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  #1  
Old 29th February 2012, 03:39 AM
zKarp Offline
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linuxfirefox
Question How to gain experiance employers would look at.

I'm currently a college student, second semester sophomore, and after reading the post in this section about why do jobs for free and my rant about facebook being used to employ people it got my mind on some other question.

How can someone in college or at a current job, gain experience in an area of their choosing that would separate them from others and possibly land them a job without taking an internship or another job?

And how can you list your contributions, projects etc on a resume that is already a page full? Is an attachment page with your projects and contributions acceptable?
*I know some application sites allow you to attach work examples or additional documents but most do not so what do you do in this case?

**Please don't mention win programming competitions or something related. I would love to but I don't have the time to get that advanced and compete. Rather get into advanced topics on a personal project where I can take my time while managing other priorites or company where it would impact something greater the myself. Although winning a programming competition has been a dream.

Skip the rest below if you don't want to read extended reasoning, examples and etc. My mind is on fire right now so I'm typing alot and elaborating.


My reason for this is because while searching for internships they all want some ridiculous experience that most require a previous job or internship in that area. How can one get that requirement if that requirement is basically the same as that job. (Small example for cashiers they look for people who have previously handled money before.. Where can you get money handling experience, other then a treasurer, if you can't even get an entry level of that requirement) Same example apply's to these internships.

The two examples I can think of are take classes and work on independent or contribute to open source projects. The problem with classes are, in my opinion, anyone can take a class in something and say they knew it. For personal uses this is fine but for career I can't see how taking some undergraduate college class in C++, C, Python and unix systems, like I've done, and some of the free courses they teach online from Stanford and MIT can land you an internship/job.

Back in the day I feel this might of been different because only people that took those classes were ambitious people in a field that was just starting/growing, but today its becoming flooded with people. The classes I was in had over 150 people and those online courses had over 75,000 people in each, if i remember that correctly. Most of those people in my class weren't even strongly interested in topic, it seemed they were there because they had to be, not because they wanted to. Also it seemed a lot of the people who are in the Computer Science major are people who were unsure what they wanted to do and chose CS because they liked games and thought it was cool.

So this is my reasoning my classes seem almost irrelevant other then personal gain. If the classes had final project where it was pretty open it would be a great opportunity to do something for the class while creating something to show as personal work but atleast where I'm taking them, they don't do this.

As for personal creations and contributing to open source projects, I feel this is a great way to gain some experience. However on resume it's hard to mention specific work this unless its a big project like contributing to the backend of the Fedora 17 project and also large contribution, or creating something like Angry Birds. You can mention created games for multiple mobile devices and created applications/tools for personal use however you can't explain unless you get an interview.

I personally have made a lot of quality personal creations for fun but wasn't thinking of employment at the time and deleted most of my work. At a recent job interview for system systems administrator at my college they asked do I have any experience with html and iphone programming. I said I did, in Highschool I created a website for my track team. I told him I was no expert but I started with some free website template and completely transformed it where you couldn't even tell I started from it. I mentioned I can't really start from scratch but I know enough modify and edit to get what I want. I emphasized I taught myself and reason I can't only do that much is because I have so much interest in different languages that I haven't had a reason to crack down on one yet. (Implying he can give me a reason). Sadly once I graduated so did the website. The code and everything deleted because I emailed my coach and he said he wouldn't know how to maintain it so I just scrapped it all, once again I wasn't thinking of employment at the time.

As for the iPhone did some work with that too. I recreated a game my brother had made with his friend in college for the Original iPhone before the app store where you had to hack it and install through website. I believe it was in java. It was avalanche clone which I started from a simple tennis game example where I converted the ball into the icicles, the players racquet into the character and the computer racquet into some of the AI to increase difficulty of the falling icicles where it would drop the ice at players location +- random number etc. Anyways like HTML I wasn't an expert but I could create the desired result with a starting base and like the HTML I scrapped the project somewhere between my like 100+ reformats of my macbook.

Then he asked what other previous experience do I have with system administration in a professional environment. I was stumped at this question because it was a student job looking for freshman and sophomores. I mentioned how I did some private servers of a couple games with random people I met on the internet, where the sever was monthly paid hosted remotely by some company and I, along with others, connected to it with RDC and maintained the upkeep/ restarted if it crashed etc. Also I helped with modifications of the server files to change the way the server ran and game played.

Ultimately I didn't get the job, of two or three openings, and it sort of made me upset. The HTMl and iPhone weren't requirements but were small pluses along with MySQL and Unix. All the requirements and pluses I fulfilled. I wasn't an expert at the pluses but I had some experience. I honestly couldn't imagine what other sophomore or freshman, in my school, would have more experience unless they created some popular iPhone game or had the examples on hand(But like I said these are freshman) but also topped my previous job experience relating to technology that was on-par with managing systems.

On Linked In, which I don't know how credible it is that employers actually look at it, seems more of connecting to co-workers and the employer AFTER you get the job, I listed a recent project I contributed in creating for a Hackathon event where we programmed for 12 hrs straight hosted by the ACM chapter of our school. I also plan on listing projects I personally created and have links to the repository or store it in my box.net account where the application is on my page that shows its contents, to share.

Another issues with listing projects I've worked on, other then not having a section or the sources to back it up, is space on the resume. My understanding is 1 page is really the only acceptable size. With my current information it is basically the full page with the margins shrunk to .75inches and font about 12, except for name at the top. I know some application sites allow attaching additional documents but most do not.

So to recap what experience can a job seeker, preferably a college student, get that would be acceptable to list as experience or use to stand out from others?

In case anyone is interested in internships that I've applied for that inspired me to ask there. Here they are. Yes most of these are top end internships, especially google, which is why I want to know where to get the experience they request from undergrads, or atleast boost my appeal.
  • IBM
  • Mozilla
  • Google
  • Local power company
  • Redhat
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Staples(Tech team)
  • Dicks Sporting Goods(Cashier example)

Once again sorry for my long post. I like to explain and give examples to show how serious I am about this rather just give a half ass question and receive half ass answers.

Last edited by zKarp; 29th February 2012 at 03:46 AM.
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  #2  
Old 29th February 2012, 03:44 AM
Dan Online
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linuxfedorafirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

Quote:
Once again sorry for my long post. I like to explain and give examples to show how serious I am about this rather just give a half ass question and receive half ass answers
The problem there is, with posts this size (and your last few as well) when someone clicks in, the first thing they see is a mnassive wall of text, and you'll lose 90% of them right there.

Remember that brevity is the sign of a literary marksman. <....>
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  #3  
Old 29th February 2012, 03:48 AM
zKarp Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

Can we implement a hide spoiler button?
And yes I'm aware of this. I liked to explain tho.
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  #4  
Old 29th February 2012, 11:17 AM
beaker_ Offline
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Location: Canada
Posts: 2,283
linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

Quote:
I'm currently a college student, second semester sophomore, and after reading the post in this section about why do jobs for free and my rant about facebook being used to employ people it got my mind on some other question.

How can someone in college or at a current job, gain experience in an area of their choosing that would separate them from others and possibly land them a job without taking an internship or another job?

And how can you list your contributions, projects etc on a resume that is already a page full? Is an attachment page with your projects and contributions acceptable?
*I know some application sites allow you to attach work examples or additional documents but most do not so what do you do in this case?

**Please don't mention win programming competitions or something related. I would love to but I don't have the time to get that advanced and compete. Rather get into advanced topics on a personal project where I can take my time while managing other priorites or company where it would impact something greater the myself. Although winning a programming competition has been a dream.
If you don't want an internship, then don't look for one.

I'm not about to write you a how-to. But.., application sites? if you can't take time to learn someone's name and then talk to them. Then why would you expect them?

Rambling on about "something greater" is the fastest way out the door: everyone knows uni/college will educate you stupid, don't show them you're crazy to.

Last edited by beaker_; 29th February 2012 at 11:22 AM.
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  #5  
Old 29th February 2012, 11:53 AM
bob Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

So you're worried about work as a sophomore? Plenty of things will change before you really have to panic, so here's some General Suggestions, not specifics.

#1 - Get the heck out of Syracuse! In case you haven't noticed, Upstate NY is not improving!
#2 - Cultivate acquaintances. You're in competition with a ton of other no-names. Get to know friends who have relatives in decent positions in companies you might want to work for.
#3 - Go on lots of interviews, especially for jobs you don't want. Hone your skills so that the next time you DO want to be hired, you'll be better prepared and more presentable.
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  #6  
Old 1st March 2012, 05:10 AM
zKarp Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob View Post
So you're worried about work as a sophomore? Plenty of things will change before you really have to panic, so here's some General Suggestions, not specifics.

#1 - Get the heck out of Syracuse! In case you haven't noticed, Upstate NY is not improving!
#2 - Cultivate acquaintances. You're in competition with a ton of other no-names. Get to know friends who have relatives in decent positions in companies you might want to work for.
#3 - Go on lots of interviews, especially for jobs you don't want. Hone your skills so that the next time you DO want to be hired, you'll be better prepared and more presentable.
I already did your number #1, I'm at University of Kentucky doing my studies.
#2 - I'll try that but no friends I have are techy and no-one have parents that are in a field even close to engineering let alot computer engineering.
#3 - That is something I've been trying to do now. Might sound bad but If i lose an opportunity not due to a bad interview it really is no big loss. Rather take those losses now then when it counts.

@beaker
Its not that I don't want an internships, it's that all over the ones I've come across require some outrageous experience for a college student unless you find yourself in an internship already.
I don't understand what you mean by application sites comment? Are you saying not to use them? Its abit hard when companies require you to apply through those of a derivative of it on their site.
About the college comment, a college degree is becoming the new highschool diploma. Unless you are top of your class in a top school, its not a cake walk the second you graduate. I'm trying to have something else to offer other then just a piece of paper.
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  #7  
Old 1st March 2012, 07:21 AM
DBelton Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

Bob's suggestion above (#2) is probably one of the best ways.

Because really, it's not what you know, but who you know that has the biggest impact, especially breaking into a new field.

Way back when I was in college, (yes, I still have some of the stone tablets I chipped out my homework on ) There was an organization called DPMA (and the student chapters called DPSA) . I thought it was a crap organization, but I joined it anyway and met a lot of people in the data processing field.

I got a call a few months ago from a guy that remembered me from way back, met through DPMA, they were looking for someone that had some mainframe assembler experience, and he remembered that I was pretty good at it, so he rang me up to see if I was insterested.

So, do whatever you can to meet people in the field you are going in to. And be very careful of some of the organizations out there whose "meetings" are just a reason for the members to get drunk. Stay away from those (or at least don't drink). One drunk moment at a meeting can haunt you for years.
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  #8  
Old 1st March 2012, 09:10 AM
sanhozay Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

I wouldn't normally pick on spelling, but in this case it seems appropriate.

Quote:
How to gain experiance employers would look at.
First impressions count and, petty as it may seem, a spelling mistake in the title or first paragraph of an application form, CV, proposal or email has a negative impact on many readers. I've seen employers, confronted with an excess of applications, dump people into the rejected pile because of spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
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  #9  
Old 1st March 2012, 12:09 PM
ishikKayabas Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

A few things:

1. Never take not getting a job/internship personally. You have no idea what was going through this person's mind that made them make the decision they did. I mean, it's possible they were completely distracted when you were interviewing, and failed to recognize that you were perfect for the job. Or maybe one of the other applicants was their wife's sister's child or something like that, whatever. Point is, beating yourself up over not getting the position doesn't help you at all, and will only prevent you from taking the next steps to applying to the next position.

2. Be proud of where you're at right now. I'm only a few years older than you, and upon getting flung into this whole process of job hunting, I felt like crap because I didn't think I had enough, or the right, experience compared to others, and was thus doomed to failure. Yet somehow, I managed to score myself an internship, and all it took was putting myself out there. From what you're saying, I'd say you're in a really good place for your sophomore year. You have more experience than I do, that's for sure!

3. Put yourself out there! I just mentioned this, but I'd say that along with Bob's suggestion about cultivating acquaintances, it's one of the most important, especially as they're associated with each other. 80% of your life is going to be showing up. I'm not saying technical skill isn't important, it absolutely is, but you can't use it or show it if you're not there in the first place. Become a part of groups or events where you will have the chance to learn new things or meet new people in the technology field. A great new tool for this is meetup.com. You can become a part of groups based on interests, and are alerted to events that members organize, or think other people find interesting. It's a great way to meet new people in the field, and to find out about and participate in ways to learn new skills, or strenngthen ones you already have. A quick search showed that there's the Lexington Microsoft Users Group/Technology Forum near your school, which would probably be your best bet. Beyond that, you can participate in events like programming competitions and hackathons, even if you don't think you'll win. The benefits you'll gain will be much much greater than a prize or a piece of software. Networking is the key to success, so always make putting yourself around other people in the field your top priority.

4. One last note about resumes. It's ok to have a resume be longer than one page. You definitely want the most important information to be on the first page, but having more information on the back of the sheet is definitely ok as well. Have any projects that you've worked on (in and out of school) listed on the front, as well as classes you took that seperate you from the bunch (nobody cares that you took Calc 1, but they might care if you took Advanced Data Encryption, or Genetic Algorithms). When describing projects, use concise, rich descriptions that emphasize the actions you performed and the project's purpose. To be honest, I wouldn't consider the programming languages you know to be vital, first page material. The fact of the matter is, you'll be competing with other people who probably all know some of or all of the same languages you do. Rather, stress what it is you have done with those languages, which shows practical skill, and is harder to B.S. Final note: Don't waste any space on the page with empty blocks of white space. Make a point to format everything so you effectively use all the space in an aesthetically pleasing way. Examples of formatting:

Bad Resume:
http://www.lifespy.com/wp-content/up.../04/resume.gif
Good Resume:
http://www.financialsamurai.com/2011...-good-resumes/

Hope my equally verbose response is helpful!

Last edited by ishikKayabas; 1st March 2012 at 02:11 PM.
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  #10  
Old 1st March 2012, 12:53 PM
beaker_ Offline
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linuxfirefox
Re: How to gain experiance employers would look at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zKarp View Post
@beaker
Its not that I don't want an internships, it's that all over the ones I've come across require some outrageous experience for a college student unless you find yourself in an internship already.
I don't understand what you mean by application sites comment? Are you saying not to use them? Its abit hard when companies require you to apply through those of a derivative of it on their site.
About the college comment, a college degree is becoming the new highschool diploma. Unless you are top of your class in a top school, its not a cake walk the second you graduate. I'm trying to have something else to offer other then just a piece of paper.
Of course they do: they don't want a college student. Instead they want someone with +20 yrs of experience to come in a work for free. Their basic message is: if meet these prerequisites and are dumb enough to work for free, then we're dumb enough to hire you because for us an intern is a free employee and not someone looking for experience or practical training... they're called apprentices and are paid elsewhere.

There are two messages:
First. Websites and email work on mass so you're just hoping your 8.5x11 sheet of stands out from someone else. Well there are a million others. Hope you win the lottery is my message. Or by a million tickets.

Second. If you can; walk in, shake hands, carry an intelligent conversation, and leave a decent impression then I'm far more likely to remember your name (if not for today, then for tomorrow). ie., if you can't take the time, and show some interest, then neither will I.

Intelligence has nothing to do with making money... let me reword that. You don't need to be smart to know how to make money.

Last edited by beaker_; 1st March 2012 at 01:00 PM.
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