is concerned, I'm simply not old enough for any job that gets paid more than minimum wage and has actual job security.

That's false. My first job was with the government, and while I wasn't making a killing, I made good enough money to have an [ugly] apartment and a [cheap] new car. And it wasn't with a defense-related department, so there were no security clearances I needed to have or anything.

Most of my job searching has been conducted through services like Dice and Monster.

I think those sites are a good starting point, but you should spend only a small fraction of your time on them. The rest of the time should out of the house, walking the beat as it were.

Resumes, resumes, resumes... (2)

dasunt (249686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4708787)

Its just a few sheets of paper. Costs a few cents to make a copy on a printer. Less then $10 to print 100 pages. So print off a ton of resumes, make a few custom cover sheets, and hand them out everywhere. Its only your time. You might not have a good chance of getting a job at Bobs Ubercoding Palace, but you have no chance if they don't have your resume.

Deliver your resume to the places you want to work first. Then deliver your resume to the places you don't mind working at. Then at everywhere else.

If you have do get an interview, and don't get a job, ask what skills you are lacking. Then try to fix that. Also, donate some time to a good opensource project. Its resume padding. Dunno if it helps, but it can't hurt.

(Btw, by 'everywhere else', I have handed out over 60 resumes so far, and will probably be to 100 resumes in my job hunt when I'm done.)

Re:Resumes, resumes, resumes... (2)

cwinters (879) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709847)

IME this is bad advice: carpet bombing resumes isn't the answer. If you don't customize your resume to the folks you're giving them to, you might as well spam them. On the few occassions I was asked to sort through resumes my first filter for resumes was, "Is there any evidence they're responding to our ad?" If not, adios. If you're even not going to take the time to look for a job thoroughly, why would I want to hire you and trust you with some part of my business?

However, contributing to an open source project is a great idea. When people ask about your code, just send them to the ViewCVS repository and some choice links to the mailing list archive. It helps to give them a 30,000 foot view of the codebase plus some pointers to code you think would be relevant to the job you'd be doing there.

Connections Connections Connections (1)

inepom01 (525367) | more than 11 years ago | (#4709785)

It's all about connections. I too am about to graduate college but have little paranoia. During college because of friends and relatives I have managed to get 2+ years of experience (of course it wasn't most enjoyable doing full time work+ school) and made new friends while at it. If you are any good, you should not really have trouble. If you don't have connections and can't find a job: wait. If you have skills you earned in school, there are probably friends who are aware of them and will recommend you for a job where they work, since it's very unlikely that NONE of your friends got jobs. And of course you should also pester relatives. If you didn't impress any friends with your skills: perhaps you don't have any and shouldn't be working anyway.

If all else fails there's always grad school. A Master's degree is useful and educational. Or you can tool around at home on some of you rown ideas/open source/certification projects.

Its not just the US (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4710750)

I finished my honours degree in CS at a major Australian university last week.

Out of the ~ 30 people doing honours (which is an extra year in .AU; 4 years instead of 3, with a thesis taking up half of the extra year), about 3-4 people have jobs for next year. Maybe 5. Some of these aren't looking (they're going on to do higher degrees), but a lot are.

The big companies are hiring - IBM isn't taking anyone for IT in their graduate program, PwC isn't either, Accenture took about 5-10 people Australia-wide who are graduating now to start work in November 2003 - a year after graduation.

The small companies aren't hiring either - several of them had first level interviews, and then didn't do anything else because they decided not to take graduates.

I (and others) have had several genuine offers from people who would be happy to hire me except for current hiring freezes.

Personally, I have a temporary 4-6 month job starting in a few weeks, and I'm hoping that the job market will have improved by then.

Its not getting people interested in hiring me - I have a good academic record, experience on couple of OSS projects (although that seems to count for less here than the US, I think), an internship with a very large software company (who also currently has a hiring freeze), and so on. The problem is getting people interested who have the ability to actually hire anyone.
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