Story by Angie Macedo, EWU Career Services
It isn’t every day that a tech giant invites Eastern Washington University onto its work campus, but that’s exactly what happened on September 30th, when 20 students from the computer science department were selected to participate in Passport to Google. EWU was one of 7 schools chosen to participate, and the only school East of the Cascades to be invited. This was an achievement not only for career services but also for the computer science department. Nate Bryant, Employer Relations Manager for Career Services, put it best, “After more than a year of coordination with Google recruiters, this point is a real testament to the effective collaboration between EWU faculty and staff to coordinate new recruitment opportunities for their students.”
The program, designed as a day of workshops and networking at the Seattle Google campus, provided students with the opportunity to pick the brains of Google recruiters and developers on various topics, including but not limited to mock interviews and the future of the tech industry. Students were able to see an interview demonstration between two software engineers that covered all bases from presenting yourself properly to, perhaps the most daunting aspect of a computer science interview, a live demo of the technical skills portion of interviewing. Stan Pichinevskiy, Career Advisor for STEM, accompanied the group and was able to share a few tips that the engineers gave to students who are thinking about applying to Google or any other major tech firm: (1) Have projects outside of the classroom, personal or academic (2) Practice technical problems on a white board or a laptop (3) Do online samples for the skills portion of interviewing (4) 2-3 prior internships look good on your resume (5) Do a mock interview (6) And, last but not least, do not let Google be your first interview.
Overall, the experience served as an eye-opener for the students. They learned that the stereotype of an overworked, anti-social coder simply isn’t true. Their interpersonal communication skills are just as important as their coding skills.
Career Services is currently planning more PROvisits; visits in which students are given the invaluable opportunity to meet and learn from industry professionals at their place of operation, to take place during the Fall quarter with Etailz, Odom, and Providence Sacred Heart. More information for these events can be found at ewu.edu/EagleAXIS, but remember space is limited so stay in touch with EWU Career Services social media for information on the latest events.
We talked with employers in a Twitter Chat about how Computer Science students can be more competitive at Career Fairs and in the job market. We hope that this chat removed some of the mystery and confusion that first-time fair go'ers can sometimes experience.
View the Full Twitter Job Chat: https://storify.com/ewucareers/ewujobchat-computer-science-and-career-fairs
- Emphasize programming/technical skills as well as projects and their outcomes on your resume. Include links to examples when possible.
- Research the companies you’re interested in before arriving at a career fair.
- Dress professionally. Visit our pinterest page for examples.
- Make eye contact, smile, and say hello. Shake their hand, and introduce yourself.
- Be engaged by asking questions about the company that aren’t readily available on their website and by offering information about your abilities and passion for the field.
- Employers not only look at technical skills, but also soft skills such as communication, stress management, confidence, and love of learning. Show them you’re the real deal by displaying these traits while talking to them and by providing examples when it seems appropriate.
- Ask for a business card so you can follow-up with them after the fair.
Special thanks to the following employers:
- Brittany Buna, Fast Enterprises (@FastEntCareers)
- Nathan Edminster, SMITH (@nato24)
- Christina Stolz, NextIT (@HRNextIT)
- Erica Herrold, Northwestern Mutual (@NM_Spokane)
Using Social Media to Boost Your Career
This Twitter Job Chat was full of great tips about how to use social media and technology to help your career. You can view a recap of the twitter chat at bitly.com/ewujobchat-6-15.
Here are a few takeaways from this chat:
- Employers are searching for more info about you including anything that might look like you might not fit into the organization’s culture and values.
- Set accounts that are for personal use to “private” in your settings. However, privacy settings are not a safety net.
- You’re going to be found online. Make sure it’s positive.
- Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see (depending on the grandma).
- Do a google search for your name to see what comes up. Remove anything questionable.
- LinkedIn is a vital tool for job searches, recruiting and networking.
- If an organization you’ve applied to visits your linkedIn profile, they are looking for more than what could fit on your resumé, so give them more.
- Research companies that contact you thoroughly and ask detailed questions to help rule out spam.
- One of the worst things you can do online is sharing personal beliefs in a way that’s meant to ignite hostility.
- Follow organizations on Facebook and twitter. They may post jobs there.
- Use Instagram to learn more about a company’s culture.
- Use social media to research a company before an interview.
- Social media, blogs, and websites can be a good way to showcase your expertise to potential employers.
Using LinkedIn to it’s full potential
- Joining “groups” in a field of interest. You can get up to 425% more profile views by joining groups. (source)
- Complete your summary section and by focusing on your skills and what you’ve done with them.
- Use a professional photo.
- Ask for LinkedIn references and endorsements from previous employers and colleagues.
- Post articles and updates on LinkedIn that show your knowledge in your field.
- Put links to projects within your profile to make it more engaging and meaningful.
What are some other career-boosting online tools other than Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin?
- Google Alerts – Set up email alerts such as when your name is used online or when a company you like posts a new job in your field.
- IFTT – Stands for “If this then that”. Create “recipes” that do tasks for you, such as “If I post on my blog, then post it on Facebook”.
- mindsumo.com – Mini internships for college students.
- grammarly.com – Chrome browser extension that alerts you to grammar issues on anything you write online.
- Glassdoor – Get insight about companies from people who have actually worked there. You can also get salary info, search for jobs, and leave your own review.
- Aftercollege.com – Job search engine that connects college students and alumni with employers
- WordPress – If you’re lacking experience in your field, consider starting a blog to prove your knowledge in the field and include links to specific projects. Put the link on your resumé and LinkedIn profile.
“Remember, there are humans on the other side of computer-mediated communication. Treat everyone with respect.”
Lance Kissler, Digital Marketing Manager at STCU and Quarterly Faculty in Communication Studies at EWU
Special thanks to the following participants:
- Sam Buzby ( – Web Communications Consultant, EWU Marketing and Communications
- Lance Kissler ( – Digital Marketing Manager at STCU and Quarterly Faculty in Communication Studies at EWU
- Jenica Jett () – Marketing Specialist, EWU Career Services
- Stu Steiner ( – Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, EWU
We survived our first Twitter Job Chat! For those of you that missed it, never fear. Here are some main points we took away from the chat:
- Make eye contact.
- Present yourself with confidence.
- Dress appropriately – when in doubt, go business professional.
- Make every interaction count, including the phone call to schedule an interview.
- Practice professional interaction with your peers so you feel more comfortable in a professional setting.
- Show interest in the conversation through verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Make interviews a conversation.
- Always act professionally when meeting new people. You never know who you’re talking to. They could be your next co-worker, supervisor, or connection to your dream job!
- Arrive early to interviews and to your first day on the job.
- Informational interviews help you learn about a profession, show that you are willing to go above and beyond, and help an employer get to know you.
- Send handwritten thank you notes.
- Take initiative and introduce yourself.
- Ask questions relevant to the job.
Special thanks to our participating employers for their valuable insight:
Brittany Buna, Former Recruiter at Fast Enterprises
Daphne Williams, HR Professional at Kauffman & Associates
Kimberly Davis, Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at EWU