How do I make myself more attractive to potential employers?

#1ThePlasmaStormPosted 4/28/2013 11:58:51 PM
I'm on the tail end of my sophomore year pursuing a BS CS degree (with a concentration in software engineering).

Back in the beginning of April, my college held a career fair specifically for STEM majors. I handed my resume to most of the employers there who were looking for CS students who want to do summer internships. This whole week I've received emails and phone calls back from some of them basically saying, "Sorry, we're not interested in hiring you."

Damn I know I suck at what I do but could you at least give me a chance? ;_;

I think it has something to do (hell, it probably does have something to do) with my very limited expertise. Basically, I only know Java and have some semblance of C, PHP, MySQL, and HTML. My GPA is a very underwhelming 3.22 and I have no prior job history whatsoever. Yep, I've never held any job in my life. Compared to some of my friends' resumes, mine might as well be a blank sheet of paper.

So I ask you, CS board (is basically what this is, right?), what can I do to make myself look better to employers?
I honestly thought that getting a job in the CS field would be a piece of cake with all these news reports saying stuff like "more and more companies are looking for STEM grads" and "CS jobs have grown by 200% percent in the last decade" and "there is a shortage of trained people to hire" but I am just getting rejected like a bad date. I am legitimately concerned that I may not get a job even after graduating.
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#2nesisPosted 4/29/2013 2:47:43 AM
Find out what credentials your competition (ie, other grad students) can offer for the same role, and out-compete them.

You've already mentioned your biggest shortcomings for conventional job finding: GPA and no job history. These are what need attention. Unfortunately, many companies automatically cull or stratify graduates by GPA alone.

If you happen to be insanely focused, perhaps a very well-made project (a la so many on sourceforge) could be of some benefit, but really you want to show you're capable in the workforce, since there's not much to be done about your GPA as far as I know... which isn't much since I'm from an Australian schooling background that doesn't use that scoring system. Is there anything that can be done to improve it? If so, go for it, and **** everything else.

All that said, there's a few guys here who really support the idea that you don't need a degree to do well, so I'm sure they can offer some sound advice from their own careers. I'm a fence-sitter on whether you'll get a more enjoyable or higher profit career by either going to or not going to uni.
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#3neoXPosted 4/29/2013 3:21:39 AM
A pimped out Github account with a history of commits stretching back a few years. Contributions to other peoples' repositories. An online presence stretching back a few years.
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#4PTP2009Posted 4/29/2013 3:54:29 AM
It's probably the complete lack of prior employment. Get a part-time job doing anything.
#5NeoCheezPosted 4/29/2013 11:05:44 AM
Internships.

Open source contributions.

Participating in (and winning) coding contests.

Research with profs.

Interesting side projects.

Summer of Code.

You said you're a sophomore? You have two years and one month. Go.
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#6JamiebensonPosted 4/29/2013 11:49:54 AM
Am I the only person who was thinking get a haircut and bat your eye lashes when reading the title ;)
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#7Skel1Posted 4/29/2013 12:23:02 PM
Short skirts, lots of cleavage.
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#8JamiebensonPosted 4/30/2013 11:54:02 AM
^That :)
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#9BewmHedshotPosted 4/30/2013 6:37:31 PM
GPA sucks, PHP is dead, learn C++ (not just C with classes.) A job or any form of leadership activity would go a long way towards helping you get a 'real' job.
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#10MegidolaonPosted 5/1/2013 12:10:11 AM
This is what I encountered in Germany when looking for a job, maybe it's quite different from where you live, but skills matter.

You need to reach a certain level in one programming language before knowing another will do any good.
Often there will be language specific questions and/or programming test assignments.

So I'd suggest improving whatever language you like most and applying for jobs with a focus on that.

Note that for every programming job, decent sql skills are necessary and for anything related to internet you also need decent html and css.
Decent in this case means being comfortable with the basic stuff.
No one will ask to administrate a db with only SQL, it's mostly about joins, wheres, etc.

Not sure about html and css, haven't really applied to many internet related jobs.
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