So, you've finished your degree in Computer Science or another IT-related field, but didn't manage to get an internship at an IT company to practice your skills. Internships are a valuable step in the lives of college students and can help a lot when getting a job. Let's have a look at what you can do if you didn't get an internship.
Start Coding and Publishing
One of the best things you can do as a recent college graduate (or soon-to-be college graduate) is to demonstrate your coding skills to the world. Public coding projects are arguably the most important thing to new developers when looking for a job. It's something that recruiters look for, not just that they exist, but the quality of them as well. Some points to remember:
- Create an account on GutHub. This is a massive community of open source coding projects. Once an account is created, start contributing to projects. Improve on existing code, create branches on other projects, or even start new projects.
- Document your code. Make sure any code you write is well-documented and well-structured. Recruiters don't just look at the code, they look at these other areas as well.
- Start your own small projects. If you don't want to contribute to anything on the site, then you could start your own project. It shouldn't be very big, as you don't want it to take up all your time.
The aim here is to practice your code and demonstrate your skills to the world.
Highlight Your Skills and Grades
If you don't have IT internship experience to put on your resume, you should be highlighting other important areas. These are your skills and your grades. Mention any skills you have learnt during your college courses, and include your proficiency or ability with them. Instead of listing all of your programming languages, group them into a few levels such as "proficient", "exposure" and "knowledge of" (or other high/medium/low labels). This will indicate what areas you focus on and what you're good at.
Also mention your grades from your college. This is a contentious topic, especially if they are low grades. I hope you got good grades in your courses. If so, put them on. A good grade to include is anything above 3.5 GPA. If it's below, it probably shouldn't be on the resume, and you may have a harder time finding a job. Experiment with this. If you're not getting any feedback from your resume submittals, you may want to consider adding your GPA.
Set Up a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn, in case you're not aware of it, is a social networking site similar to Facebook, but catered towards professionals. It's a good idea to set up a LinkedIn profile. Fill out your profile details, and make sure it matches your resume. The advantage of this is that you can link with or connect with other people in the industry. Connect with teachers and classmates, and other people you may know. This is a good way to find jobs, and learn more about the industry. You can include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume. This adds a touch of professionalism and could be the difference maker.
Include Any Other Experience You Have
If you have any other experience in the IT industry, you should add it to your resume. This could be part time work in an IT shop or working with another PC repair company. If it's IT related, add it. Employers will see this and can tell that you have some kind of relevant experience.
The amount of experience to include will come down to each particular case, but a good guide is to include experience from the last few years if it is relevant. If you have a supermarket job from five years ago, it probably doesn't need to go on the resume.
Ask Friends and Other Students
A good way to get a job in the IT industry is through other people. You probably know other people from your college who have graduated recently or are about to. Ask them if they know of any jobs that are available or anyone you can speak to.
A big part of getting a job is the people that you know. Speaking to your friends, other students, teachers and other people about your wishes to get an IT job is a good way to find roles that you might not otherwise know about.
Focus on Looking for Junior or Internship Roles
This might seem like an obvious point, but if you're just out of college, you should be looking for internship roles and those focused on junior positions. Some positions are advertised as a regular role, but ask for experience in the industry. Remember to filter your search on those jobs that need no experience. If you can't filter, then you might need to browse them one at a time. Searching for internships can be another option, even though you have finished college. Any way you can get experience in your field will be helpful in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed these tips for finding an IT job without an internship. Good luck with your search!
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