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Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Land Entry-Level Job?

chemicaldave (1776600) writes | more than 4 years ago

Programming 2

chemicaldave (1776600) writes "I'm graduating this May and have been seeking a programming position for months. It seems that the biggest hurdle to landing an interview is getting past the doorman that is HR. After reading this entry from Coding Horror describing the lack of programming candidates who can actually program, I can't help but scratch my head. I can program! (See how I put that link in?) If I can't land an interview, then even a short online evaluation of my coding skills would suffice. I just want a chance to prove myself. Alas, sending resumes to companies has rarely led to anything but an auto-confirmation email of my submission. I understand that sending resumes online is not the best method to landing an interview, but I come from a small rural school so job fairs rarely offer anything more than IT support positions let alone a programming position. It seems to me that developers are always looking for talented young programmers. We're out here looking for you too. Am I missing something?"

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It all comes down to... YOU! (1)

IMustBeNuts (1775480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637912)

Simply sending in a C.V. isn't enough. You need to find a way to connect with the people you are trying to contact.

Write a brief covering letter. In it, don't simply repeat your resume, but tailor the letter to the company you are writing to. Without sounding cocky, explain why you feel you would be perfect for the role. If the cover letter sucks, then they won't even bother looking at the C.V. If possible, make sure you include your covering letter even when you apply via the web, or find out how to send your application directly.

Do a little research first, rather than simply sending the resume off cold. Find out a bit about the company, the role, the people. Social engineering isn't only the domain of the hacker.

Make your C.V. stand out. 2-3 pages tops, and cover your whole employment history. Recent stuff warrants paragraphs, while ancient stuff merely a title and date. If you haven't had any experience in your target field, then ANY work experience can be used to pad the C.V., but pad it intelligently by describing the role briefly, and detailing what you achieved and learned, and how you feel it has helped in your personal and professional development.

Check your grammar and spelling, very carefully. Get someone else to proof read everything, and then go over it again. Word everything so that it is polite, and direct. Make no apologies or excuses, and be prepared to follow the theme through if you get to the interview.

Don't be disheartened if you don't succeed straight away. Keep trying and you will get there in the end. If you get disheartened, that can show in the way you write, and especially in the way you present at interview. Quiet confidence, and a positive approach are the key. If you can't handle the disappointments of missed employment opportunities, you'll give the impression that you'd find it difficult to handle the pressures of a real job.

Good people skills are the key, and will always get you further than merit alone.

Good luck! :-)

Apply leverage (1)

chiahong (154364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653984)

It's not the know-how, it's the know-who.

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