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Transition into the Workplace

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Guest ArenaMan
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Guest ArenaMan

I'm a graduating college senior and I plan on doing software development as soon as I can find a decent job. Luckily the job market hasn't been hit as badly in Texas as other states, and I've been interviewing with a handful of consulting companies.

I'm graduating mid-way through May, and after that I have to find a place to stay (I'm living in the dorms). If I can get a job offer, I can probably convince my parents to loan me some money to sign an apartment lease and get a car, but if time runs out I think they expect me to dump my stuff in storage and fly home. I was planning on going to grad school but then decided to work. I've been hunting seriously for about a month, and didn't realize the process is so slow. The first application I submitted that has become a viable option was one I submitted more than a month ago, and I'm hoping to hear back with a yes or no by the end of this week, which may or may not happen. I've (very likely) got a final interview for another position in 2 weeks, just a few days before graduation, and a first interview about the same time somewhere else. There are still other companies I can apply to, but time's running out.

Does anyone have suggestions for options I should consider that would give me more time to find something? My parents live overseas and I suspect that they really want me to live with them for a year before reapplying to grad school, either working with my Dad or somewhere nearby, although I've told them that's really only something I'd consider as a last resort (I want to stay in the area and I wouldn't be able to do the work I can here). I don't know how feasible it would be to apply for jobs remotely, would companies generally consider having phone interviews only? Also, would it make sense to apply for a loan of some sort to live on for a month or two (for example I'm pre-approved for a $3k personal loan from my bank)? That seems a little risky just in case I can't find anything. The other option I haven't considered too seriously yet but might be my best bet is to find a lesser-quality job to support myself in the meantime. Are there any types of jobs in particular I should look for as a computer science/engineering graduate that would be easy (and quick) to get and might strengthen my resume for future software positions?

I'm trying my best to handle my situation as carefully as possible, but as a student I'm somewhat ignorant about the real world and, if you have any suggestions, they would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Edited by ArenaMan
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If it's possible, one of the better short-term pickup jobs you can get is waiting tables. You can make decent money on tips, and all you really have to do is go around to local restaurants, sit down, and fill out applications. Restaurants hire and start employees much more quickly than high-tech companies and most will have one or two positions constantly open because it's a high-turnover position. This can give you the time you need to wait on busy hiring managers at tech companies to go through applications. The only major downside is that waiting tables is EXHAUSTING and can leave you disinclined to go job-hunting.

Also, if your college/university has a career center, USE IT. You've paid out gobs of tuition to these people, the least they can do is help you find a job, and the career centers often know a lot of the local industry people so they can help you get your foot in the door.

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I prefer working in restaurant kitchens than waiting. Less money, but more perks :) You could also try freelancing for very small companies or entrepreneurs to increase your portfolio for interviews and to network (for getting your name around and to hear of other possible jobs).

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Guest ArenaMan

Thanks for both of your replies. I'm not so much worried about being able to find a job, as I have some good leads already, but I'm just going through the interviewing process and it's taking longer than expected. If none of these potential positions work out, there are more I can apply to, but I really need a steady source of income in the meantime. JMeganSnow, from your comment it sounds like waiting tables might be a good option if I really can get hired quickly. If there are any other types of jobs like this, feel free to throw them out there.

Also, I've been making use of the career center in order to polish my resume and develop a good strategy for finding something. It's helped in some ways more than others, but I do want to talk to them tomorrow about how to handle my immediate lack of an offer.

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Thanks for both of your replies. I'm not so much worried about being able to find a job, as I have some good leads already, but I'm just going through the interviewing process and it's taking longer than expected. If none of these potential positions work out, there are more I can apply to, but I really need a steady source of income in the meantime. JMeganSnow, from your comment it sounds like waiting tables might be a good option if I really can get hired quickly. If there are any other types of jobs like this, feel free to throw them out there.

Also, I've been making use of the career center in order to polish my resume and develop a good strategy for finding something. It's helped in some ways more than others, but I do want to talk to them tomorrow about how to handle my immediate lack of an offer.

A month to wait for an interview? Sounds about right, especially given this economy. What has been happening (since late summer and fall for a lot of major companies) is that hiring managers have been forced to redo their budget for 2009, and many companies that usually start hiring in February have put off doing so until they had a better idea where business would be heading towards the end of the first quarter or into the second quarter.

I agree it would be smart to find something short term if you can. If you haven't already, consider registering also with temp companies. Right now there are not a great deal of jobs, and even in TX competition is fiercer than it was 6 months ago.

Regarding waiting tables, I don't think that is a bad idea. However, please keep in mind that the service industries have been slammed, so depending on where you apply, you may not have a lot of luck. I am not discouraging you from the route. However, make sure you take some time to figure out which restaurants are actually still doing a good deal of business.

What part of TX are you in? If you are in the Dallas area, I highly recommend targeting restaurants in Addison, as well as the high end parts of Dallas (such as near Turtle Creek).

Did you do any internships while you were in school? If so, contact the people you met at the company and see if they would be interested in hiring you back for anything while you are searching for a better position. Also, register with here http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobs/job.html and get your resume out on Craigslist, and other sites that do not charge recruiters to view resumes.

Also, there are two really good job search engines I highly recommend:

www.indeed.com

www.simplyhired.com

Both search the major job boards, as well as corporate job boards. There is a lot of overlap, but I have found that sometimes one has a few postings the other doesn't.

Neither, at this time, can search Craigslist, so you need to go their to search.

They will be hiring again for the US Census in June or July. Call your local Census office and see what will be available. It is not a lot of money, but it could get you through the summer.

Do you have any friends from school that would be interesting in splitting the cost of a small apartment for 6 months to a year? That could save you a lot of money, and make it easier to stay here.

Good luck - and let us know how you make out!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest ArenaMan

An update: I've accepted a job offer with HEB ($15 bn Texas grocery company) as a software developer. They're giving me a 50k salary with some nice perks. It sounds like a good gig, and I'm looking forward to entering the workforce. Thanks for all the help and advice!

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