I haven't noded
for a while, and that's for a few reasons. I haven't had anything to write about, and I've been busy as all hell. However, my Comp Sci classes have wound down, things with my girlfriend
are a lot better, and I found a job. Furthermore, I found that my job search has given me something to write about.
After surviving the constant onslaught of resume edits, information sessions, interviews, rejections, post-interview tests, and on-site interviews, I actually received two separate job offers. My first offer was great. It was from Capital One, and featured a $53,000 starting salary, and benefits out the wazoo, including free tuition for graduate school. I received this offer before my on-site interview with the second company. During the last part of my visit to their company (talking with their HR manager), I made them aware of the offer. So, a few weeks later they countered with an offer of less pay, worse benefits, an office complex with a treehouse, and a Dilbertian distrust of anybody with any business knowledge... and they were located in Madison, Wisconsin versus Richmond, Virginia. So, needless to say, I will be working for Capital One come July.
Though my experience is probably a lot easier than others will have to deal with (a 3.8 in a pretty rigorous Computer Science program helps a lot) I feel that others in a similar state could benefit from my experiences, so I will share them with the world:
Landing your first Real Job (tm)
Graduating from college is a scary thing. Once again you face being torn away from a group of friends. The "real world" that you have successfully evaded for 22 years is looking for blood. However, by far the scariest part of graduating is having to find your first Real Job.
Depending on your chosen field of study, your job search may be very difficult. You may find yourself wondering "What can I do with my degree?". However, regardless of your degree, it will not be an easy experience. Here is some advice from someone who has successfully completed his job search.
1) Use your Career Services office.
Granted, typically some career service offices (Business, Engineering, etc) are more robust than others. However, they are always a great resource. Using mine, I was able to land interviews from 9 different companies (such as JP Morgan/Chase, General Electric, Johns Hopkins, etc.) in a month's time.
2) Don't sweat the interview.
This seems like a difficult piece of advice to follow, since your fate rests on how well you do in the interview. However, obvious nervousness looks bad, as it is the exact opposite of confidence. Trust me, I blew two interviews due to this... And I know that I did, because I got feedback from the employers telling me this in no uncertain terms.
3) Zip your suit's fly
I know this sounds obvious, but it is a very important piece of advice. In the rush of things, it is simple to forget to zip your fly. I should know, as I did two interviews with my fly all the way down. Take a guess how many of these companies contacted me again... Here's a hint: the answer rhymes with beer-o.
4) Practice behavioral interview questions
A lot of companies use this method. The question format is the following: "Tell me about a time when...", followed by some statement. This works on the view that past successes with difficult groups, large projects, etc. are a good indicator of how you will do in the future. Because of this, if a question blindsides you, feel free to lie your ass off. For an example, I had about 5 interviewers ask me about how I dealt with a groupmate who wasn't pulling their weight. I've been lucky in college, as all of the groups I have been a member of have succeeded without incident. I attempted to explain this fact to the first person that asked me this question, and his response was "Oh, well everybody else has had problems with bad groupmates...". This is when I realized that I'd have to alter the truth slightly in the future.
5) If your on-site interview involved them paying for your flight to the city, a night at a good hotel, a $60 dinner, an open bar tab at your hotel, and limo service between your destinations, you basically have the job.
If this happens, congratulations, you are being wined and dined. They want to hire you.