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Not a recent grad = washed up

  1. Feb 6, 2015 #1
    The illogic of the career world amazes me. When I graduated college, with only a base knowledge of web infrastructure and programming, I shotgun-applied to tons of tech jobs that were outside my league, and was able to get interviews right and left, and I even made it to the final rounds of a few interviews. 2 years later, I have industry experience, feel way more confident in my overall tech skills, but can't get interviews for any of the types of jobs I almost got after graduated college.

    Example: Soon after graduating college I mistakenly applied for a Level-3 software engineering position with my state's government. Somehow, I got an interview, passed and was invited to a final interview at which they seemed to seriously be considering me. Recently, with far more skills under my belt, I applied for 2 different Level-1 versions of the same position and was denied w/out even getting an interview.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2015 #2
    I can't believe that isn't more than just bad luck. Employers want experience. Can you freshen up your skill set? Keep applying!
  4. Feb 7, 2015 #3


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    Maybe you were written off as overqualified? Who would pay a lvl3 salary for a lvl1 job..
  5. Feb 7, 2015 #4
    A lot of it has to do with what keywords you used on your letter and resume. You have to remember that the person who receives your letter and resume is NOT the person who will conduct the interview or possibly become your boss. It is an HR bureaucrat. They have the hopeless task of weeding out resumes that aren't what the job was for, and for ensuring "fairness" among all job applicants.

    I'm not blaming the bureaucrats themselves. The problem is that we have developed a "cure" for what used to be systems with prejudice, bias, and nepotism. The problem is that the cure may be at least as bad as the disease itself. These people aren't supposed to look at anything but the keywords you use. Even if they know something about the subject at hand and what you might bring to the table, they're not supposed to use their own judgement. They're supposed to give the interviewers exactly what they asked for.

    So, read the application VERY carefully for the key words they're expecting and make sure those very same key words appear in your resume and letter. I am only guessing at why this crazy thing happened to you, but I'm willing to bet that you may have left out some experience or key-words that they were expecting someone to have.

    I know that's not what you'd like to hear. You'd like to think that people actually READ the thing you slaved over, but they really don't. They just scan it for key words and experience.

    Yeah, it makes my skin crawl too, but that's how the game is played these days.
  6. Feb 7, 2015 #5
    Are you in the United States? You shouldn't have a hard time in the US with software. Our company alone is hiring 76 software engineers this winter (or what passes for winter here in southern Arizona) and a lot are for experienced engineers or scientists.
  7. Feb 9, 2015 #6
    This isn't true across the entire spectrum. At the engineering company I work for now the people who read my resume were the same people who conducted my interview (along with the extra set of people I'd prospectively be working for and my future boss was the main guy conducting the interview), and they were all technical people, scientists and engineers, not HR people. It's a smaller company that contracts to specific branches of government research labs though so size and the type of engineering one is doing has a factor.
  8. Feb 9, 2015 #7
    You could be just in that awkward spot between tiers. When I lost my job as a software dev I had problems finding a new job. The little feedback I got seemed to revolve around that I was too qualified for lvl 1 jobs but under qualified for lvl 2 jobs.
    Was very frustrating :(
  9. Feb 10, 2015 #8
    I agree, smaller companies don't have to adhere to the laws that larger firms have because it is too onerous. However the OP described a state government, the epitome of large firm behavior.
  10. Feb 10, 2015 #9
    Have you tried applying to smaller firms? I found that when I was searching for employment, I had my best luck when I called the owners of the company, spoke with them, and send them my resume with a tailored cover letter. It is very draining work, but exciting. I made one contact, who after a year, we still talk every so often. He is the CEO of a UAV company on the west coast. You never know what will come out of making a contact. Doing nothing but applying facelessly will surely lead to a boring job. But with the economy it may have nothing to do with you - only the super rich recovered from the 2008 recession.
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