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How to "get my foot in the door"

 
Kevin Thompson
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Mark,
Enough with the snotty comments about me.
Keith - as for finding a mentor - that is probably a good thing. As for myself, I have been a mentor for long time. I have spoken on several occasions to high school students about the IT field, and I also serve as a mentor in a user group that I belong to.
In fact, just today, I was asked to serve as the IT rep and be a speaker at a non-profit summit this spring. I don't know if I have the time, but I was flattered to be asked.
Kevin
 
John Coxey
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Keith:
- My apologies for not seeing the BA-Information Technology degree.
- From my experience (I went through the campus-interview process over 4 different years), most companies that hire recent college graduates on campus are looking for production support type folks. No one came to the colleges looking specifically for Java programmers.
- Since you already have a college degree - I would start looking more towards customer support & software maintenance. You may have to start in a COBOL shop (since they tend to be with the Fortune 500 guys and these are the companies that tend to cut you a break - as they have hundreds of programmers working on their COBOL systems).
- Right now, your goal is get working. So even if it's an $8/hour call center printer operator job -- it's experience. Even more important, if it's with a Fortune 500 company, you'll get name-recognition on your resume.
But right now, any experience is better than none.
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- So how to get into the field:
- Talk to everyone and everyone.
- Get the book "Knock 'Em Dead" by Martin Yate. Read it every single night. It will get your mind focused as to the type of interview questions to expect.
- Focus your resume more on your college degree.
- Chubb Institute has a bad rap in this industry -- so if you put this at the top of your resume, people may automatically classify you as a technical school graduate versus a college graduate. I would bring it up at interview.
- Your job search should consume 8-10 hours a day of searching.
- You want to only mail out 5-10 resume's a week. As you will be following up on leads.
- Visit your local library - also browse the books at Barnes & Nobles (also a good place to study), and get ideas for your job search.
- Be willing to relocate anywhere in USA. I know, it's tough if you got a family.
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- Talk to your local community college. They WILL talk with you - even if not registered to take a class there.
- See if you can teach at community college. See if you can teach at Chubb. Talk to your high school - see if they need tutors. Man, anything to put on a resume.
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- If you get bored, keep studying. Again, the emphasis in this industry is web-enabled applications (JSP, Servlets). I would definitely concentrate my studies in this area.
- No one really cares if all you do is design static websites. Nearly everyone can design/write HTML pages these days - due to all the WYSIWYG tools available.
- Learn an IDE like WSAD. Can get 60 day trial version at IBM.
- This IDE comes with a test version of WebSphere Application Developer. Now you can test your program as it runs on an actual server.
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- A full mockup type program & demo that uses Model-View-Controller, JSP, Servlets, (possibly Struts), HTML & DHTML & CSS would certainly impress an employer more than the typical static HTML portfolio so commonly seen from students at Chubb.
- But first, you need to have a winning resume that will get your foot in the door.
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- Send me your e-mail address, I will forward a copy of my resume over to you to look at. I don't have a personal web-site anymore since I gave up my AOL account.
- Use my resume as a template. You'll immediately see that it's different from what you have seen before.
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- Hope this helps,
John Coxey
(jpcoxey@yahoo.com) <---- USE THIS EMAIL ADDRESS TO SEND ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
 
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