Whether you are a freshman in college or a graduating senior who is about to major in computer science, you may have heard of amazing job offers people land in the technology industry. Some students even land their offers as early as the start of their senior year. While the job offer might sound very lucrative, there is a massive amount of consistent effort one has to put in to land a good tech job as a new college graduate. So, what does the process look like? When should one start preparing? What are the companies looking for? How do I start my technology career? These are some common questions that every college student majoring in computer science has. Let’s look at the key steps that you need to take to land a job offer from a top technology company before your graduation.
It’s never too early to start preparing for job interviews. Unlike other job interviews that are more focused on your speaking and presentation skills, technology job interviews are more focused on solving algorithmic problems under a time constraint. This means you will have to practice solving a lot of algorithm and data structure problems, improve your problem-solving skills under a time constraint and develop a habit to write code in paper and whiteboard. Yes, we know that is a lot to learn and improve and that is exactly why you must start early. We would recommend that you start preparing for these interviews no later than the summer of sophomore year.
Work on your resume
Start maintaining a resume from as early as your freshman year of college. While you might not have a perfect resume with tons of technical experience, having a resume will be a constant reminder that you need to work harder to make your resume better. There are tons of things that you can add in your resume apart from actual work experience. When evaluating a resume for a recent college graduate, companies look at their personal projects, GitHub contributions, etc. So, you do not have to wait until you get an internship to add details to your resume. Start working on an interesting project on the side. Start contributing to open source projects.
View sample resumes that got interviews at top tech companies.
Once you have a resume, it is absolutely necessary to get it reviewed. For the general resume review, you can start with your college’s career center. Since they have reviewed thousands of resumes, they can be a good resource to receive valuable feedback and improve your resume. However, do not limit your resume review to the college’s career center. We highly recommend getting your resume reviewed by at least one software engineer who is in the technology industry. Why? Software engineers in the field are used to looking at technical resumes and conducting interviews for their company. So, you will likely receive valuable insights into what companies are looking for.
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Practice Solving Problems
This is one of the most important steps to land a job at one of the top technology companies. Eighty percent of a technical job interview consists of a problem-solving round and therefore crucial to start practicing the algorithmic and data structure problems as soon as possible. Improving your problem-solving skills is a marathon, not a sprint. You need consistent practice to improve your problem-solving skills over time. The more you prepare, the more confidence you will have to tackle these problems in your real interview. We have also talked about how to prepare for a technical interview in this article: Tips to Ace Your Next Software Engineering Interview. Use the tips and resources mentioned in the article to work on improving your problem-solving skills.
So, you started early to prepare, have a nice resume, and have practiced tons of problems. That sounds like you are all prepared to get hired, right? Yes, you are now ready to interview for your technical job, but how about landing that interview? You need to get an interview with a company to apply everything that you have learned and worked on so far. That is why it is extremely important to build a good network of people who can help you when you are applying for jobs. Most of the technology companies have referral programs and it is extremely easy to get a job interview if you know someone who can refer you for a role in the company. This means the more people you know, the higher your chance to get a referral for a job. So, how can you build these connections? Here are some small yet powerful steps any college student can take to build their connection: For more depth on how to build connections you can read this useful article: Building Connections in Tech Industry.
- Set Up your LinkedIn profile and keep your profile up to date.
- Reach out to your college alumni who are working in tech companies and add them to your LinkedIn connection.
- Go to any career fairs or events that your college organizes.
- Go to Hackathons when you can. Hackathons are a great way to meet with engineers from thousands of tech companies and build a great network of connections.
Apply Apply Apply
Now that you are all prepared, you need to apply to open roles posted by the technology companies. We highly recommend getting a referral whenever possible instead of directly applying through the job post as referrals have an extremely high response rate compared to direct application. So, leverage your network and connections whenever possible. However, referrals are not always an option and you will have to apply through the job posting for most of the roles. When you come across a role that you like, do not hesitate to apply. It’s a probability game: the more you apply, the higher the chances of hearing back from the recruiter. Since most of the job applications will require you to fill out a standard form and upload a resume, it usually takes as little as a few minutes to apply.
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Each of these steps are crucial to improve your chances of landing a good technology job as a college graduate. Although we have discussed it in the context of a full-time job, you can use these steps to land an internship in your sophomore and junior year as well. Since interviews for internships and full-time jobs are practically identical, there is not much of a difference when it comes to preparing for either. No matter which year of college you are in, whether you are applying for an internship or a full-time job, you can use this guide to prepare yourself. Good luck!
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
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