|Volume 1: No. 24|
The following views were posted to misc.jobs.misc on 8/16. They are from replies to John W. Byrd (email@example.com), a recent Harvard CS graduate.
Donald Stadler (firstname.lastname@example.org) says that Tom Jackson's Guerilla Tactics in the New Job Market appears to be a useful job-hunting book. Jackson recommends approaching companies that sell systems you know (from the Yellow Pages and professional magazines), companies that are reported to be doing well (in the business pages), and companies posting job notices on local college bulletin boards. Employers don't want to deal with thousands of resumes, so good entry-level jobs are unlikely to be advertised during a recession. Donald also recommends asking your university alumni for entry-level work.
L. Stowell (email@example.com) warns that new- graduate hires are considered "minus 1" FTE for six months to a year before reaching even "0x00" status. It takes time -- expensive time -- to train entry-level employees, and any work they do is balanced by risks. Also: if you haven't worked for a pittance yet, employers can't expect a fair wage to be motivating -- so do emphasize co-op work on your resume.
Rob Raisch (firstname.lastname@example.org) points out that university programming experience is aimed only at making code work. Hiring managers are more worried about reliability, maintainability, and adherence to schedules and coding standards. They may expect only 20 lines of code per day, but those 20 have to fit into project structures. During interviews, you will also be evaluated on how well you could represent the image of the firm. During hard times, many companies would rather hire contractors than employees. It's not a bad way to start if you find a decent contract house.
Joanna Bryson (email@example.com) notes that you have an advantage if you're mobile. Job markets may be depressed by out-of-work people with families to support, but those people often can't move. Small companies can be a good place to start (esp. if your GPA isn't great), but they usually can't pay relocation costs. It's better to take low entry pay than to have a long period of unemployment. It's also easier to job hunt while you're employed.
firstname.lastname@example.org notes that schools have differing reputations. A last-minute transfer might be wise, or maybe you could just drop in at other placement offices.
Andy Nicholson (email@example.com) warns that big companies may be recruiting on campus [or at job fairs!] only to hold their spot for future years. He recommends reading What Color is Your Parachute?, defining the job you want, and then networking.
firstname.lastname@example.org says that getting a job is a full- time job. Write an excellent resume and superb cover letters, and use feedback until you're sure you have them. [That's tough, when you get conflicting advice.] Contact everyone known by everyone you know, including their parents. Keep your ego in check, and don't tout the prestige of your university -- unless it's MIT or Caltech. He [and several others] recommends looking for computer jobs in the Chicago area, or perhaps on Wall Street.