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Finally about to get my degree and I have some questions


Ruben Rivera Stafford, VA

Hello everyone, I am finally on my last two classes and hopefully I will complete my program mid July 2023. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor's with UMGC in Software Development and Security. Completing my education to this level has been my dream and goal of mine for more than a decade and even though I'm almost there it hasn't sunk in yet.

Anyways I've been going to school since I retired in 2017, I also completed a Full Stack Software Development boot camp and the Vet Tech program. I realize I have to start looking for jobs in a more aggressive way, I have in the past but sporadically and have gotten a couple of interviews mostly through networking and have been good experiences but I still feel lost, overwhelemed as to what my approach should be about getting my foot in the field. Should I apply to 20 plus jobs per day like some suggest and hopefully a couple of those write back, should I focus mostly on networking? face to face in meet ups maybe or Linkedin type networking? job fairs?

I'm working on optimizing my resume, portfolio and hopefully I'll have those ready in June. I do engage in Linkedin primarily and have some very good contacts but I feel I have focused so much on learning that thinking about getting that first job just feels overwhelming, but I know I have to start somewhere. I honestly don't have financial compensation as a top priority since I do have retirement as cushion but obvioulsy it's on the top three priorities. I just want to get my foot on the door but with calculated steps not doing it blindly. Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thank you

20 May 2023 6 replies Networking



Amit Chaudhary San Jose, CA

I have seen it better to apply totally to 10 positions and get 2 of them, which in turn means
-customizing resume for each application (cover letters are not that read & often not passed by the hiring system to interviewer)
-Trying to see via linked in connections if someone in company can refer you to it
-Looking to questions asked for that role and company on glassdoor and leetcode
-Going through systems design videos on youtube based on above
-Have a mentor whom you send weekly update on what was done and planned

-As a way to pay it forward, I can do one 30 minute audio call to cover anything, if it helps, msg me at or here with some timeslots and timezone (PST for me)
-Keep coding everyday

All the best and yes do more than learn


Fatima Bolyea Southfield, MI

Hi Ruben, congratulations on graduating and thank you for your service. There has been some great advice so far, which I won't reiterate. Here are a few points I did not see that might be helpful:

Look into STAR questions prior to your interviews, because those come up a lot. I saw a great post discussing these, at the featured questions page, here:

Have you met with your university's career services and veterans services departments? Both can be great tools.

I have seen many people post on LinkedIn to their networks letting them know they are open to work and sharing a little about themselves. The posts conclude asking their connections to like, share, or comment for reach. If you are open to that, I think it could be helpful.

Lastly, I am happy to take a quick look at your resume if you would like to reach out! And feel free to add me on LInkedIn.

You got this!
Fatima M. Bolyea



Hi Ruben, congrats on completing your degree!

Many tech companies have programs for veterans. For example, at amazon, you can drop an email to & request information for any upcoming internships.

Internships can be a great way for you to build expertise and brush up your resume. Look for programs that have tie-ups with tech companies as they hire exclusively from those boot camps at times.

Also, my partner works at Amazon in a tech role and we can help you with additional information.


Chad Eaves Barrington, IL

Hello Ruben,

I lived in Fredericksburg in the early 2000's, so I'm familiar with area. I worked in Crystal City and in the district at the time. Here is my advice for job hunting. I hope it helps.

Put in for the jobs you have to do if you're getting unemployment or something similar. Other than that, putting in for jobs blind is problematic on a number of levels.
- You are an unknown entity
- It can become soul crushing
- You're just making a recruiter's job easier by providing that person with numbers for them to hit their quotas
- Your resume can be used in contract bids without you knowing it and never getting hired to do that work

There is always the luck factor, but it's going to come down to you being able to showcase who you are to the right person. What does this mean? Marketing yourself to decision makers.
-Most people look for a job by starting at the bottom of the food chain (HR, recruiters, etc.). Find ways to connect with decision-makers who tell those people to hire you.
- Find out what their interests and concerns are, where they frequent, what is their favorite movie, sports team etc (a lot this can be found online)
- Use a spreadsheet of CRM to track your contacts and info about them. OnePageCRM is a great tool that starts at $10/month (
- When you find an opportunity or if there is an opportunity at a company you want to work, reach out to the owner, president, etc directly. Consider sending a note in the mail (not your resume) and include something you know they are passionate about (if they are fans a specific team, include a little gift). It will help you stay at or near the top of that person's mind. Most people don't do this at all.
- Create content that demonstrates your value. Write a LinkedIn blog once a week. Do a YouTube video. You can do a podcast, but that market is super saturated. On a video people can see you, not just hear you.
- Join associations and societies now while you can qualify for student rates (they are usually a lot less expensive)
- The goal is to get someone to ask you to send your resume to them. If you submit your resume online, you're likely reduced to hoping an algorithm selects you for further consideration.

A quick word on compensation. What you take now will heavily influence what you make in the future. A lot of people will try to take advantage of you getting a pension. Go for market value for what you offer!

It's hard work finding a job. Keep with it, Ruben!



Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello Ruben.
Congratulations on finishing your degree! It is a great feeling to work so long on an education, and to finally cross the finish line.

See the 30000 foot view, and you won't be overwhelmed by the job hunt. The way to view the job search, is that the job search will be your new DAY JOB! I would recommend not spending more than 8 hours a day at it, and it should generally be less than that. When you start out, every morning check job sites for new listings. Once you get a good handle on that, you may just need to check Mon-Wed-Fri each week. If you find a few positions you are interested in, target resumes to the company/position, and apply and send them a resume. This should be your daily routine. I never set a fixed number of resumes to send out every day, 20 as you said. Rather, evaluate the best job openings you are interested in, and make those your priority for the day. Spend the day applying and responding to those.

Also, as you said, you should be looking for job fairs in your area, doing some linkedin searching and making contacts and networking where possible. Frequently there are local job seeker groups that meet weekly or biweekly, look into those. You might make some contacts there. Also, here may be software clubs in your area too.

First get your resumes together. I put together a document to assist veterans in writing targeted resumes, and have updated it recently. Message me, and I will send you the latest version.

You said a high salary is not a priority for you. That is good for you, as you will be open to positions that someone, requiring higher salary, will not apply for. I believe high salary should not be a priority for first jobs, rather experience should be the priority. Once you have worked, and gained experience, then you can command higher pay. This strategy works best for YOU in both situations, first job, and after gaining experience.

Good luck, and many thanks for your service.


Richard Byrne Hillsborough, NJ

Apply for every job you are interested in.
Craft a targeted version of your resume & cover letter for each.

Commercial Summer Intern job search:

Federal Job searches:

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