Here is the full interview that I did with Annie Fisher from CNN Money.
The IT talent shortage has gotten a lot of attention in the media, etc., but how hard is it to get a job in IT if you have only (re)training with no actual work experience?
If you are trying to enter the IT world then you have to enter at the right level, which is either as an intern or at the entry level help desk or desk top support level or administrative assistant in the IT Department. Certification programs/advanced training is a great start! But individuals will still need to start at the bottom, which may mean taking on an un-paid internship, which allows the individual the opportunity to prove to the perspective employer that this is the field they want to be in. Additionally, employers love to hear about outside passions and hobbies, so it’s critical to discuss your tech hobbies if you don’t have any actual work experience.
On a personal note, one of my favorite placements of all time was with the Monster Board in 1998. The Managers running the technology department were very young entrepreneurs. They told me that they were looking for junior people, a certification was acceptable, however, they didn’t want anyone old to manage because they were so young. I had them meet with 10 candidates in 1 day. When the interviews concluded, they asked me, who I thought that they liked and who I thought they didn’t like. Bottom-line, their favorite candidate was the older guy, who had just gotten his Microsoft Certification and he said something like, “I know this certification means nothing. I want an opportunity to learn and given the opportunity, I will deliver.”
A follow-up question to that would be, if employers prefer to hire people who have training *and* experience, then how can you get experience? Would a staffing firm like Talener have opportunities for would-be techies who’ve been trained but haven’t worked in the field (yet)? Or do contract/temp positions require experience as well?
Talener is the best friend to a candidate like this for a few reasons:
- We have established strong relationships with our clients at both the Management and Human Resources Levels, across industries who will interview candidates that we feel they would like, rather than only interviewing candidates for positions that might have the perfect resume.
- With such a shortage of Technology Talent out there right now, we are hearing more and more from our clients that they are looking for someone hungry, passionate and enthusiastic and you can’t spell hungry on a resume. Our staff interviews the candidates ahead of time and gets to know them on a deeper level and therefore we do a much better job representing that candidate to our clients. We then take that information to the hiring manager and strongly suggest, and in some cases, insist on the interview.
An individual can gain the experience by joining a company at the right level or by joining the right type of company.If an individual has no experience and is passionate about wanting to work in IT, then join a technology company, even at the administrative level or in a non-technical function that you may be more qualified for. From there, learn by listening, asking questions and engaging with your coworkers at every opportunity and make it clear that you are passionate about technology and you would welcome an opportunity to transition into a pure more technical role whenever possible. If you can successfully prove yourself in your current role, eventually a position will be presented to you. You can expedite this internal transfer by taking advanced training classes independently and on your own time. Share that with the Technology team and get some insight from them as to what you should be studying. It might take a year or more, but we believe that it will happen.
There are a few other ways of working your way into a more technology role: Such as Project Management Office, Office Management, Pre-Sales, Professional Services and Support Contract positions at the entry level are a great opportunity, but few and far between.