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Here's my situation.

I've been working for this company for about six months while completing my MS degree. (I'll graduate this December.) My current salary is lower than the average in the industry and it doesn't look like I will get a salary hike any time soon. I want to move to a different company because with student loans and the cost of living, I barely have any money left over at the end of month. I plan to stay at my current company for a year or two and move on to a job that pays me better.

My friend who is an employee at an established company tells me that most companies either hire new grads or people with 5 years of experience at least. Anywhere in between, I'm out of luck. He advises me to quit my current job so that it can fall under the student's work experience and apply for jobs as a new grad.

How sound is this advice? I thought that with some kind of experience, you're in a better position to negotiate for a higher salary than the ones just out of school.

PS: I'm working as a software developer right now.

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    This question DOES NOT ask for advice about what skills to learn, what job to take, etc. – superM Dec 2 '13 at 15:05
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    I went ahead and reopened this post since it's more focused on the decision making process than on getting people to make a decision for the asker. There are likely many grads in a similar situation, and these answers can help them make an educated decision. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Dec 3 '13 at 2:45
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My friend who is an employee at an established company tells me that most companies either hire new grads or people with 5 years of experience at least. Anywhere in between, I'm out of luck. He advises me to quit my current job so that it can fall under the student's work experience and apply for jobs as a new grad.

How sound is this advice?

It's terrible advice.

When you graduate in December, you will have an advantage that few new graduates have. You will also have relevant experience. In addition, you will be looking during a time of year when there are fewer new graduates competing for the same positions. So it makes perfect sense to be looking for a job right now.

But why would you quit your job? That part makes no sense.

While your current job might not be the high-salaried position you desire, it does pay your bills. Thus, you won't feel as pressured to jump at the first offer as you would if you had no income. I always advise people to never leave their current job until they have accepted their next job.

Start looking for a job right away. Don't wait until your graduation.

But don't quit your current job until you find the job you really want.

And tell your friend "Thanks anyway."

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    Agreed - even if his friend is right, it would still be silly to quit in November and job-hunt after graduating in December. Job-hunt, find a great job, then quit. Or don't find a great job, and don't quit. – Carson63000 Nov 28 '13 at 21:57
  • Job hunting in December: dead in water. I think there are threads somewhere around about how hiring almost stops, while new budget is being settled, and starts few months later in the spring. And of course OP should keep the job he has, while looking for a better one. Just common sense, right? – Peter M. - stands for Monica May 5 '14 at 23:48
  • Good to know. Most cases in my life was Jan-Dec. First time in my life we are on Oct-Sept year. Not sure how common is Jan-Dec year, or any other. – Peter M. - stands for Monica May 6 '14 at 15:35
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I would play it the way you've got it - 1 year of experience and an MS degree. You will need to focus on improving your workplace skills and productivity - that's going to be the principal driver of your income. If you're in banking, for example, there are a few people that do well and a lot of people that do miserably - I keep walking into branches where I see people practically asleep at their desks. Most of these people are not going to get far.

If you're in a slow growth industry, you're going to see 'slow growth' wage increases, and if you're in a business that is dependent on a lot of government money, you're likely to get your legs cut off. Therefore, you need to think about the entire market you serve, and see if it's worth it. You might have to back up and take the other fork in the road.

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The advice by your friend is a high risk proposal

there are some facts which are required but not provided

  1. How bright is your academic track?
  2. what is your area of work?

Giving advice base upon assuming things at median..

You reason for change does not seem satisfactory enough..i quote "because with student loans and the cost of living, I barely have any money left over at the end of month" which essentially apply that you are able to pay off your loans and maintain a suitable residence but you are unable to save or have surplus money. At your stage it is not advisable to work for money i would have been glad to hear if the reason for change would have been "there is only repetitive work no real learning opportunity" or "The work is company specific and will not add any thing significant to my resume even after three years". I think best option is to consider your current job as extension of your college and stick to it for 2-3 yrs and i am sure there will be increments, at least two.

if you choose to go for a job change and there is a gap in resume then it wont look good.

My advice stick to your organization cut down on your expenses dont look at the starting packages of your batch mates.

EDIT

First job with a long stretch say 2-3 years add a stability factor to your resume and does make the recruiters feel comfortable about the attrition issue though its degree of relevance is different in different sectors.

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