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How to deliver high value to a company?

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I really want to stand out from large pool of candidates, and I have few opportunities to impress an employer. Currently, I am seeking for entry level IT jobs, and I am trying to figure out that in what ways I could deliver high value to software companies as an entry level IT professional?

The positions I am interested are entry developer position such as, entry java developer, or .NET developer, web developer. Since I believe "less is more". What are few factors you believe which will help me to deliver high value and stand out from the rest?

Is it delivering projects by deadline?
Clear communication?
Steep learning curve?

How can I also make those factors measurable?
If "steep learning curve'" is a factor, then should I just say how long it actually takes me to complete a project or complete a training?

Brief Background About Me:
I am a college senior, certified java programmer, and a computer programming tutor for Visual Basic 2008 and Java. I also pursuing ASP.NET 3.5 certification before I complete my undergraduate studies. I have not done any internship, and I am only looking for permanent positions.
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It probably very much depends on particular situation in the company, interviewing person preferences, etc.

In my view, clear communication, and especially  delivering projects by deadline, ability to do things in time
and to spend a lot of time at work,  if necessary, is clearly the winning thing (assuming of course that you have
reasonable technical skills). Technology is changing quickly, true, but if you are able to get new stuff in three weeks rather than in two
weeks - that really does not make much difference in the long run for permanent position, and there are really very few people
who are able to deliver things in time and weigh what is reasonable and understand what is important and most urgent at each moment
 - there are surprisingly few folks who are logical and reasonable in this sense and have some practical attitudes.

But all that speed, reasonable attitude, and real abilities are probably most important when you are interviewed by say, a startup or at least
relatively small company. In big company - that is mostly just big bureacracy - an unless you are being interviewed by
some really wildly fluctuatiing division - then your formal things and this thing called "people skills"  (ability to smile to everyone at all times no matter what and how they are doing)  becomes much more important than any real knowledge or technology skills or ability to do a real job..

This is incredibly subjective, but in my experience you typically can't add high value to a company directly out of college.  My years as an undergraduate did 0% to prepare me for the post-collegiate workforce, and in hindsight I should've stayed with my internship positions a bit longer.

Directly out of college, I went to work for a telecommunications company in the internal IT department, and hated it.  I spent 8 hours a day on the phone, remote connected to someone's computer, helping them troubleshoot their problem so that they could get back to doing their job.  I was miserable.  I wanted to transfer to another department where there was a programmer vacancy, but that never happened.  So, instead, I looked for opportunities to apply my coding background where I was at.  I wrote some small utilities that helped automate various ActiveDirectory tasks, and lots of Windows script to automate the fixes to the problems that occured several times a day.  These tools saved my co-workers hours and hours of time, and it was then that my boss noticed and I was able to work on a new system with a proprietary language.... and then I was laid off.

I say all that to tell you that, and this is purely my own opinion, it's difficult to just show up as a new graduate and impress the company you're working for.  You're likely to be 1 of many, and the other people are likely to have years of experience on you.  Once you become familiar with the systems you're working with/on/around, then you'll be able to notice things that you know can be improved, replaced, removed, etc.  In my various jobs, about the only thing I've come to know to be true is that if you will take the initiative to take steps to remedy some problem, people will notice, and you'll eventually be recognized for doing so.  It just doesn't happen overnight.

If you want to stand out from your peers as a developer, then I would say you need to get active on your personal projects.  Find an open source project and start contributing.  I've never been in a hiring position, but I imagine it looks much stronger on a resume to say you implemented some module for some project instead of having the, "Fluent in C/C++/C#/Java/VB/Python/PERL/PHP/HTML/ASP/CSS/Blah/blah/blah" that every other applicant will put on their resume.  Again, barring the exceptions, as an entry-level, newly graduated potential employee... they're likely not looking for "value add," but rather, "This person can probably perform the tasks of this role, let's hire'em."  After you're in a position, then it's up to you to show them how valuable you really are.


I really appreciate your response.
It provided me some inputs to take additional steps in job searching e.g. looking for internship, participate in open source projects, developing ideal qualities etc.