Graduating, need advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Marshall Alsup, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Hey guys,
    Well I'm graduating in December and I need to start trying to get a job. We have a career fair tomorrow that I'm going to attend, but beyond that I'm not sure what the best things I should be doing are. What do you guys think? should I use Monster.com? What else?
    I'm going to have a BS in computer science from Washington State University.
    Here's my resume Its a word doc. Can you guys take a look and tear it up for me. Seriously, hurt me [​IMG] I want to know where and why it sucks. Its not going to help for tomorrow obviously, but I'd like to tweak it for future job hunting.
    Thanks,
    Marshall
     
  2. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I actually think the resume is pretty good as it is. I'd use a bit more whitespace to enhance the readability though, in the Education and Work Experience sections. I also think the contact info should be a bit larger, and it should go under your name.
    Also, prospective employers like to see a personal section, nothing over the top, just list hobbies and sports (including any clubs you're a member of, or awards you might have won).
    I've screened resumes and interviewed people as part of my current job. I don't necessarily think that makes me any big expert though [​IMG]
    Good luck!
     
  3. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    I'm not expert, but I've been to two career counselors (one via RIF benefit, and one via the gobs of money I paid my college)
    Here's what my resume looks like:
    http://slackattack.homelinux.org/resume.doc
    The most recent person really stressed the ordering of how I put it on, and having a good summary (which I don't really have, yet...) I've been told many times (and very much agree) that a summary is MUCH better than an objective, because an objective can limit the job you're going for, even if you tailor it for each position you apply to (because they might have another position they think you would fit, but oh well, your objective says you're not interested!)
    The objective of trying to further your own growth, while noble, can be somewhat of a turn off. Companies want people that are passionate and go-getters, but they also want you to stick around as cheap labor and be content doing your more entry level position.
    I would vary your verbs more (responsible, continuously...) too. Not a huge deal, but resumes get ignored pretty easily these days...
    On the same token, expand your computer skills as much as possible to specifically cover everything your comfortable and capable of working on, because companies tend to be going for perfect matches. Maybe this won't be as big a deal at what I presume is a college career fair though, since a lot of companies are (hopefully!) looking to bring in talent and not necessarily experience.
    Any outside interests/awards etc. are good to list because they will help differentiate you (though not too weird, I was told of one guy who listed how he considered his cats his children. That's nice and all, but...!)
    This is all my opinion, and what I've been 'taught' by these other folks. YMMV. Good luck... [​IMG]
     
  4. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Here's .02 from a 39 year old executive in an insurance company:

    I think your Objective statement needs to say something about what you have to offer to the company that's considering hiring you. If I were reviewing your resume, it would turn me off because all it seems to say is, "Marshall wants this and Marshall wants that." The company's primary goal is to get good work out of you, not provide you with an education.

    I would also say that your name should be at the very top of the page. I would make your name font a little smaller and your contact information a little bigger.

    For graduating students looking for their first job, I think GPAs, both in major and overall, are relevant pieces of info.

    Under work experience, instead of "Student Computing Services", I would call it Washington State University Student Computing Services (or just WSU if that's too long) to emphasize that it's working at the University. I would also mention how many users Hostwiz serves since it's probably a pretty big number and you want to emphasize that you've worked with a large community of users.

    Under the Walmart job, I would give examples of the customer related problems and the issues addressed at associate updates. For the associates, were they operational issues (i.e. how to hide the P&S behind the WS), personnel issues (i.e. benefits or timecard procedures), or corporate strategic issues (unlikely, but I'm just giving examples).

    Under Computer Skills, "various flavors" seems too casual. I would say "various versions" to keep the tone of the resume more professional.
     
  5. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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    I just want to say one word to you... just one word.

    Plastics.
     
  6. Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy Brown Agent

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    Marshall,

    As far as you resume goes, you may want to put computer skills before work experience to better relate that to your education, whether or not you learned it there is irrelevant.

    In your computer skills section you list, "Proficient with C, C++, PHP, ASP, NCURSES, SQL, HTML, (Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL)..." The Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL are unneccessary, since you mention SQL above. In that same section, you mention proficiency with Windows and Unix/Linux. Is that with programming or using/administration? You may want to specify. Specifying "(various flavors)" for windows is not needed, and "various office apps" is neither descriptive or beneficial. Unless you are an expert at any office applications (programming complex Excel spreadsheets, etc), there is no real benefit to listing them. You list yourself as having exposure to "Assembler". Which assembler? x86, Motorola, VAX, etc?

    With your education, you should list your GPA if it isn't too low. Since you haven't yet graduated, employers will want to know how you did in school, more than how you did in work. I know, it sucks, but it's true.

    You objective should be shorter (one sentence, maybe 2), and should indicate how you are beneficial to the company, more than what you want to get out of the company. Something along the lines of: "Obtain a full time position in the field of software development that utilizes my knowledge of networking." The statement, "has opportunities for advancement," puts the resume in the wrong light off the bat. Many people will take the wrong way.

    Under the section where you list your 'duties' at your jobs, you use "Responsible for..." too often. The sentences should be clean and simple, like:
    Maintained lab computers.
    Kept lab computer software up to date.
    The person reading this knows that those are your responsibilities, you don't need to tell them.



    Now that your resume is all spiffy, you need to know where to apply. Since you are going to be fresh out of college, things are going to be a little tougher. Good places to start though are to find companies you would like to work for (Intel, Microsoft, etc), go to their web page and submit your resume. If you don't mind staying in the area, submit your resume to the contract houses. They are usually pretty good at getting your foot in the door. In addition, check to see if your school has any sort of job posting service for recent graduates.

    -Jeremy
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  8. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Have you even started looking and interviewing/applying yet? It might be kinda difficult if you are graduating in 2 months and you haven't started even looking yet considering the horrible state of the job market.

    As far as finding a job, take advantage of people you know, friends, family, etc to get your foot in the door, its all about who you know. Send out TONS of resumes. Unless you are married and have kids or can't leave the area you are in don't limit your search to just your side of the country or state. Certain regions are still in a major job slump. Moving is a major pain, but since you are just getting out of college now is a perfect time to relocate.
     
  9. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Well, Thanks guys. Theres a lot of good info here. I think I'll be making some changes to my resume, especially to the objective. Seems like the most trouble is there.
    One thing, my GPA is 2.99. Its close to 3, but not quite, and I think it will be there after this semester. Do you guys still think I should put it on the resume with it being so low? I put WAY too much emphasis on my job and not enough on school the last couple years. I think thats why my GPA is a little low. How should I say that in an interview w/o looking like a slacker?
    I went to the career fair today and it sucked [​IMG] I'm not sure how to go about getting a job if I don't land one from this career fair. I'm definatly going to take advantage of our school's career services center, but beyond that what should I be doing. Do you think submitting a resume online to various companies (that weren't at the career fair) is a good idea? I've always assumed that that was how people already in the field got jobs. And students got jobs from career fairs and contacts in the real world.
    Thats another problem. I know nobody. I grew up in an area that had 0 tech companies. A lot of my friends here at school came from the west side of the state where there are TONS of tech companies, and they have friends, relatives, etc working in industry. I'm jealous [​IMG] I wish I was graduating two years ago!
    Anyway, thanks for the advice, and keep it coming!
    -Marshall
     
  10. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I'd say if your GPA is not at least 3 something then leave it off. Only put things on the resume that will help you. I doubt GPA will be the deciding factor to at least getting a phone interview unless its a gov't job. If they really want to know they'll ask. I only had a 2.7 and I left it off. No one ever asked. They were more interested in the classes I took and the major projects I did which I did put on my resume when I was looking just out of college. During interviews I would only offer information that was good and made me look good. I would NEVER offer information (like a low GPA), if they want to know then of course tell them, but at least have something positive to jump right into after you say it to get their mind off what you just said. Remember you are selling yourself so be a salesman.

    If your friends know people on the other side of the state then give them a ring, ask them if they can hook you up.
     
  11. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    A 2.99 ia a 3.0 when you chop of a significant digit, which is most likely what you ought to do.

    Some big companies have hard-set guidlines for what they want. GE, for instance requires (IIRC) a 3.2 GPA. But if you don't list your GPA at all, they won't talk to you anyway.

    I had like the 3.65 in my major and a 3.1 or so overall. So I just list my major GPA (as a 3.7.) No one has ever questioned me on not putting down my overall. They certainly could, but do they really care I did poorly in freshmen Astronomy? I can then tell them additionally about all the courses I did great in that aren't in my major, that they might be interested in (like English, although I'm a terribly slow writer that requires many drafts, it eventually turns out quite good!)

    Don't lie about anything, that will just backfire on you. But do make yourself seem as impressive and attractive as possible to the company, but maintain a high level of professionalism on the resume.

    For the record, I'm unemployed right now and the job market is awful here (and I really don't want to relocate, this is where I've wanted to live all my [brief] life!) And I'm in a really crappy position as I have a few years experience and a lot of knowledge, but also just graduated (work had been paying for school for a year while I went part-time.)

    During the interview, only say positive things. You slacked off in school and instead concentrated on work. Don't say that school just didn't interest you, because they still want you to learn new things. One way to spin it is to describe how much you learned through work and fell a little behind in school without realizing it and it came back to bite you. And that you learned your lesson (cause you can't hide that your grades slipped, but you don't want them to think your lazy! But they ought to accept that you're young and learning, and hey, you were still working your butt off at work, so you come out looking OK.)

    If you don't know an answer during an interview, just ask for more info so you can try to figure it out, or eventually just admit you don't know. I've been interviewed enough and interviewed enough people to see people struggle to try to make stuff up and it looks pretty bad!

    I've broken many of these rules in my past and it's hurt me.
     
  12. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I'm not so sure people coming out of college these days should be trying for the big companies anyways. They are turning people over like crazy and are being extremely picky in just who they talk to. I'm totally convinced small private companies are where to start when you just get out of school.
     
  13. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    At a resume seminar I atteneded, 2.99 should not be put on a resume. It's an even greater risk to round up. there are ways around this...what was your GPA in the last two semesters? What is your GPA in your major....you could graph your GPA throughout quarters/semesters.
     
  14. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Nice Resumes, Marshall and Bill... much better than mine looked [​IMG]
    Bill, you must live really close to where I work. I work in Waltham, on 5th Ave right off of Totten Pond Rd. (behind the Westin and the old Microsoft building)
     
  15. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    Steven: Yeah, that's a couple of miles from me. Where do you work...? IIRC, you used to work in Burlington at L&H?
    And if you're hiring... [​IMG]
     
  16. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Marshall,

    You may want to check with the various defense contracting companies like Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman,etc.. They always are hiring (at least here in the DC area).

    Also if you would ever consider moving to the DC area you could always get a job with the Patent and Trademark Office as an examiner. They are in need of CS, EE, and CompE people right now and are even coughing up a 12% sign on bonus to boot. With a BS degree and a 2.9 GPA you would start at approximately 50k. Plus they will even pay for a graduate degree or law school. A friend of mine has been there for over 4 years and they are paying for his law degree.

    Jeff
     
  17. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Bill, yeah I used to work in Burlington with L&H. We were bought by a company called ScanSoft based out of Peabody. I had the choice of working in Peabody or Waltham, chose Waltham as I could then avoid I-93 and Route 1 (but still have to fight a few miles of 128). I was actually taking the bus for several months (the 70A from Central Square Cambridge) but that started to really suck (almost 2 hour commute each way from Southie).

    Anyway, I wish I had better news to give ya, but I dont think we are hiring right now... but if something opens up I'll definitely let you know.
     
  18. eric holm

    eric holm Stunt Coordinator

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    tips for looking for work (some of which has already been said[​IMG]
    1. Look at small companies. Not only because they may be more apt to be hiring right now but they also allow you to gain valuable experience in several areas - an opportunity that you wouldn't get at a major corporation.
    2. Talk to your professors and dept heads. I found that there is great pride in being able to boast a high job placement percentage. I actually got my first job when a professor called me at home about 4 months after I graduated with a lead for me at a small company that had contacted him.
    3. Send out lots of resumes. Send them for jobs that may not sound that great. Send them for crappy jobs at companies that you would like to work for. It's always nice to get interviews and you can always decline job offers. Also, you may get called for interviews for jobs they think you could be a good match for (that you didn't know about.)
    good luck
     
  19. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Looking for job tips:
    - Submit your resume to everyone. With the current job climate you'll want to submit resumes to as many companies as possible.
    - Schools offer placement programs and career services. Take advantage of these.
    - Talk to your profs and see if they know of anyone hiring.
    - Go to career fairs (get dressed up, have a nice folder to hold resumes, ask questions, appear interested, etc.).
    - Take an interviewing class (school usually offers something). They will also go over your resume and give helpful tips and suggestions.

    Your resume is OK but you want to make sure that it can be scanned into a company's database (almost all resumes for technical positions are scanned along with a few comments by the recruiter). This means no lines, boxes, or images.

    Your biggest challenge will be getting around the HR person who arbitrarily sends your resume to a particular department (not always the best match). If you have any connection (phone number, business card, mailing address, a friend) to an actual hiring manager then use it!
     
  20. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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