LINK: CNN- Facebook Increasing Staff As Much as 50%
I was one of the lucky ones who graduated and found an internship within a month and a half. During the early part of 2009, after a horrific 4th fiscal quarter,the job market was definitely looking incredibly grim.
In fact, I’ll have to admit, that during my internship (which eventually promoted me to full time salaried position) , I was still shopping around. But the more I shopped around, the more grim it became. I was faced with recruiters at my college asking for and I quote “… seven years of OO Java programming.” I admit, it wasn’t a software company, but still, why were they were attempting to recruit programmers with seven years of experience. I had recruiters call me to set up interviews, and when I called or followed up with a confirmation email, I was either ignored or told that the position had been closed due to budgetary issues. The fact of the matter was this the job market was filled with software programming refugees from Yahoo,MySpace,Microsoft, Sony, etc and the hundreds of UCLA, USC, UCI, Cal-state everything,etc computer science graduates. A definitely horrific environment for anyone looking for software programming work.
This environment works doubly against the aforementioned college graduates. With a lack of experience, how could they possibly stand out in a sea of experienced software engineers from respectable companies.
Well, let me tell anyone reading this, don’t give up hope. Here’s a few tips:
1) Fix your resume! Spend a ton of time making sure your resume talks about your UNIQUE experience. EVERYONE, and I mean, EVERYONE, has taken that Algorithm analysis course, Operating Systems course, that Database Analysis course. Don’t list that stuff unless it’s completely valid and you say at least a few sentences of why it is important. Don’t be afraid to be specific. Employers want to know what you’ve done specifically, they also want to know how well you’re able to communicate. Writing a detailed (and concise) explanation of your experience in your computer science course helps a ton. These people have never met you before, so you have to give them a good idea of your abilities.
2) Do extracurricular activities that relate to your field. I mean, if you have an idea for a hot new iphone app, try making it! Even if it’s not successful, at least you’ve gained valuable experience doing something related to the field. Not only does this get you excited about your work, it shows the employer that you are self-motivated. Self-motivated people are definitely people that you (or anyone) want to work with, right? So get out there, do something relevant and fun, and the next peer that interviews you will find you a hundred times more interesting. This can all be done while you’re looking for your hot job, so get out there and have fun.
3) This seems like a self explanatory one, but it’s often overlooked or underused. Use your network of peers. Remember that Compilers teammate you worked with? Maybe he/she found a great internship! If you’re on good terms with that person, go ahead and ask, what’s the worst thing that can happen? How about that awesome professor you had for data structures? Hopefully throughout college you’ve met and worked with tons of people, don’t be afraid to ask each and every one of them. I would say that this is one of the effective ways to find work. Don’t overlook it!
4) Apply to companies that aren’t necessarily your field. Tons of places need tons of different people with different skill sets. You never know who needs a computer science major until you try. You don’t have to work at a major software engineering firm like Microsoft, a company like Southern California Edison needs JAVA and C programmers too.
5) Well, you got that interview. That’s only half the battle! Now you have to sell yourself. Sure, maybe you don’t have the experience, but your employers know that. Be confident in your ability to use your degree to do the job. Employers know you don’t know anything about “software engineering.” They were, after all, in your shoes once upon a time, but they do want to see that you’re confident, smart and ready to learn. There’s tons of interview stuff on the internet, so google it for yourself. All I’m saying is be ready to sell yourself.
Alright, so armed with this, I hope your search becomes slightly easier. Maybe you still won’t land at Facebook (trust me, a million people (if you’re lucky) applied for a thousand jobs), but I would say at this point in your life, gaining valuable experience at an internship or at a fast paced company is more important. Overall, I would say if the company that hires you is challenging and satisfying, then that’s a great job.