The New Grad’s Guide to Resume-Crafting and Job Hunting

Congratulations on completing your IT degree, whether it’s undergrad or advanced! It can be both exciting and challenging to land your first job in the field.

Here’s some advice to help you as you launch your job search:

Tailor Your Resume:

“But I don’t have any work experience – what do I even list on a resume?” To help fill out your resume, add details like:

  • Relevant classwork and / or projects
  • Link your Github to show off code samples and passion projects you’re currently working on.
  • If you tutored or volunteered, add relevant details (ie. “tutored 9 freshmen in Advanced Calculus, helping them improve their grades by 30%”)
  • Did you have a side business or work a job while in school? List it/them, adding detail: Instead of “walked neighbors’ dogs”, say something like: “provided daily and weekly dog-walking services, earning seven 5-star reviews from clients”
  • Provide details on extracurricular activities (ie. “soccer captain, 2023-2024”. List any awards you received).
  • List your relevant soft and hard skills (“fast learner”, “collaborator”, “analytical” “team-oriented” “detail-oriented”, etc.)
  • Instead of saying “good grades”, use your GPA + any academic awards (ie. “Dean’s list 2023-24”)
  • If you’ve got a portfolio of development work (GitHub is very common as a repository), link to it in your resume.
  • If you’ve completed online certifications, don’t just list them – add detail like “completed 120 hours of data analytics training through Google certificates”

    Customize your resume for each job to which you apply. Highlight your technical skills, any internships, projects, or coursework relevant to the position. Use keywords from the job description to pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Build a Strong Online Presence:

Create a professional LinkedIn profile. Use a good current head shot (with no other people in it). Use a banner image that says something about you (Pixabay and Pexels both have lots of royalty-free images you can download).

Using your newly-crafted resume, complete your profile, showcasing your education, skills, and any relevant projects or internships.

Connect with professionals in the IT industry, join relevant groups, and engage using content. If you solved a problem, overcame a difficulty in your technical education, or have a compelling (short) story, post it. People like to learn from others’ experiences and it will help elevate your presence when you post regularly.

Keep Adding to Your Portfolio:

  • Showcase your skills and projects in a portfolio (Github is popular). Include code samples, project descriptions, and any contributions you made during internships or group projects. A portfolio provides tangible evidence of your abilities.

Network Actively:

  • Attend industry events, conferences, and meetups. Networking can open doors to opportunities and provide insights into the IT job market. Don’t be afraid to reach out to technology professionals for informational interviews or casual coffee meetings to learn about their paths. Remember to invite your new friends to connect on LinkedIn.

    Get to know other technology professionals via meetups, hackathons, and alumni groups.

    Ask mentors, family members, professors/teachers, and recruiters who work with internships for help. Let them know you’re looking for an entry-level job or internship. Which leads to my next suggestion: 

Apply for Internships and Entry-Level Positions:

  • Look for and apply to entry-level positions to gain practical experience. These roles can serve as stepping stones to more advanced positions and help you build a professional network.

Continue Learning via Certifications:

  • Depending on your chosen IT specialization, continue working toward relevant certifications. These can validate your skills and make your resume stand out to employers.

Practice Interviewing:

  • Practice common technical and behavioral interview questions. Use resources like mock interviews, online coding platforms, or interview preparation tools to build your confidence and refine your responses. If you have LinkedIn Premium, take advantage of its interviewing resources.

Show Enthusiasm and Passion:

  • During interviews and in your application materials, show your genuine enthusiasm for the IT field. Share examples of how you’ve applied your skills or overcome challenges in your academic or personal projects.

    Keep working on passion projects – this is a big differentiator in the marketplace, and helps keep your coding skills sharp.

Utilize Your School’s Career Services:

  • Take advantage of your university’s career services. They can provide guidance on resume building, job searching, and even connect you with potential employers. Don’t be shy about finding your school’s alumni on LinkedIn and reaching out to those who are farther along in their technology careers.

Be Patient and Persistent:

  • Landing your first job may take time, so be patient and stay persistent. Keep refining your approach based on feedback, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks.

It’s important to remember that a job search is a journey. Each step contributes to your growth and development. You’ll meet people along the way that can become lifelong friends.

Stay positive, continue learning, and be proactive in seeking opportunities. Good luck!

Using my recruiting experience, I help technology leaders better-define their professional brand and navigate their job search. Want to know more about my signature Professional Branding Package? Click here.

Not sure yet, or you’ve got questions?  Use this link to schedule a FREE, no-strings intro call.