A Guide to Finding a Job as a New Computer Science Graduate
You’ve made it through the gauntlet of exams, hours in class, added the final touches to your thesis, and handed it in. But as you try your best to enjoy the graduation speech, one thought keeps popping in your head: How am I going to get a job? Fear not. Here’s your guide to finding a new job as a computer science graduate.
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1. Focus on Your Portfolio
You will have relatively little—or maybe zero-experience after you strut away from the podium with your diploma, so you need to beef up your portfolio. Fortunately, it may be easier than you think to make up for the lack of big-name corporations on your resume. For example, you can:
- Present projects completed while in school. Focus on those that address real-world scenarios.
- Showcase side-projects that flex your problem-solving skills. Some employers, when looking for a junior programmer or cybersecurity expert, for example, don’t need to see long, complicated solutions. Instead, they just want to know you’re comfortable with the tech, and a side project can be just what they’re looking for.
- Organize your portfolio into attractive sub-sections. This will make it easier to peruse, and the section titles can speak to specific employer needs. For instance, if you’re a network engineer, you could use categories like:
- Enterprise-level SD-WAN Solutions
- SMB Branch Networks
- AWS and Azure Cloud Solutions
These serve as both navigation tools and keywords, making your portfolio pop. Keep in mind that even if all you present are theoretical solutions to real-world problems, you’re still showcasing valuable skills.
2. Include Links to Your Work at the Very Top of Your Resume
While this is often a good idea for any job applicant, it’s especially wise for someone fresh out of a CS grad program. You want employers to see your work as soon as possible because it can supplant the rest of your resume, which may not be as shiny.
You can also include links to your work in multiple sections. For example, it could be at the very top and toward the bottom. In some cases, it may be a good idea to throw a link into your cover letter, which could give them a glance at what you can do even before getting to your resume.
3. Grow Your Professional Network with a Social Media Strategy
Instead of randomly friending and following, you can set up a social media strategy that optimizes each platform you interact with. For instance, you can:
- Follow employers you’re interested in interviewing with. Check out what they post about, read the articles they publish and keep an eye out for new developments in their companies—then react with likes, re-posts, and even replies.
- Clean up your LinkedIn account and target pros you want to emulate. When someone checks out your LinkedIn and sees a wall of industry leaders, they may be left with a better impression than if it was mostly your old high school friends.
- Find intriguing, cutting-edge, and, occasionally, funny content to post. Posting the kinds of content that adds value to people’s lives is a great way to get new followers. And each one is a potential job connection.
By focusing on your portfolio, highlighting your work, and strategically approaching social media, you can get on the right track for your first job as a CS grad. In addition, you can strengthen the quality of your network by joining the IEEE Computer Society. With members from all sectors of the information technology spectrum, the IEEE Computer Society can be your bridge from the graduation aisle to the corner office.