Job Advice?

I am currently in the process of studying for my A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications. I have vast interest in computer hardware and software. I've also become very interested in networking and security over the past few months... In addition, while I have no official experience, I have over 5 years personal experience of working with all aspects of computers and electronics.

That said... I badly, no, desperately, need to get myself a job. I've been calling and filling out applications around my local area for months. This town does not seem to be hiring anyone in the computer industry (or any industry for that matter) without having a masters degree in quantum physics engineering from Harvard. I can't even get a job at a grocerie store for some unknown reason. I have encountered one or more of the following on my job hunt:

#1. Won't get hired due to lack of experience, but I can't get experience because no one will hire me...

#2. Not qualified. I don't understand why you need college degrees to stock shelves or unload trucks. But that seems to be the picture.

#3. They are not hiring period... This is 99% of the businesses in my area...

#4. Most places around here don't have paper applications, they are all electronic now. I have put in mulitple applications for serveral places but the only answer I get is "your application stays valid for 60 days, after that you are free to reapply".


So fourth and so on...

Any advice on how I can "get my in the door" so to speak? Or in other words, obtain even an entry level minimum wage job in the tech industry??.... I know computers. I love computers. I want a carrer in computers.

Thanks,
- Joey

Comments

  • janmikejanmike Member Posts: 3,076
    Joey,

    Your experience is a very common one. It's just the way the game is played. But, if you really want to work with computers, then don't take "No!" for an answer. Keep trying and you will eventually get a job--get a job doing anything. Just holding a job and being a good employee is a positive thing, of course.

    I have spent most of my adult life being involved in hobby electronics, and moved into computers "in self-defence", and got a little hands-on experience that way. When I decided that I wanted to change my career to a career in computer technology, I was sure to show that experience on my resume/application as personal skills associated with computing, or something like that. But, I also needed a job because I had been layed off when the people I worked for went out of business.

    I spent about 8 or 9 months answering ads and visiting businesses. During that time I had 2 interviews. I have no idea how many jobs that I applied for. Finally, I answered a newspaper ad. I took my resume, went to the business(an equipment rental store), and got hired, the lady said,"because of my computer experience", although the job was as a sales clerk. I had a chance to "show my stuff" a couple of times on the PC end. But, mostly, I was glad to have a job for $8.00 and hour renting equipment and sweeping the floors. That lasted 6 months. Then, they couldn't afford me anymore(typical family business situation).

    It took another 8 months to get a job with a government contractor, imaging and deploying PCs at a goverment facility. That lasted 2 months. Then another 3 months to land a 14-hour-a-week position where I work now(took 3 interviews, and knowing someone who worked there). But, now I'm full-time and a busy support technician after 2 more years.

    All of that time I was working on my certs--and I still am. It's not easy being patient. But, you must be.

    Hope this helps and encourages you to keep on trying. Good luck!
    "It doesn't matter, it's in the past!"--Rafiki
  • rarossraross Member Posts: 48 ■■□□□□□□□□
    In about 20 years you will need a college education to stock shelves :). Repairing the robots that do it for us :). But then again wouldnt they be able to repair themselves?
  • OpenSourceOpenSource Member Posts: 135
    @ janmike: Thanks for the advice. I've been applying for countless businesses for months now. Everything from stocking shelves to extremely limited computer technology jobs. After months of looking and countless applications, I have not received one e-mail. Not one phone call. And only one interview, which was with UPS and that was a bust. Basically, I'm just extremely frustrated and looking for any advice I can get that could possibly help me out in any way...

    - Joey
  • porengoporengo Member Posts: 343
    OpenSource,

    In your initial posting you stated, "Won't get hired due to lack of experience, but can't get experience because no one will hire me..." That's exactly why I founded TeamTechies. To provide individuals who are newly certified with the opportunity to obtain valuable hands-on experience by providing free or low cost service to non-profit organizations.

    For those who are either new to the IT field, or those who are currently in the field but would like to gain experience in other IT skills, the best way to do it is through non-profit organizations. Non-profits either have a very limited budget or are low on man-power. They are almost always greatful to have someone with technology experience offer their services. And the hands-on experience you obtain is invaluable.

    A good example of this is a project we've completed a few months ago. The non-profit had an office with just over 20 computers all using different operating systems. They were setup peer-to-peer with a network printer attached to one of the workstations which was used as a print server.

    We upgraded the OS of all workstations to Windows XP Pro (at $8 per user through techsoup.org), setup a primary and backup server using Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (at $160 per server through techsoup.org), networked the printer and moved them from peer-to-peer to client-server. Not something you'll be able to do working as an in-house tech for Geek Squad.

    You can find lots of non-profits looking for technical support at Idealist.org or VolunteerMatch.org. Give it a try...it can't hurt!

    Good luck!
  • OpenSourceOpenSource Member Posts: 135
    porengo wrote:
    OpenSource,

    In your initial posting you stated, "Won't get hired due to lack of experience, but can't get experience because no one will hire me..." That's exactly why I founded TeamTechies. To provide individuals who are newly certified with the opportunity to obtain valuable hands-on experience by providing free or low cost service to non-profit organizations.

    For those who are either new to the IT field, or those who are currently in the field but would like to gain experience in other IT skills, the best way to do it is through non-profit organizations. Non-profits either have a very limited budget or are low on man-power. They are almost always greatful to have someone with technology experience offer their services. And the hands-on experience you obtain is invaluable.

    A good example of this is a project we've completed a few months ago. The non-profit had an office with just over 20 computers all using different operating systems. They were setup peer-to-peer with a network printer attached to one of the workstations which was used as a print server.

    We upgraded the OS of all workstations to Windows XP Pro (at $8 per user through techsoup.org), setup a primary and backup server using Windows Server 2003 Enterprise (at $160 per server through techsoup.org), networked the printer and moved them from peer-to-peer to client-server. Not something you'll be able to do working as an in-house tech for Geek Squad.

    You can find lots of non-profits looking for technical support at Idealist.org or VolunteerMatch.org. Give it a try...it can't hurt!

    Good luck!

    Sounds interesting. Your website also appears to be of interest. That said, how would I get started in something like this???

    - Joey
  • porengoporengo Member Posts: 343
    If you'd like to volunteer through TeamTechies you can click on the "Volunteer" section of my Website (www.teamtechies.org). Don't forget to include a copy of your resume. This way we can match you with upcoming projects that fit your skill sets. :D
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Volunteering is a great way to get good experience and is very impressive to prospective employers.

    Going with the theme of showing initiative cold canvasing is a great idea. Send out letters to companies you want to work for. Thats how I got my very first bit of experience. I would have sent out at least a hundred letters and got some very positive responses, a lot of no responses and one 3 week work experience stint over a busy xmas period.

    This then led to a 3 month training/work experience stint at a major telco which I did for free but turned into a job. The rest is history.

    What you don't have in tech experience you have to make up for in enthusiasm and initiative. It does seem hopeless at times but stick with it.

    Also, if you have the opportunity, professional training on your career can help a lot with resumes, letter writing, interview techniques etc.
  • OpenSourceOpenSource Member Posts: 135
    @ porengo: Thanks for the advice. I am working on a new resume, so once I finish it up, I'll be sure to send it to you...

    - Joey
  • seuss_ssuesseuss_ssues Member Posts: 629
    OpenSource, or Joey whichever you prefer,

    On January 25, 2006 you said
    "I am currently in the process of studying for my A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications"

    How did you ever study and pass all of those plus Inet+ in the last couple of weeks? If you did then thats quiet an accomplishment. Hopefully you didnt resort to dumping to do so well.
  • OpenSourceOpenSource Member Posts: 135
    @ seuss_ssues:

    I've actually been studying for various exams (including CompTIA certs) for months... My wording may lead to wrong assumptions. Apologize.

    BTW: What do you mean by "resort to dumping"???
  • seuss_ssuesseuss_ssues Member Posts: 629
    Well brain dumping is basically cheating on the exams. It may seem like a good idea and give you a sure pass but in the end it only hurts you. Not only does it hurt you, but the more people that pass by brain dumping the less the certification is worth. The total quality of that cert is diminished and it loses respect.

    But luckily we have technotes and this forum......so brain dumping isnt needed.
  • keenonkeenon Member Posts: 1,922 ■■■■□□□□□□
    i read over your post and wanted to add


    1. look at the market in your area if its not moving you should look at moving.

    2. RESUME, RESUME RESUME...... no matter how many posts i make certain things can kill a perspective employer at giving your resume a second look.. honestly you have to catch them with the first.. so work a few different formats.. don't provide/say/explain the same job description/duties on each version but try to make them all uniquely different common methods ( bulleted tasks or summary description)

    NEVER, NEVER, EVER use a objective use a summary at the begining of a resume

    3. get familiar with PCs and MS.. yes i said it.. when times get thin you can atleast do OS related work, reinstalls, virus stuff, break fix , ect..

    also learn how to do cabling icon_wink.gif

    trust me i worked for about 2 years on personal and contract work..
    Become the stainless steel sharp knife in a drawer full of rusty spoons
  • OpenSourceOpenSource Member Posts: 135
    1. look at the market in your area if its not moving you should look at moving.

    Well, actually, we have about 6 months left on our apartment "contract" and my father should be retiring within the next 6 months, as well. That said, we are planning to move sometime between next summer and the beginning of 2007 back to my home town. My father also grew up in the town next to it, so we are both are very familiar with the area and know more people. I have my family there and there are lots of oppurtunities for the both of us. Once I move, I might not be doing computer work, but I will have no problem getting a job. In addition, we intend to open our own business within a year after we move...
    2. RESUME, RESUME RESUME...... no matter how many posts i make certain things can kill a perspective employer at giving your resume a second look.. honestly you have to catch them with the first.. so work a few different formats.. don't provide/say/explain the same job description/duties on each version but try to make them all uniquely different common methods ( bulleted tasks or summary description)

    I'm working on my resume. In fact, I'm almost done, just have a little more information to add and working on the format. I understand the importance of a resume, so I trying to make it right the first time.
    3. get familiar with PCs and MS.. yes i said it.. when times get thin you can atleast do OS related work, reinstalls, virus stuff, break fix , ect..

    Not a problem. I could probably get a job as a support technician if only I had the certifications. I'm very good with Windows and can troubleshoot nearly every problem as I've personally encountered much of it.
    also learn how to do cabling icon_wink.gif

    I am actually going to start making my own network cabling. I'm simply not happy with much of the network cables I find, and the retail stores are way over priced... I've made network cables in the past, but I don't have the tools currently...


    BTW: Don't worry. I would never resort to dumping. I have enough problem with short term memory (sometimes I don't even know what day it is or forget something 5 minutes after I'm told), so I am basically forced to learn the subject rather then simply memorize it to pass the test...

    - Joey
  • ubergeekubergeek Member Posts: 53 ■■□□□□□□□□
    that's great to hear. Goodluck on your endeavors. At least you have laid a plan. And good to hear that you won't resort to dumping. Certifications are achieved by learning and working hard.. and continuos learning since learning ain't stopping by only achieving the cert. A person resorting thru dumping is not worth calling certified.. pardon me by saying that.. :)
    Thank you for calling Cisco Technical Assistance Center.. This is Edward how may I help you?
  • squawk1500squawk1500 Member Posts: 51 ■■□□□□□□□□
    You have my utmost respect OpenSource. Those who fail are the ones that stop trying, like me. I spent over two years of my life learning about computers, networking, etc going to ITT and it cost me over 35 grand in the end. Studied for over 6 months for the CCNA losing my girlfriend and most my other friends in the process. After school I started looking for a job with no luck. Almost 6 months later having one interview that didn't go so good I just went and got my old job back at an injection molding plant as a production worker making 7.50 an hour. They almost didn't take me back because they where afraid I was going to take off on them and get an IT job. After two years of being gone everyone asked me, "why did you quit school?" or "I though you could get a job anywhere getting a degree from that school". To be honest with everyone my morale is at its lowest point ever in my life and I really don't care about anything anymore. I know that I can't change the past only the future, keep trying to tell myself that. Sorry for venting.
  • OpenSourceOpenSource Member Posts: 135
    You have my utmost respect OpenSource.

    Respect is earned, never automatic. So, I thank you...
    Those who fail are the ones that stop trying, like me.

    I may fail at things I do, but I will never stop trying. If you give up in everything you fail at, there is no point to life, besides mere existence.
    I spent over two years of my life learning about computers, networking, etc going to ITT and it cost me over 35 grand in the end. Studied for over 6 months for the CCNA losing my girlfriend and most my other friends in the process.

    My girlfriend practically hates me. Or shall I say she hates my computer. She finds me weird that I spend so much time with computers. Though I know she wants me to spend time with her, I tend to spend more time with a computer... Something she and everyone else will have the deal with, as I have already made my choice in life, and IT is that choice.
    After school I started looking for a job with no luck. Almost 6 months later having one interview that didn't go so good I just went and got my old job back at an injection molding plant as a production worker making 7.50 an hour. They almost didn't take me back because they where afraid I was going to take off on them and get an IT job. After two years of being gone everyone asked me, "why did you quit school?" or "I though you could get a job anywhere getting a degree from that school".

    I can relate. I stopped going to school when I was 16 and officially dropped out for awhile, as well... But I went back to school 6 months later and finished up my High School Diploma in June 2005.
    To be honest with everyone my morale is at its lowest point ever in my life and I really don't care about anything anymore. I know that I can't change the past only the future, keep trying to tell myself that. Sorry for venting.

    My life sucks brother, so I can definitely relate to that. I have spent the past few years of my life on and off of varying levels of depression. Right now, life is somewhat tough, especially mentally, emotionally and financially. Life has especially be crap since my step-mother passed away in June (she never saw me graduate).

    I basically feel the same way you do 95% of the time. "I don't care anymore", "Might as well just give up", "Life is pointless", stupid garbage like that. But I've been through all this (and worse) before and I know that I will come out of it, it's merely a matter of time and mental strength.

    As for your venting, don't worry, we all need a time and a place to get things off our minds. I suppose this is as good a place as any... So, that ends my rant for this morning... "Be Tough! - Mentally. Physically."

    - Joey
  • certificationjourney [bancertificationjourney [ban Inactive Imported Users Posts: 68 ■■□□□□□□□□
    squawk1500 wrote:
    You have my utmost respect OpenSource. Those who fail are the ones that stop trying, like me. I spent over two years of my life learning about computers, networking, etc going to ITT and it cost me over 35 grand in the end. Studied for over 6 months for the CCNA losing my girlfriend and most my other friends in the process. After school I started looking for a job with no luck. Almost 6 months later having one interview that didn't go so good I just went and got my old job back at an injection molding plant as a production worker making 7.50 an hour. They almost didn't take me back because they where afraid I was going to take off on them and get an IT job. After two years of being gone everyone asked me, "why did you quit school?" or "I though you could get a job anywhere getting a degree from that school". To be honest with everyone my morale is at its lowest point ever in my life and I really don't care about anything anymore. I know that I can't change the past only the future, keep trying to tell myself that. Sorry for venting.

    Where do you live? Maybe you need to relocate. Use headhunters( IT staffing firm) in your area. The jobs are there you just don't know how to find them. If I had your certs, I would be making big $$$. I am making 15/hr with no certs.
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