I graduated with my Bachelors in Software Development back in April and I'm still struggling to find some kind of job. I've been looking for jobs for a little over a year and a half. Even when I was going through school I was looking and applying. I live in a small town of about 30,000 in Ohio. I've been looking in major cities that have all the postings, but even when I apply I get no response. I feel like my only option is to move to a place like Seattle or San Francisco.

I have a family to support so I can't just up and leave. Are there any tips to stand out? Tips to get a call? I feel like everyone is hiring, but no one gets hired. Unless there is just a boat load of people that apply. I even apply for jobs I'm not 100% qualified for. I'm just looking for that break. Any tips?

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    Something to keep in mind, wording matters a lot in the job application process. That single difference on this question basically would have made any application you sent my way be rejected, because it'd read like a fake degree (or otherwise one I don't recognize)..
    – enderland
    Aug 14 '17 at 19:36
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    I highly recommend against moving to Seattle or the Bay area despite the many employment opportunities, unless (as a fresh graduate) you want to live in poverty and a housing crisis. Your safest option is to look at locations nowhere near the coast that have a favorable income/expense ratio. Ohio is actually a good location - very low cost of living, and wages can be quite good comparatively. It may be the rust belt, but a career in IT can be quite good in the midwest.
    – user16626
    Aug 14 '17 at 19:38
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    Are your programming skills up-to-date? I'm a current Computer Science student and I can say for certain that most of the programming technologies taught (at least at my school) aren't always that marketable. I'm self-taught in more modern technologies.
    – colbin8r
    Aug 14 '17 at 19:44
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    Browse around on this site if you did not already do so. There are more questions about increasing your chances in the software world, what to put on a resume, etc.
    – user8036
    Aug 14 '17 at 19:47
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    I sent you a link to the site The Workplace Chat as I believe your question is more of a discussion than a Q/A type of question and I believe the quality of advice you will receive will be much better there.
    – enderland
    Aug 14 '17 at 19:59

I was out of work for five years due to a stroke.

Here's what I learned, this will apply to your situation as well, as these are ways to get you in the door.

  1. Get a job anywhere and volunteer your IT work at a hospital or other charity
  2. Get a job at a company that has it's own internal IT department, then apply as in internal candidate, you get precedence that way.
  3. Work for a box store that fixes computers, while you continue to apply. Some of them have internal IT positions as well.
  5. set up "informational interviews" with people who know you or people who know people who know you. This gets you exposure and builds a network. This may not DIRECTLY get you a job, but you will become known as a "go getter" in the local industry.
  6. Make it personal. If there is a phone number in a job req, CALL IT. There are plenty of "hidden jobs" that can be accessed this way.
  7. Freelance. Go to sites like gig guru or ratracerebellion.com
  8. Stay where you are. 80% of jobs are gotten through networking through friends and family, don't go to an area where you have no support
  9. Join local meetups of sci-fi and computer groups. This will increase your network, and they are also where employed IT people hang out.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, if I think of more, I'll add with edits

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    Number 4 and number 8 are ridiculously important. I am in a city with 9% unemployment and got 3 interviews in a month - know how many I got spamming my resume out on all the job sites? 0. They all came from people I didn't know but took the time to meet, whether it was through my network or reaching out to grow my network.
    – corsiKa
    Aug 14 '17 at 20:33
  • Freelancing is also a good idea. It would also help to have some interesting code on github to make you stand out once an employer bothers to read your resume. Oh, and having an attractive resume also helps.
    – 2rs2ts
    Aug 14 '17 at 23:15
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    #10 - If there aren't any local meetups, START ONE. Libraries can sometimes provide free space. You local Rotarians might help, too. And that leads me to: #11 - become a Rotarian. Seriously - an engineering / business leader organization? If they don't know of a job opening, they know someone who does. FANTASTIC bunch of people, too. Aug 15 '17 at 0:40
  • @corsiKa That cannot be stressed enough. Aug 15 '17 at 13:48

As it happens I have been looking for an entry level software engineering position in Ohio recently as well. Although I have been working in industry for a year, I am still looking at only entry level jobs. Here are some things Ive noticied about the market that influence how hard it is:

1 Skill set. Ohio is a Microsoft state. If you have primarily Java or C++ skills, you may find it harder to find a job than you would with .NET. There are still jobs, and you will still find one, but it may take longer.

2 Not all cities in Ohio are equal. Columbus and Cleveland are unquestionably the centers for software engineering in Ohio, with Cincinnati having fewer opportunities and Toledo being a poor option.

3 Many companies in Ohio are looking for cheap programmers, not software developers. If you just want money and experience, you may consider searching for these easier to find jobs.

As for the lack of response, this is just how job searching works. You can safely expect that even if you have an amazing resume, you will be ignored by 90% of recruiters. They get hundreds of resumes and dismiss the majority more or less at random. For this reason its good to deal with people you can email directly at the company rather than just Indeed.com etc. Another good option is to listen to third party recruiters who will do the same on your behalf. You may also want to see if the school you graduated from has any sort of job finding tools available to you, or perhaps if your school has a special relationship with any particular companies. For example Bowling Green State University sends a disproportionate number of graduates to Progressive in Cleveland, and HMBNet in Columbus. Shoot your former professors an email asking if they have any suggestions.

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