I remember trying to get my first job in IT back in early 2000.
I had no previous experience to add to my resume and there was stiff competition for every job due to the fact that the IT bubble was in the process of bursting due to the global failure of thousands of IT companies and service providers.
I knew that if I tried to follow the same process as my competitors I’d get nowhere. You know the deal, find a job on a job site, complete the application and wait for the phone to ring which it never does. So, I decided to make a plan which would avoid all the pain and hassle and get me a job doing what I really enjoyed for a great company. That’s exactly what happened a few weeks.
Let me share my process with you.
- Get some certifications. Don’t expect a company to hire you with no experience if you are too lazy to do some self study and pass some exams. Get a strong foundation with the Network+, Cisco CCNA etc. Read more about what to study here.
- Get any hands-on experience you can. Do some IT support where you work, find friends and relatives who work in offices which need some IT services. Get a business card printed and go out and do some basic support. I volunteered to teach email where I was and added that to my resume.
- Network with all friends and relatives. Tell them what sort of IT job you are looking for and ask if they can recommend you to their IT manager. Warm introductions are far preferred to cold calling.
- Look for jobs with an immediate start. It may be hard if you have to work notice but if you can take holiday time and start right away you are far more likely to be hired because the vacancy needs filling ASAP.
- Be presentable. You would be shocked at the poor effort people put into presenting themselves for interviews. Dress smart, appear enthusiastic and interested in the role and the company. Research what they do and what the role involves.
- Track and measure everything. I made a note of every job I applied for. Who I spoke to, what the role involved etc. in a spreadsheet. If I got a call back I could quickly see at what stage my application was and what was involved. There is nothing worse than not being able to recall which job you applied for when the company boss calls you to discuss the role.
- Treat it like a project. Put in time every day to apply, follow up, network. Adjust what isn’t working and eventually you will succeed. Most people will quit far too early but if you treat it like a process then you will outlast the competition.
I go into far more detail about getting in front of decision makers, technical interviews and negotiating your salary in my Land Your First IT Job video training course.