3
   

I'd like advice on finding a job in Computer Science

 
 
MrIVI
 
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 04:43 pm
I'm having trouble finding a job.

I'm a recenter college graduate. I have a liberal arts Bachelor's degree from Wells College (A small private school.) I graduated summe cum laude with a GPA of 4.0 (to that many significant digits.)

Here's the rub. I have a degree in computer science, but no real work experience in the field. I also have directed 3 feature-length films. All 3 of which are going to festivals over the next several months, but as of yet I have no repute for any of them because this will be the first viewings. Other than that my only other work experience is as a para-professional tutor at a local college. (I started as a tutor and was certified and them promoted to an actual faculty member.)

Anyway, I've been using Monster.com. I submitted about 150 resumes via Monster and never heard back once from any of the 150 resumes.

I tried using Craigslist, I submitted about 50 resumes and was considered for a job but ultimately didn't get it.

I believe the problem I have comes from the fact that I am perceived as being uncommitted to the field of computer science due to my film resume. Problem is before I get my films through festivals, I have a snow ball's chance in hell at getting hired in film and I need a job now. Lastly, due to school cut backs I've also lost my job with the college and seem to be having no luck getting re-hired.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any advice.
 
jespah
 
  4  
Reply Sun 7 Nov, 2010 05:11 pm
@MrIVI,
You're submitting too many resumes.

I am totally being serious.

This is not a game of "let's see how many resumes we can pump out". Rather, it's a game of "let's see how close we can come as a match to what employers want". All you really need is one match, yes?

One other thing I can also see is that your focus is split (which you are also aware of). The film stuff is lovely but, if I'm hiring for computers stuff, I don't want to see it beyond -- if even that -- a short bit about your hobbies/earlier work experience. I'd much rather see that you are focusing on what I want you for -- computer work. And I also don't want to get the impression that I'm about to spend thousands to hire and train you, all to have you turn around in a few months and ditch me if you get to go to Cannes.

Take a class. I realize you have excellent academics but ... take a class anyway. Focus in an area (databases? websites? coding?) and take a class or two in it. Make sure the class(es) is/are prominently displayed on your resume. Also, see about volunteer work, perhaps at a senior center or school in order to help people learn how to use computers. It's not 1000% on point but it's not bad, plus it's perfectly good (and current!) resume fodder. Charity/volunteer work is also beloved by a lot of potential employers. I am well aware that you get no $$ for this. But you aren't getting paid for not volunteering, either.

Can you post a part of your resume here? No address or name of course -- just a paragraph or two. Let's see what you've got. You might need to reword some of that as well.

Good luck. I know the job market is very, very tough these days. No sense in not doing everything to give yourself as much of an advantage as possible.
spidergal
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2010 02:25 am
@MrIVI,
You sound very talented, MrIVI. Jes' advice makes sense to me. And I like the idea of posting your resume here.

Obviously, if you're applying for a job in the field of computer science, you don't want to mention your film-related activities. You can maybe a add a line about them under co-curriculars - if at all you have that section in your resume - to show you're a multi-dimensional person, but nothing more than that.

I'm a "recession kid" myself, and the job market is tough, agreed. You've got to come off as very focused and specialized in your resume.
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2010 11:34 am
@MrIVI,
You don't say what region you're in. What Jes says is absolutely true with one caveat -- there are software jobs in the arts industry in certain regions. Here in Atlanta (where I am) a lot of the smaller shops that focus on media and advertising would probably like seeing your film hobby on your resume.

Ultimately you need to figure out what it is exactly you want in a job. If all you want is a paycheck to see you through to your next film then look for entry level help desk, support, and systems administration gigs that require less investment on your behalf from an employer. If you actually want to start a career in computer science and keep your film making as a hobby, then look for entry level programming jobs in media and advertising. That's what I would do, anyway.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2010 11:49 am
@MrIVI,
Let me ask the obvious question. Are you committed to the computer science field? Employers look for passion and dedication in this field where individuals need to to extra work to stay on top of quick moving technology.

My first suggestion is find a computer project that will challenge and interest you. You could work for an open source project, or set up your own web project. This will do two things, First it will show your passion and commitment. Second, you will develop a set of marketable skills.

Many years ago I was unemployed after a career detour (I left a programming job to try something else). I was out of the field for 5 years and was trying to come back during the recession of the 1990s. What saved me is that I had a side project I did on my own that I was able to show to employers. Better was that this side project combined the two careers I had experience in. This led to contract work which led to a decent job.

I currently have a Web Application I am working on. I chose it because it is something that interests me, but it also gives me real experience in a couple of technologies that I need on my resume. Employers love to see this (and I also love doing it).

Lastly, you can use your films to your advantage. It shows creativity, and their are lots of jobs and employers who demand that. Add the enthusiasm for creating software as a career and the film work becomes an advantage.

You might also, instead of the mass Monster mailing, see if you can search out and target the companies that would combine computer science with the work you do in films.



MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 03:52 pm
@jespah,
Thanks for the advice. I just re-wrote my resume. Please check this one out see if it seems to work better for you:

http://www.jackskyyler.com/resume.pdf

Again, I really appreciate the advice.
MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 03:55 pm
@spidergal,
Thanks for the compliment.
I posted the resume mainly just noting film experience in my college courses (since it was a liberal arts college anyway.) Check it out and see what you think?

http://www.jackskyyler.com/resume.pdf
0 Replies
 
MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 04:20 pm
@maxdancona,
Believe it or not I am really techy. I have 5 different computers all running different operating systems (or course all networked). I have my personal/business website from which I maintain a wiki-online video game. Which really isn't that great and doesn't really get anything but used occasionally, but it was something I wanted to build, and I built it.

And I am going to take your advice. Now, I'm going to write another draft of my resume incorporating my film and computer science experience so I'll have two resumes. One for positions that might appreciate the variety of talents and one computer science exclusively. Then instead of Monster (which got me doing the one resume because it was all it seemed to allow.) I'll try hunting down jobs elsewhere and applying with resumes more tailored for the jobs.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 12:26 am
@MrIVI,
Quote:
am really techy. I have 5 different computers all running different operating systems (or course all networked). I have my personal/business website from which I maintain a wiki-online video game. Which really isn't that great and doesn't really get anything but used occasionally, but it was something I wanted to build, and I built it.


This is great MrIVI!

Imagine for a moment that you are an employer. If you am hiring, you want people who will be creative, and passionate about the work (i.e. your company). If you are hiring people out of college you want people who will learn fast and can take a project and run with it. The biggest traits you are looking for are smarts, creativity and interest (I know from experience that interest in technology is a key point employers look for).

An employer's concerns are that you won't be passionate about the work, or won't be committed to the company. This is why if an employer thinks the resume they received is just one hundreds you sent based on a keyword search, they are going to pass really quickly.

If you go to a company and say, hey! I sought out your company and specifically want to work there because I am interested in games and film (or something else that is relevant and sincerely interests you), then you will get a company's interest. They want to know that you specifically want to work for them.

By the way. In a successful job search, cover letters are key (again I know this from personal experience). You should send a personalized letter explaining specifically why their company is the one you really want to work for. This means doing research on companies which takes time. But put yourself in an employers shoes. Isn't this what you want to see from people you will be making a big investment in?

MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 03:40 am
@maxdancona,
Hey thanks for the pointer. I wasn't doing much with cover letter mostly because of my work in casting. As a casting director, I hate cover letters. They usually tell me the applicant is desperate and unrealistic. Simply due to the fact that I'm going to get about one thousand applications for each major role so by the numbers any particular candidate has only a 0.1% of success. Therefore a cover letter seems like a terrible waste of time. (I'm not certain if that's the way it is with all casting directors, maybe it's just me.) Anyway, I'll focus more on my cover letters.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 06:57 am
@MrIVI,
G'morning Jack! Thanks for posting this.

I like your enthusiasm and I think I really like the statement at the beginning. A few things.

1) Too much I, I, I. You can say things differently without using the first-person pronoun anywhere near as much. E. g. here's how I'd change your work experience:

original resume wrote:
Para-Professional Tutor (August 2005—August 2010 )

Employer: Baker Center for Learning: Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3)

I was hired as a student tutor at the Baker Center for Learning of Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3), August 2005, I received my New York state tutor Spring 2007. After graduating, I was asked to return with my pay doubled as a para-professional tutor.

As a tutor, I have tutored predominantly computer science such as: c++, vb.net, java, mySQL, php, etc... I also tutor physics and mathematics all the way up to quantum mechanics and differential equations. Along with these subjects I've tutored in chemistry, statics, dynamics, art, English, English for speakers of foreign languages, sociology, etc...

As a para-professional tutor, my role was expanded to over seeing student tutors.

I also developed an app which allowed the college to randomly generate complex math test and answer keys for the students. This program was written largely in VB.net and was capable of creating complex mathematical problems involving factoring polynomials, and solving multivariable equations.


my thoughts wrote:
Para-Professional Tutor (2005 — 2010 )
Baker Center for Learning: Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3)

Received New York state para-professional tutor certification in 2007. After graduating, returned to doubled pay as a para-professional tutor, where the role was expanded to overseeing student tutors.

Classes tutored include:
  • Computer Science, e. g.: C++, vb.net (Visual Basic), Java, mySQL and PHP
  • Physics and Mathematics up to quantum mechanics and differential equations
  • Chemistry, Statics, Dynamics, Art, English, English for speakers of foreign languages, Sociology


Developed an app which allowed the college to randomly generate complex math test and answer keys for the students. This program was written largely in VB.net and was capable of creating complex mathematical problems involving factoring polynomials, and solving multivariable equations.


2) Don't put your recommendations on your resume. Ever. And don't say info available on request. Ever. Everyone knows that.

3) I'd rearrange your class list and drop anything irrelevant. If this is for a computers job, I'd arrange it as follows (sorry I really couldn't get the formatting right):

original resume wrote:
College Courses
C++ Visual Basic Video Editing Graphic Design
Java Script Object Orientation Sound Mixing Database Management
Assembly Language Digital Circuits Management Discrete Math
HTML/CSS Calculus Directing Modern Physics
Java Quantum Mechanics Producing Linux Administration
Web Design Statics/Dynamics Lighting Adobe Creative Suite
PHP/MySQL Sketching/Painting Sound Recording Databases
Electricals Writing Circuit Analysis Illustration


my thoughts wrote:
College Courses included:
Computer Science:
  • C++
  • Visual Basic
  • Java Script
  • Object Orientation
  • Database Management
  • Assembly Language
  • Digital Circuits Management
  • Java
  • HTML/CSS
  • Web Design
  • Linux Administration
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • PHP/MySQL Databases


Science, Mathematics and Engineering:
  • Discrete Math
  • Calculus
  • Modern Physics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statics/Dynamics
  • Electricals
  • Circuit Analysis


Notice how I deep-sixed all of your artistic classes? Now, when you write a targeted resume -- and I see your idea is to write two different ones, which is fantastic (I, personally, have some dozen different resumes) -- just add targeted classes. E. g. if you're going for a databases/data analyst job, just add the following classes, probably in order from hardest and most on-point to easiest and least on-point:

Computer Science:
  • Java Script
  • Object Orientation
  • Database Management
  • Java
  • Linux Administration
  • PHP/MySQL Databases


Note: once you start having more experience, you won't have the room to add every single class you took -- nor should you.

Actually, here, take a look at mine (and keep in mind that this is on LinkedIn so it's formatted for that -- and, no, I don't mind my info being out there and of course I am happy to link to anyone). I've been in a bunch of different industries and I'm again in a new one, but the resume reflects a kind of a story, where I wend my way from practicing law to learning databases to working as a Community Manager (here!) and then combining this rather diverse background into becoming an online marketer for a startup.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Nov, 2010 09:03 am
I was just thinking, it sounds like you haven't read the "What Color is your Parachute" book. I highly recommend it. It is very famous and you will find it in pretty much any bookstore.

It addresses many of the issues that you are facing.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TPdowvanL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg
0 Replies
 
MrIVI
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2010 09:27 pm
@jespah,
Hey Guys thanks for all the help! With my new/improved resume(s) I have two job interviews lined up for next week! Any general advice you guys would give? In both cases it's an interview over lunch, "business casual." Never had a job interview before, every job I ever got was thrust upon me by a desperate organization that was determined to have me. So I never needed to interview before.
gungasnake
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2010 09:31 pm
@MrIVI,
Dice.com is your best shot for that sort of thing. That and learn to speak Hindi...

The good news is that there actually are jobs out there this year, even if they are coming in dribs and drags. In 09 you were just wasting your time looking for any sort of technical or mid-level management jobs, you'd have been better off just hanging out at the beach or whatever.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2010 10:19 pm
@MrIVI,
On an interview, remember the point. Your goal is to explain how you will help the company if they hire you. How much you need the job is irrelevant. You are a resource (not a job beggar).

The key is to focus on your selling points? They want to hear about how you will meet their needs and solve whatever problem is making them look for someone like you.

The first thing you should do is go over everything you know about the company and the person you will be meeting with. Read over every email you got from them. Reread the job posting. Read their web site. Read their LinkedIn page.

As you are going over these things, ask these questions. What do they need? What do they want? What can you do for them? Be prepared with answers to these questions before the interview.

Then make a list of the points you want to make during the interview. These points will be a combination of the things you found in your research, and the things that you feel are your particular strenths. Then in the interview, as you have the opportunity, you can address each one. I actually bring a summarized bullet list into the interview with me to make sure I don't forget anything (I don't read off the list, I just have it to check during breaks etc.)

After you have your selling points ready, prepare some stories. To get my current job, I deduced that teamwork was very important to the hiring manager, and the company culture. Fortunately teamwork is a strength of mine. Of course, just saying this is meaningless. Rather, I had specific stories of when I worked closely on the team. I was prepared to give details. I was prepared to explain results. And, since I had done my homework, I could talk with passion about real stories.

Your stories can be about coursework. The can be about work on film (for example to talk about creativity).

Stories are a great way to present the best parts of yourself in a real way.

Understand their needs. Present yourself as a resource. Provide evidence in the form of real stories. That's the best advice I can give.



0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Nov, 2010 11:37 am
@MrIVI,
Have you reached out to any recruiting firms? Depending where you located, most of these firms will match you with a company looking for your skills. They get paid commission by the company that places you so it doesn't cost you a cent. Some can even help you with your resume and will coach you on the interview process. Most of my jobs I've actually gotten through these companies. My husband is a recruiter for a recruiting firm as well.

The only thing I would caution you on - to make sure you get as much information from the recruiting company as possible about potential jobs - sometimes depending on how professional the company is - they just send you out on any open job. You just don't want to waste your time going on interviews for a job you are not interested in.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Nov, 2010 11:41 am
@MrIVI,
I didn't read your resume - but what I would suggest is to gear your resume towards the job. For example, if the job has nothing to do with film making - take out the film making info and focus on the computer skills.
0 Replies
 
 

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