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I graduated from college in December 2014 with a computer science BS degree. I have a 3.4 GPA and had two summer internships as a software developer with a top-tier tech company during my undergraduate study, and my last internship was with a so-called "rockstar" team. I've gained several very demanded skills from these internships. (big data and cloud computing related skills)

I accepted a full-time job offer in February 2015.

However, I'm a foreigner, and I experienced some trouble obtaining my work visa (EAD) due to some stupid mistake I made filling my work visa application forms. When my work visa finally came to me on December 2015, the company withdrew the offer.

Right now I just got my US green card through family immigration.

When I restarted searching for jobs I find myself no longer favored by the job market. I got a good amount of interviews and my job offer fairly easily during February 2015. Only several months ago I would still get 1 or 2 emails every month asking me if I'm interested in some decent job opportunities.

But suddenly I find companies ignoring my resume even if I have friends who work in these companies referring me while my resume have been polished by a couple of software developer friends. And I can't even get any responses from any company I applied for three weeks.

I've been doing algorithms problems to prepare for interviews, but didn't really do any projects on my own.

One of my friends told me not to explain the gap year at all in cover letters, but only try to sound positive by telling I hold a US green card.

Another friend suggests me to find a testing job first, then become a software developer, but I'm really not interested in pure testing work though.

I still claim myself to be a new graduate sometimes when applying for companies.

I've thought about taking nano-degrees with Udacity to reengage with the IT community and build up portfolio, but these nano-degrees take months to complete.

I have no financial concern, but I do hope to get a job as soon as possible. And I hope my salary won't be lower than my internships during college (about 40/hour + housing stipend).

I'm interested to hear from recruiters on the forum. What do you think about a gap year after college? Would it look suspicious to you? What kind of opportunities should I look for? Should I explain honestly about the paperwork problem I experienced last year in cover letters? Should I mention that I was holding a job offer all the time last year? How can I get recognized by the job market as soon as possible again? Should I get an online degree? Or do HackerRank problem all day long? Or make some mini projects of my own?

Should I significantly lower my expectation? Although my skills haven't change that much?

Thanks in advance.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., gnat, Dawny33, The Wandering Dev Manager, HorusKol Jan 24 '16 at 23:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – Jim G., gnat, Dawny33, The Wandering Dev Manager, HorusKol
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    Why even mention all the negative things at the start? Do take any job going in the field for a couple of years,. Do a project to build up a portfolio. Do visit recruiters. You have plenty on time - use it – Ed Heal Jan 23 '16 at 5:14
  • Hello Ed, what do you mean by "visit recruiters"? Suddenly no recruiters talk to me or respond me online anymore. Should I reach out directly on LinkedIn? – Freaked-out-college-graduate Jan 23 '16 at 5:20
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    Recruitment agencies do have offices - look up there address in the phone book. Dress up with a CV in hand and go along to them. Talking face to face and getting to know them does wonders. Better than being faceless at the end of an email. May even find a couple to help with the CV etc. Also see if you can get practice interviews. In the UK job centres and also NPOs do this Perhaps do some voluntary work in the meantime. That will be at least a reference and tell an employer you can get out of bed in the morning – Ed Heal Jan 23 '16 at 5:22
  • Sounds like a great idea! Thank you Ed. I'll try it. I and my friends did all the job hunting in universities or online in the past so I've never thought about traditional job agencies. – Freaked-out-college-graduate Jan 23 '16 at 5:27
  • People that work for on-line job agencies have to sit somewhere to do there job! Also make a note of there name and 'phone number. Call them once a week to inform them that you are still looking. People do like the personal touch – Ed Heal Jan 23 '16 at 5:28
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I've gained several very demanded skills from these internships.

OK. Prove it.

  1. Create a GitHub account and start your own project.
  2. Pick a problem that you can solve with your skills.
  3. Solve that problem as well as you can.
  4. Articulate your solution to that problem on the web (either on your GitHub account or on a personal blog).
  5. Then go to Meetups to find other people who are interested in solving similar problems with skills like yours. Don't be a wallflower. Mingle. Show enthusiasm. And demonstrate to people that you're smart, articulate, and resourceful.

Trust me - If you keep coding and keep engaging the developer community, you will get interviews. From there, your ability to secure a job is entirely predicated on your ability to sell yourself. Don't be afraid and never get down on yourself. You may need to interview at a handful of places before you find a job. But it will happen if you put your nose to the grindstone.

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    Thanks a lot! I do have some GitHub projects but I've been only concentrating on practicing interview problems lately. I should also go out and meet people. – Freaked-out-college-graduate Jan 23 '16 at 6:13

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