Picture this: You’re in your junior year of pursuing a computer science degree. And one day, while your working your crappy college retail job, it hits you. It’s time to get super cereal about your career. But where do you start? How do you apply for an entry-level position? Allow us to explain.
(Photo Credit: flazingo_photos/Flickr)
“I’m currently in the third year of my computer science degree (4 years total) and want to get out of my retail job and into something related to my field. I am working full time as I need the money to pay for college and rent etc. so I am able to work a normal 9-5 gig. I am not entirely sure as the how to approach this process though and would really appreciate some guidance. I have been looking through recruitment web sites and all I see really are adverts for people with full degrees and/or experience. Should I simply email the companies with my resume and state that I’d be interested in an entry level programming position or IT position etc.?”
Let’s take a closer look at OP’s situation.
Pursuing a Computer Science Degree
Here’s some good news for OldByrne: you’re getting a degree that will propel you into one of the highest salaried industries. In fact, people who work in the computer science industry have reported average starting salaries ranging from $49,000 per year to $75,000 per year. It’s great that you want to jump into something closer to your career. That kind of motivation will pay off big-time as you begin your career journey.
Should You Apply for an Internship?
Although looking at entry-level jobs may seem like the most logical thing to do right now, perhaps you should consider looking at internships instead. Internships, paid or unpaid, are a fantastic way to learn the necessary skills they don’t teach you at college, such as communication, basic reporting, workplace etiquette, and more.
Internships are also great because sometimes they can turn into a full-time job. At the very least, the experience is priceless and internships look awesome on any resume. If you aren’t able to find any internships, another suggestion is to check with your college and see if they have any work-study programs available.
I finished my internship. Now how do I apply for an entry-level job?
Get on LinkedIn
First things first. Because you’re going to be in the tech field, getting your LinkedIn account set up and optimized is crucial. Most professionals these days are on LinkedIn, and recruiters often use it to find new tech talent – that means you! Not sure where to start? Use these tips to polish up your profile.
Connect with a Recruiter
Given that you’re in the tech industry, this will be pretty straightforward in terms of getting connected. Recruiters can be awesome, and if you reach out to the right ones, they can sometimes lead you to an amazing job – usually without you having to do much of anything, which is even more awesome.
If you’re going to use a recruiter to help you find a job, it’s important to remember that they are not your career counselor or your personal resume writer. For more things you should know about recruiters, check out this list.
Attend a Job Fair
There is nothing quite as awkward and beneficial as a job fair. If you’re not into small talk and networking, it’s time to get over it. Job fairs can help you prospect potential employers while also expanding (or starting) your own network. Remember that not all job fairs end in job offers, but it’s a great way to do some research on where you do and don’t want to work.
Do you have tips for applying to your first entry-level job? Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!