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Old 03-04-2013, 06:50 AM   #1
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Default Get your foot in the door

Hey guys I am new here, and I know this is the 'social lounge' so it's off topic, but I have been wondering some things.

I went to college for a year for Computer Information Services and then another year for Computer Programming where I learned the programming languages as well as web design. I also took a lot of web design in highschool and IT in high school and did it on the side.

I live in a small town where there is like no companies that hire computer guys. So i have been applying to places out of my town, in different states yah know? I have applied to over 300 jobs and yet can't seem to get a single interview. I got 2 interviews like a month ago and have applied to over 150 jobs since then and nothing. I am getting so discouraged. I know a 2 year degree isn't that much now a days and plan to go back, just having some waiting games on going back. I was planning on getting a job and going back while working but I can't even get a job!
So how do you get your foot in the door?

I also want to start doing some web design on the side and create a website. Start doing freelance work. I have tried this but it still seems like you can't get your foot in the door as well. I am only 20 years old so I virtually have no experience I can flaunt and that is what seems to be hurting me in both of the areas. I try to do freelance work and there is always someone who has more experience and the people go with them. I apply for entry-level jobs and yet, still nothing!

So what does a guy have to do to go somewheres?!

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Old 03-04-2013, 07:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Get your foot in the door

Have a look at your resume and make sure it's professinal looking and that it isn't causing you to get ignored. Google resume templates and try to follow them.

What types of businesses are you looking at? Are there any computer shops in your area? That's where I got started, a small "mom & pop" computer shop.

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Get your foot in the door

I actually got my resume template from Word, and I tried creating one online and they all look exactly like myn.

My uncle is the boss at a computer place in Syraucse and he sent me his resume and I basically copied the format. I think it looks professional. I dont have any experience so there isn't much I can put on there. I might just try to find someone who can make it professional and pay them to make me a better one.

There is no computer shops in the area. I live in a really small town and the closest place to work is an hour away and there isn't anything there at all. That is why I have been trying to go hours away. I tried getting in with my uncle but he couldn't do anything because I am his nephew. I have only been out of college for about 3 months now so I mean it hasn't been long its just its getting discouraging!

That is why I have been trying to make a business on the side making websites and doing someother IT work.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Get your foot in the door

If your uncle is a boss at a computer place, send him your resume and ask him if he would grant you an interview based on your resume. If he says no, ask him for the reasons why.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Get your foot in the door

that's a really good idea,

Your uncle must have had to hire people before, so he may be able to give you advice on what is letting your CV down etc based on ones he's seen before.

sounds like you don't have a lot of experience either, perhaps that's what's letting you down, have you considered trying some kind of volunteer work that would help pad out your experiences for your CV?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Get your foot in the door

A few things to consider - Even though the software side of the job market is doing well, jobs are still hard to come by in this economy. If you're applying out of state companies will likely try and save a few bucks by going for "close second" choices that are in state so they do not need to pay for your moving costs.

And you are right, 20 years old, a 2-year degree and no experience, it's going to be very difficult to show that you can hang in there with the 4-year college guys or people with a few years experience. If you're not attaching samples of your best work to show that despite your lack of formal experience that you can do good quality work you are selling yourself short.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Get your foot in the door

And you are right, 20 years old, a 2-year degree and no experience, it's going to be very difficult to show that you can hang in there with the 4-year college guys or people with a few years experience.
This. Companies often have hundreds of CVs for each job, and will all use similar, relatively tough "first-screening" measures to get these CVs down to a more manageable level. I'd suggest that you're probably, most of the time, falling down in this initial first step, regardless of your actual skillset.

So, with that in mind:
  • If you've done things, then put a section on your resume! Show off websites you've designed or created, even if that's for free. Show off other programming work that you've done.
  • As above, see if you can get an unpaid placement. The time and skills you learn here could be worth many, many times more than the time you spend not earning money here.
  • Join an open source project. This is always a good thing to have on a CV, as it shows a level of public committment to a project and the employer can physically view the code you've written if he chooses.
  • Go back to uni and do a longer course, or a placement year. By putting yourself behind the average in this sense then you've immediately put yourself at a disadvantage you could do without.

Think of it like this - if you were reading your CV, would you give you a job? Be critical, compare to other's CV's in the field, see what you can do to improve it. No-one's just going to give you a job because you went to uni for a couple of years and say you're good at what you do, you have to prove it. And if you can't prove it, then why would anyone give you a second look?

Also note that while there's a fair few companies out there looking for programming / web dev positions, you'll find that a lot of companies would sooner hire no-one than hire someone crap. The team I'm part of advertised and interviewed for two full time jobs earlier this year, and hired no-one. "Expert Java" was a requirement, and none of those shortlisted could answer a few very basic Java questions in an interview. From talking to other friends in similar positions in other companies, almost all have been looking to hire at some point and chosen to not hire anyone because they couldn't find anyone good.

On the other end, I've known people complete a 4 year course and struggle to find any work in the field, I've known others complete the same course and find good work the next week. As much as the software industry seems to be in good shape at the moment, it also seems rather picky in most places - if you're good, you'll be snapped up like there's no tomorrow. If you have nothing to really show for yourself, then companies won't really be interested.

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