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IBNeko's Journal-Nyo~!
Still feeling more emotionally down than normal. There's absolutely no reason for this, at least none that I can locate (unless... EXPO and the prospect of getting a job?) - the weather is gorgeous, I don't have any large projects due yet (next week... meep), and... I don't know.

[whiny]Arrr, wants a hug.[/whiny]

It may be EXPO* and the prospect of getting a job. I don't know. I'm whiffle-waffling over the future again - general routes include 10% grad school, 50% job, 20% unemployed bum, and possibly 30% Highbrow. Job possibilities include going back to ISIS/Georgetown, hitting up Kitware, or prodding Freewebs/R. Neel and seeing if I made a decent enough impression. Or any other networking I manage to create.

I've reached the conclusion that I dislike EXPO and these job fairs though. It's not my way of networking - too much pressure to try to sell myself, with too many other (undoubtedly) more qualified applicants - I am a "Doing things" sort of person - I would be much happier establishing myself through examples than have to struggle with selling myself verbally in a minute. Primarily because 1) I don't have the self-esteem / ego to sell myself, and 2) I'm afraid they'll ask for technical... stuff. And I'll just look dazed because I can't think up stuff on the spot, and bluffing isn't a strong skill of mine. I know stuff, but a lot of it is broad, general stuff - that's probably one of my few strengths - I have the background to adapt to specific technologies across a broad range as required. But pulling detailed things up, like.. oh.. C++ Object syntax and "which of the following four isn't a java protected word" isn't something I can do.

*Engineering EXPO: It's a large, three-day career fair held by the engineering council every year. 50-100 companies attend, including large named companies like AMD, Nvidia, etc.

Current Mood: depressed depressed

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fbartho From: fbartho Date: September 12th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like you're having a bit of unnecessary trouble in the realm of interviewing. I've had a bunch of technical interviews before I came to Apple, and for most of them the questions all had one goal in mind "can the candidate think analytically and apply a diverse background to trying to find a solution to a problem he doesn't immediately know the answer to?" Look up the "microsoft interview questions" or just interview questions on google, you can get used to the style even though the publicly available ones should really not be asked of you (even though microsoft doesn't profess to do them as much, almost every interview I had had at least 1 question similar to those just for the hell of it). One thing you also seem to have trouble with is a self image thing. There will always be people undoubtably more qualified. [or at least that's the mindset you have to maintain] that said, you bring a specific mix of experiences and abilities to your job that others don't and can't. You have to realize that you are competing with others even if they're invisible and more qualified, but by showing people you're smart that you do have the requisite background, and that you're able to communicate, and especially that you're willing, able, and interested in learning more, you'll do a much better job than a candidate who can just see in his mind the right answer to a question and write it on the board. EVERY interview I had really cared about seeing a communicated process towards problem solving. They really didn't care if I got the right answer right away, but as long as I out loud explained my thought process, the routes/paths I was trying along with diagrams, and then explained why those paths had to be discarded, they were much happier with me. Usually they give you hints, and if you can take the hints and incorporate them into your exploratory paths, they get happy. I actually never got the final answer on some problems, just possible paths to explore. I assume you can write pseudo-code or actual code to implement solutions, and they like that too. Only in a cisco interview did I really have detail specific stuff about the c language. Most of the other technical questions were "describe difference between protected and private" "describe the meaning of polymorphism" "describe 4 technical issues with the following solution to the problem we previously described: ____"

The crux of the matter is that faking an ego is usually almost as good or even better than falsely having believing your ego is true. If you are faking it, you can analytically point out and minimize your weaknesses, while harping more on your strengths. Most of all you need to be able to brag. That was something I had to force myself to do in interviews. If you can talk broadly about a bunch of projects you've worked on or fiddled with. Things you learned about just for the heck of it. Describe the websites you run, running the lj server on your own and modding it (you did do that right?) setting up apache. any programming languages you've played with be sure to describe what you did. Python is a good language to talk about in these times. Perl too if you can demonstrate you know how to use it's power. RoR and any other technologies you may have played with are fair game and you need to be able to talk about them on the spot. You must be able to brag, and pick up from your interviewers if they're interested in something and go more in depth about it.

Even though computer science is known for it's less socially able people, Communication skills are (my observation) the primary motivator for marking people up or down in interviews. If you can muster the ability to sell yourself enough for a technical interview where you do examples, and if you can communicate your thought process, than that will transcend the on-resume qualifications of many other candidates. You do have to sell yourself to get a job though. Communication is crucial in the real world, and people are constantly handicapped by poor communicators, so it can get personal. If you are writing pseudocode, it doesn't hurt to throw in a few comments in the pseudo-code while you explain things out loud.

IM me if you want to talk more.
contrasedative From: contrasedative Date: September 12th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Ugh, I (sort of) know the feeling. CMU's TOC (Technical Opportunities Conference) is next Tuesday and the most preparation I've done is to borrow a suit that fits better...
shanrina From: shanrina Date: September 12th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
***hugs*** I know the feeling. Oh, boy, do I know the feeling. (Well, except for all the tech stuff since I'm not really a tech-y person.) But the general trying to sell yourself stuff can be really intimidating. I think the best thing you can probably do is just practice, or figure out what exactly you find so intimidating about it. (I know, easier said than done...I have similar issues with this sort of thing.) But good luck, both on getting a job and figuring out where you want to go after you graduate.
From: acc2 Date: September 13th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
i hate expo too.
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