#1
Hey UG. You've helped me out a lot in the past, and I'm asking for your help once again.

I'm enrolled in a university co-op program for software engineering. This summer is supposed to be my first co-op work term, but I'm part of a fairly substantial group of students who haven't yet managed to land jobs. We have until June 1st to find a job, and that includes finding a place to live wherever that job may be and getting moved in. The time crunch is getting a little bit intense.

My co-ordinator tells me that my major problem has been not applying to enough jobs. I'm someone who's always been bogged down by self-esteem issues and self-doubt, so I've been very picky about the jobs I've been applying for (for the most part, I've only applied for jobs that I have at least ~80% of the requirements for). I've landed four interviews, with no luck.

This job search has arguably been the most stressful part of this semester (which is known to be the weed-out semester for my program), and I'm really not sure I want to have to go through it for every work term (4 more after this one).

If you've had co-op experience, can you tell me if it's worth so much stress? I'm considering dropping out of co-op, which would allow me to graduate a year earlier, and not require me to have to move. The flip side of course, is that I would have no experience upon graduating, which is also an issue I'm having with finding jobs now.

Oh, UG, tell me what I should do.

Edit: Perhaps to better outline my options.
- I could take this work term off and work on personal projects to add to my resume and build my skillset. We are allowed one work term off.
- I could apply to more jobs now, including jobs I don't think I could get, and see what happens.
- I could drop co-op, graduate a year earlier and largely stress-free.

Also, to highlight where I think my skillset is lacking:
- Most jobs are expecting us to have IT skills and/or web design skills. I have neither, I have strictly programming development skills and software design skills.
- The jobs I've had in the past haven't been highly conducive to building soft skills, so I have little/no way of showcasing these, beyond academic examples.
Last edited by samjbow at Apr 30, 2014,
#2
hmm i thought co-op was supposed to make it easier to find these opportunities. everyone else goes for internships independently.

you should definitely try to find at least one internship/co-op work term thing before graduating. personal projects are generally thought of as mere extras that show that a candidate does indeed enjoy software engineering to some degree.
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#3
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
hmm i thought co-op was supposed to make it easier to find these opportunities. everyone else goes for internships independently.

you should definitely try to find at least one internship/co-op work term thing before graduating. personal projects are generally thought of as mere extras that show that a candidate does indeed enjoy software engineering to some degree.


One vote for sticking with it. Thanks!
#4
Stick with it. Co-ops are great. There's no downside to applying to tons of jobs. Worst case: they don't call you back, which means you're exactly where you are now.

That's not to say you should just apply EVERYWHERE, because you don't want to apply places you literally have no chance at. And you should also keep it at a number where your applications can still be quality.

Speaking of, how good is your resume? And how good are your cover letter writing skills? Because those could be reasons you aren't getting the job. Go over your resume, send it to people for feedback, etc. Schools usually offer free workshops for resumes 'n' shit
#6
oh also, go to career fairs if you get any near you or at your school. your chances are higher there than just applying online or whatever.

and bother your friends/fellow students about recommending you at places they're working at. as long as you're reasonably competent, there's no shame in doing so.

where are you anyway? why go for a job requiring IT or web design skills when you just want to program?
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Last edited by vIsIbleNoIsE at Apr 30, 2014,
#7
It's definitely worth it. Indeed I would go so far as to say that I would advise someone against doing a degree that didn't incorporate some kind of co-operative placement. It will be hugely valuable for you, both in terms of gaining experience of how an actual workplace differs from University and making connection and impressions that could land you a job in future.

Consider that even the discomfort that you're feeling now is part of the learning process in co-op. Applying for jobs, being rejected, doing interviews, being rejected. This is all part of life. Get used to it now while you have the support system of University around you. Learn not to take it personally, I've been rejected from jobs so many times I've lost count. The job I have right now I was rejected from no fewer than 3 years running; but now that I have it I can show that I'm suited to it.

Eventually you'll get more numb to the idea of being rejected and stop taking it personally. My girlfriend is the top graduate in her field in this country, she has secured a job with an amazing firm, yet she was rejected from numerous places when she was interviewing. That's just how it goes.
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#9
Speaking of, how good is your resume? And how good are your cover letter writing skills? Because those could be reasons you aren't getting the job. Go over your resume, send it to people for feedback, etc. Schools usually offer free workshops for resumes 'n' shit

According to my co-op coordinator, my resume and cover letters have been fine.

where are you anyway? why go for a job requiring IT or web design skills when you just want to program?

A lot of employers are hesitant to hire people for programming jobs if they haven't got their feet wet with web development, IT or testing jobs (I forgot to mention testing above, I'm applying to those as well)

Eventually you'll get more numb to the idea of being rejected and stop taking it personally. My girlfriend is the top graduate in her field in this country, she has secured a job with an amazing firm, yet she was rejected from numerous places when she was interviewing. That's just how it goes.

I'm not sure fear of rejection is the issue, but I'll keep this in mind. Thank you.
#11
A successful internship will weigh very heavily in the eyes of future employers after you graduate. It is probably as important as the degree in the end so go get one and be amazing.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#12
Thanks everybody. I'm going to stick with it and try my hardest to apply more and build the skills I think are lacking. I appreciate all of your help.
#13
Quote by samjbow
According to my co-op coordinator, my resume and cover letters have been fine.


fine? or excellent? your resume and cover letter are typically the first impression an employer will get of you, so you want it to be as good as possible. a "fine" resume is a shitty resume.

also fear of rejection is why you haven't applied to more places. you said self-esteem plays a role, but if you didn't have a fear of rejection, you'd still apply to tons of places. it's likely a combination of the two
#14
Quote by progdude93
fine? or excellent? your resume and cover letter are typically the first impression an employer will get of you, so you want it to be as good as possible. a "fine" resume is a shitty resume.


to be fair though, i'm at a software company and i regularly get put on interviews where the resume is a million pages long with a paragraph for every single project the candidate has worked on, with a cheesy-ass opening objective to boot, and that doesn't seem to faze our recruiters. i'm not saying it's fine to do these things to your resume, but as long as it gets the point across (and the point is a good one), it's good. at least in large software corporations. small startups may care more.
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#15
that's a load of crap. your resume should NEVER EVER be that big.

also, objectives are SO early 2000s
#16
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
to be fair though, i'm at a software company and i regularly get put on interviews where the resume is a million pages long with a paragraph for every single project the candidate has worked on, with a cheesy-ass opening objective to boot, and that doesn't seem to faze our recruiters. i'm not saying it's fine to do these things to your resume, but as long as it gets the point across (and the point is a good one), it's good. at least in large software corporations. small startups may care more.

People still put objectives in resumes? WHAT?!
#17
wow, sam and i seem to be in agreement.. so i must be wrong.

never mind OP, you should keep an objective in there.
#18
I really do not think my resume is the issue. I've had it looked over on three separate occasions, twice by my coordinator and once by a peer helper, and any of the suggestions they've had, I've implemented. Last time I showed it to my coordinator, she had no complaints.
#19
which means you've had it reviewed by 2 people (one of whom is a peer). which isn't nearly enough, considering the importance of your resume.

if you're including paragraphs describing each individual project, you're doing it wrong. if they want specific details, they'll ask you for them. it's called an interview. a resume should describe your accomplishments, as well as a BRIEF bullet point that GENERALLY outlines your tasks.
#20
My resume is less than two pages long. I'm not sure why this is suddenly an issue and why so many assumptions are being made. I haven't even mentioned projects in my resume - if they are relevant to the job/showcase a desired skill, I describe them in one sentence in my cover letter.
Last edited by samjbow at Apr 30, 2014,
#21
oh okay, i thought you said earlier that it was okay to have a really long resume with paragraphs describing each project you had, but rereading your comment i assumed a bit too much

and how much work experience do you have for a 2 page resume?
#22
yea, if you're grumbling about finding one internship i'm assuming you haven't had one before. so unless you do a lot of extensive research work at your school or other officially recognized activities, you should be struggling to fill up a single page. which is as it should be, and as employers will expect.
Quote by archerygenious
Jesus Christ since when is the Pit a ****ing courtroom...

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#23
We've been encouraged to add as many soft skills as we can that apply to the field, and explain how we might have gained these from past jobs. I've also added volunteer work.
#24
volunteer work has its place on a resume, but only if there's space. i'd bet a lot of money that a panel of resume experts would tell you your resume is way too fluffy.

explaining what you gained from past jobs, and explaining how that applies to the job you're applying for, is what the cover letter exists to do. it seems your resume is quite redundant.

your resume should basically be a list of your most relevant work experience and education (and volunteer work if there's space on the page left), with you briefly laying out accomplishments and general responsibilities.

like "database manager" instead of "i was responsible for managing and maintaining the various databases we had."

also, your accomplishments and all that should be bullets rather than complete sentences

resumes are something an HR guy wants to be able to look over for a minute or two, but not longer. resumes are facts, your cover letter is how you spin them and explain them in your favor
#25
Quote by progdude93
volunteer work has its place on a resume, but only if there's space. i'd bet a lot of money that a panel of resume experts would tell you your resume is way too fluffy.

explaining what you gained from past jobs, and explaining how that applies to the job you're applying for, is what the cover letter exists to do. it seems your resume is quite redundant.

your resume should basically be a list of your most relevant work experience and education (and volunteer work if there's space on the page left), with you briefly laying out accomplishments and general responsibilities.

like "database manager" instead of "i was responsible for managing and maintaining the various databases we had."

also, your accomplishments and all that should be bullets rather than complete sentences

resumes are something an HR guy wants to be able to look over for a minute or two, but not longer. resumes are facts, your cover letter is how you spin them and explain them in your favor



well said.
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#26
All right. I'll keep that in mind, and maybe bounce it off my co-ordinator. Thanks.
#27
i'm not saying CHANGE YOUR RESUME (though i've made my opinions clear), i'm just urging you to have more people look over your resume for you. cos right now, the only legit person who's given you any feedback is your coordinator.

you need a second opinion that isn't just a peer. i mean talk to your parents, see if they have any friends who work in HR and/or just really know their shit when it comes to resumes. you should have a large enough existing network to get a lot of valuable feedback.