Help! Information Technology (IT) Experience Required?
by Holly Nash, Career Services Department
Like many of your fellow students, you chose to attend Laurus College, and decided that a career in Information Technologies (IT) & Network Systems was the best path for your future. When you begin searching for a position in your field, whether you are a current student or graduate, you will be asked about relevant experience. The age-old challenge is: how do I get a job without experience and how do I get experience without a job?
First and foremost, you must believe in yourself and that you have valuable skills to offer any company you’re applying to. You must also believe there are jobs out there that are in need of your skills. When you begin interviewing, that’s when you must sell your skills.
The toughest part of finding a job without experience is that you’ll most likely have to start at the bottom of the totem pole. This does not mean you should lower your goals, but it does mean you may need to be more realistic. You’ve chosen a competitive field based on education, skills, and experience. In the Information Technology (IT) field, you’ll be asked to “show what you can do”, and getting a foot in the door without any connections can be challenging.
Seeking out a company that offers internships while you are a current student or graduate is a great way to build your resume. Take a look at each company’s website – internships are often listed there.
Keep in mind that jobs and internships are not the only ways to gain experience. Take it upon yourself to become the support person for your family and friend’s computers. Help someone build a website. Read books, attend webinars, or create tutorials. Build a home computer. All of these can be included on your resume and talked about in a job interview. In combination with your Occupational Associate Degree in Information Technologies (IT) & Network Systems, you can become a great candidate!
Let’s not forget networking! An easy way to tackle networking is to narrow it down to the field you want to work in (in this case, Information Technology). One way to do this is to start with your LinkedIn profile and begin building your network. By following industry leaders, you will expand your network exponentially. You can join “Groups” in your industry and connect with individuals within those groups. You can also use Meetup to find other Information Technology (IT) groups locally and get involved with them.
It is essential that your resume be at its best and reflect the keywords used in the job description. Keywords are critical because many companies use electronic scanning as a first pass in resume reviews. They can rank you by not only the number of keywords used but also if they are being used correctly in the context of your resume. For help finding the right keywords and strategic terms to implement into your resume, contact the Career Services Department.
Your cover letter (which should accompany your resume) and personal website should also reflect the proper keywords and strategic terms for the Information Technology (IT) field. In general, words such as “team player”, “detail-oriented” and “results-driven” are out. Hiring managers want to see words like “improved”, “achieved” and “won” accompanied by supporting statistics.
These are just a few examples of things that can help you find a job. By no means is this a complete list – it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you are a current student or graduate and need assistance with finding work, please contact the Career Services Department.
We’re here to help all students in each of our five Occupational Associate Degree programs (Web Design, Medical Billing & Coding, Digital Arts & Computer Animation, Information Technologies & Network Systems, and Professional Business Systems). Call us today!
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