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Nabren

I just can't win!

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Well, when I graduated college I got a regular job at SuperTarget just to make some money while I was trying to find a job. Well, after getting a little discouraged in my initial job search I got too comfortable working at SuperTarget because I loved my hours 4am-12:30pm because I got off and had the whole afternoon/night as free time which I usually spent programming. Well, I let a little too much time slip by and by the time I realized it a year had passed and I was still not employed in my field. So, now that I am trying super hard (landing atleast 1 interview a week) to get a job IN MY FIELD, lol.. I am running into a problem of references. Since it has been so long (a year) really, none of my professors even remember me that much if they are even still there/reachable with the info I have. I have not worked in the industry so coworkers are really out. And I am only in touch with one of my seven classmates. Since I have had several interviews now and haven't had much luck or heard anything back, do you think it is my references that are hurting me? What should I do in this situation?

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Didn't you have any jobs before graduating?

I haven't finished college yet, but I have three references, one written and two by phone. They don't have anything to do with computers, but at least they can say I was never late or away and that I did a good job.

Really if you've waited this long to find work and knew employers(other than McDonalds/Target) wanted references, what did you think would happen?

Quote:

What should I do in this situation?


Perhaps just try to find jobs close to your field(rather than "in"). At least that way you can build some references and it might look better than Target.

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you might have to wait a little longer but start moving around lower level jobs that are associated to the job you want to get...

If you can get 2-3 names associated to yourself to show that you are able to work in something similar or related then its not a big deal to get the jobs you more want.

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I doubt they care about references (I have never been asked for a reference at a job interview, nor do I ask for them when I am involved in interviewing). Employers care about your experience with whatever skill set they are looking for. You are most likely applying for jobs which you are not qualified for due to lack of experience. If I saw your resume and it told me you were one year out of school and still working at Target, you would never even get to the interview stage. Sorry, but that is the cold reality. This is why it is so critical to get an internship while you are still in school. If you did not take advantage of internships, then you missed the boat and life is going to be tough at first. Hopefully you did *some* networking while in college (there is more to school than just classes ya know). Contact your peers and see who they are working for. Otherwise, lower your expectations and take what you can get. Pay your dues for a year, and then start looking for a better job after you have real world experience. Your next job will be waaay easier to land.

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No, that is just the thing, I have over 20 people I can use as references. However, none of them are "professional" references that I keep getting asked for and only one that is related to my field.

Ya, one year out of school is hurting me, however, I was looking during that time, just not super hard like I am now. I just had a hard time finding jobs that I was a match for.

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Quote:
Original post by Nabren
...do you think it is my references that are hurting me?

No. Generally, references are to vouch for your character, work ethic and stuff. They'll get asked some fluff questions about your technical skills, but that's simply to determine if the reference is himself ethical.

Quote:
What should I do in this situation?

Keep looking, keep working. When I (finally) graduate college - with a humanities degree at that - I couldn't get a job in my field because nobody knew what cinema and cultural studies majors were supposed to do! I fell back on my IT skills, but it took a long time for me to get an entry-level programming job, probably due to HR bias against my resume (no recognizable tech companies recently, non-tech degree). After spending several months struggling as a part-time sysadmin/support grunt, I got a biz dev position in the game industry. From there I jumped to a software development position writing database automation, and now I'm a web developer at a large media conglomerate. In a year and a half I also added $20,000 to my annual income.

Patience. You'll be fine.

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Hi.
I'm finishing college this year and I will probably be in the same problem like Nabren. I'm from Poland and in here it's hard like hell to get programming job without university or technical university paper in hand so how can I help myself to get started in the field?
I'm mostly learning at home and with good results I think but how can I help myself that way???
I don't have any idea. Is someone considering community projects as references when interviewing?
So many questions and so few answers in my head...I'm scared to finish shool.

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In my experience my references were only contacted after the job offer was given. The companies in question were primarily concerned with what I know and what I can do. For my first job they wanted to see examples of my work - fortunately I'd spent a fair bit of time doing some console hacking, which happened to be very relevant to what they needed me for. I went to my first batch of interviews with an xbox under my arm and demonstrated some graphics demos, I also compiled my best work, took screenshots, made a web front end and put my work on a CD to leave with the companies which had my name / address / telephone number on the sleeve. At interviews I tried to present myself as smart, punctual, honest and friendly. On my CV / resume I tried to extrapolate good work experience from my previous jobs even though they were unrelated.

Suffice to say that I landed a job working with one of the coolest companies ever, working on high profile games, and I had the time of my life. Previous experience: call center assistant and security guard (!!).

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The best thing you can do for yourself is to get into the internship program if your school has such a program. If your school does not have an official internship program, look for companies that offer internships and that will work around your course schedule. Many times the company will transition you from intern to full-time employee after you graduate. Even if they don't, you will have the real experience you need to get another job without too much trouble, not to mention that you will have built a network of industry professionals who can alert you about open positions that they know of.

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