IT Career JumpStart

Feb 18 2009   3:51PM GMT

A Small Silver Lining?



Posted by: Ed Tittel
Tags:
Career development
Career planning
IT job search
IT skills development
job seeking skills
soft skills
soft skills development

Although I enjoy writing these blogs, I sometimes find myself wondering if they have any real impact. In the case of my Friday the 13th blog “How Can You Get a Job that Requires IT Experience, When You Have None?” I got a very nice email back from the person whose original correspondence with me served as its impetus. I reproduce most of it next, then follow up with some comments and observations:

Thank you for blogging about my experience. Before I made the decision to go down the IT path, I found a job for a PC-Tech-like job. A company needed an individual to handle PC/laptop upgrades. They stated A+ preferred but not required. I applied for the position and in my cover letter I listed out the same experience as in my email to you. Needless to say I got no response from the company but that is when I finally decided to get A+ certified. Being 38 years old and going back to school to start over was very difficult, at first. I knew that I could do it but was it where I should go career-wise? In other words without technically being in the field, should I try it?

Years back when I first started college, I took a career profile test to see what suited my personality. The results came back auto technician or detective. I am a car guy for sure and like guns too but, I have this thing about being shot at. So, for years I did car stereo, body shop and auto parts work until I finished college( Associates in Marketing). I spent 11 years at BMW (11 years at one car dealership is pretty much unheard of, tremendous turnover), then 11 months at a Porsche dealership as a service advisor, which felt like 11 years.

A majority of the jobs that I see now want years of experience with the certifications. I know that I have a good bit but not wanting to sell myself short, not enough PC and networking yet to be on my own. That is why I am looking for job environment that has some supervision. Like a large company that does PC and laptop exchanges, were I would transfer files, set permissions, network settings….etc. I did create a profile on ADP’s web site since they support car dealerships like Reynolds&Reynolds and also on RIM’s (Blackberry) site. I know that with some good mentoring, I will excel very quickly. When I started at BMW, I had to learn a lot on my own which taught me so much. I was skipped over several times for training yet I was still able to figure out and diagnose the cars. I have found a few possibilities on Dice, which does seem like the best tech job web site out of all the ones I have been on. I will keep you posted.

I see some emerging glimmers of hope in this reply and some good positive attempts to find work as well. I also continue to see more evidence of highly relevant experience that he’s still hesitant to claim. I’d urge him to make as much of that experience as possible, to stress his abilities to learn, solve problems, and deal with complex systems even in the absence of formal training to learn them.

I’d also urge him to look beyond Dice and other job sites, to ply his own personal network to look for opportunities. I’d also urge him to look for forums and message boards online where others are asking questions about tools and technologies he knows, and posting helpful information to answer those questions. This not only gives him a chance to flex some intellectual and problem-solving muscles, it will also give him something to point to in a job interview or cover letter as evidence of technical skills and a willingness to help and work with others (key ingredients for IT personnel of all stripes). I also recommended that he research PC repair depot operations in his local metro area, because such operations always have need of qualified repair technicians. So do big technology outlets such as Fry’s, Best Buy, Office Depot, and so forth. My final word to him: leave no stone unturned in your search for work. One job will surely lead to another thereafter.

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