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Looking for career advice (resume critique, next certs, potential jobs)

skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone, I've been reading the forums for a while and finally decided to create an account and post. I recently passed my CCNA R&S and wanted to hear your opinions on what my plans are and hopefully have some resume critique from you. My end goal is to get into Network Security.

After passing CCNA, I was going for Network+ and then Security+ or CCNA Security, but I haven't seen as much promo CCNA Security as I have for Network+ (in job postings). After that, it was potentially CCNP or depending on where my career was at that point, then the next cert would be chosen. The problem is I am not currently working within the IT industry, and the only experience I have is 5-6yrs of Help Desk. Though, my help desk experience was within a financial institution, so I wanted to hear your thoughts about whether I could consider that 'traditional help desk experience'.

After all that text, and if you're still with me here, I've attached my resume to hear your thoughts on it. Feel free to be as raw as you may like since I would rather have a much more stronger, down to earth view on the whole scene, than to sugar-coat it. Also, what do you think are the positions I should be shooting for? I am very confident in my current knowledge of 'all things Cisco', but only as far as the CCNA-level. Thanks in advance for all your time.

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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    91 views so far, any tips? Am I asking the wrong questions? Should I search the forums more?
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Super busy but a lot of established IT security professionals have stated that getting the CCNA and networking knowledge is critical (at least what I have seen) Sorry just passing along some information I have seen. ***You have the CCNA I would avoid A+ and N+ personally they are expensive and have jumped over that level with the CCNA. Security + could help but I think getting a beginner networking gig would be the next move. Just my two cents.
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    petedudepetedude Member Posts: 1,510
    5-6 years of help desk should count for something.

    I haven't looked at the resume yet, so-- do you have a degree? Huge check box nowadays.
    Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
    --Will Rogers
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you both.

    Yes I have a degree, BBA (unrelated field - Accounting) and MBA (networks and telecommunications management). I have thought about skipping Net+ but thought it might/could help filling the blanks for job searches, etc. I would love to get a network position before continuing, but I don't want to be sitting idle while waiting for that to happen. Which is why I wanted to pick up net+ and security+.
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    matt333matt333 Member Posts: 276 ■■■■□□□□□□
    IT security field is a very tricky field to move into. I'd go for CCNA Sec and see what doors it opens.

    Your 5-6yrs at help desk is very valid and you should be able to move up to a sys admin/ net admin role as long as you have something to show for those years (aka projects you worked on)
    Studying: Automating Everything, network API's, Python etc.. 
    Certifications: CCNP, CCDP, JNCIP-DC, JNCIS-DevOps, JNCIS-ENT, JNCIS-SP
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Sadly that would be one of my concerns Matt333. I wanted to understand whether the help desk experience I got would compare or translate well into the IT field since it was aiding the services of a financial institution. It required me to troubleshoot a user's connection to internet banking site, which mainly consistent of checking for web browser and antivirus/firewall settings, remote desktop connections and if all else fails, open a ticket. The projects I participated on, again, were very non-related to IT and more related to the financial aspect of the services we provided.

    Is this comparable to a common help desk gig?
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    DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    Before you got into IT, what was your previous experience? Did you do anything other than IT, maybe accounting related? If so, how did it help you in IT? Having a diverse background may be an advantage in some cases, so I would like if you can clarify.
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    What I've done so far accounting-related revolves around daily accounting entries for different types of transactions (payments, write off debt, income adjustments), reconciling bank accounts on a daily and end of the month basis (cash, accounts receivable), identify reasons that help explain variances of actual vs budget.

    With financial services in general, banking services such as payments, transfers, account closing/opening, sales referrals, general customer service such as claims, credit card explanations, etc.
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Anything else I could consider?

    Thanks
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    adam220891adam220891 Member Posts: 164 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It seems kind of hard to get a networking job without direct experience. I know it seems counter-productive because the A+ is not nearly as hard as the CCNA, but if you want a quick 'in' with a help desk position, I would probably consider getting it. If you know you're stuff, you can go through it in probably two weeks. I wouldn't bother with the Network+ unless you have 250 bucks to spend and just want quick recognition for your resume (everyone knows the A+ and the N+).

    I couldn't get any calls back until I got my A+. I got the N+ and it picked up somewhat, and when I put the Microsoft Technology Associate on it (it's a lowly cert, but I guess the MS name attracts HR people), I've had a far higher % of calls. I'd suggest the MTA but honestly I am pretty confident your knowledge is beyond it, I only sought it because it was cheap (70 bucks) and lets me have Microsoft on my resume. Granted, I work at Lowe's still, because my school schedule has killed my job prospects (class 3 days a week, two at 930AM and 1 at 530PM) but since I'm done in five weeks time, I've put a few resumes out this week.

    I'm without experience though, and even though I'm working on the CCENT right now, it's hard to get into networking since I've got no prior experience.

    PS: Can't view resume
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for your reply Adam. Do you know, whether directly or indirectly, how does a help desk position translate into a networking job? The experience I had, which is starting to not seem similar to a traditional IT help desk, doesn't help me understand that. I didn't monitor network performance, nor did I troubleshoot "network" issues either. Filling a ticket with the steps to reproduce a problem aids the problem-solver, but it doesn't necessarily grant the skills to solve the problem to the "ticket-monkey" as I've read them being called. Maybe I'm looking too much into it, but I'd rather do that than not look into it enough.

    Thanks for your input ^^

    P.S. I was able to attach the resume successfully now.
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    adam220891adam220891 Member Posts: 164 ■■■□□□□□□□
    After talking with my professor and some people that work at the college, they pretty much agreed everyone starts at help desk, and even though it may not be networking, it shows you have knowledge of computers and if you have networking certifications, it shows your desire to advance.

    Your position is a bit odd. On one hand, it seems extremely relevant to IT and help desk. On the other hand, it sort of doesn't. I don't know if playing with the words and description can make it come off more technical/relevant, but it cannot hurt. I don't know if you're familiar with Windows Server, cabling, Citrix, etc, but if you are, put it down. If you did labs for the CCNA and have hands on experience, talk about it. I'm not a resume expert, but if you're getting into networking, they don't need to hear you are good at MS Office. I would think knowledge of VLANs, VPN, port security, etc. would be a bigger focus if you know about these things.

    I'm sure more experienced people will have better advice. It's a numbers thing, as well...so keep appyling.
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    wes allenwes allen Member Posts: 540 ■■■■■□□□□□
    You might look into technical positions within accounting / finance. Having experience in those industries already would make it easier for you to get into a tech position. Do you have contacts in those areas? Might be worth working those types of channels, rather then just what is posted on job sites. While you need tech skills, one of the trends in IT is to have people with knowledge of the business side of the house as well.

    i would skip the A+/N+ for sure. Sec+ might be helpful though. And if security is a goal, you might have a look at CISA with your accounting background. Auditing might be a good "in" for you to transition into something more technical if that is your long term goal.
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    Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Member Posts: 1,210
    Looking into a non-technical infosec position within your industry can turn out to be a nice move.

    As far as certs - don't count on the CCNA Security too much. This is an entry level cert and you are going to be disappointed if you expect it to land you a network security job. Look at it as a step in the right direction. What will get you into network security is a net admin kind of job. With 5-6 years of help desk and a CCNA, I would try to land a network admin role even if it is a junior one.
    Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for your contributions.

    I will look to develop the summary and technical sections of the resume a bit more towards the CCNA skills and the networking job I wish to obtain.

    Adam, I do not currently know about Windows Server or Citrix, though I'm looking to become familiar with Windows Server (and Active Directory) at least since it pops more often than not on the job postings I come across. I do know about cabling, and computer hardware as an enthusiast. I also agree with your initial statement of being relevant to IT and at the same time not; which is something I felt about my resume. Hopefully with the corrections planned, and the passing of CCNA, I can be more confident about stating the skills obtained and knowledge associated with it.

    I thank you all for your help.
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    ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    skeletor wrote: »
    Thanks for your reply Adam. Do you know, whether directly or indirectly, how does a help desk position translate into a networking job? The experience I had, which is starting to not seem similar to a traditional IT help desk, doesn't help me understand that. I didn't monitor network performance, nor did I troubleshoot "network" issues either. Filling a ticket with the steps to reproduce a problem aids the problem-solver, but it doesn't necessarily grant the skills to solve the problem to the "ticket-monkey" as I've read them being called. Maybe I'm looking too much into it, but I'd rather do that than not look into it enough.

    Thanks for your input ^^

    P.S. I was able to attach the resume successfully now.

    Often with a helpdesk position you will have some basic network troubleshooting, which will help you explain your troubleshooting methodology in an interview, as well as explain other troubleshooting you've done with applications (and projects that you've been part of).

    If you're on a helpdesk with an internal network, you will get exposure to VPN's and network outages, which will give opportunities to escelate calls to internal network groups and better understand the troubleshooting process from their perspective.

    I'd get into an IT role as immediately as possible if you want to get into IT, the path to a good job is more often than not a long road, unless you happen to rub the VP's shoulders the right way early on in your career. Good luck!
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    That's an amazing bit of information ande0255, thanks! Also agree on getting into IT as soon as I can. I'm planning to relocate soon, though I would love to at least secure an interview or two (considering I currently have a job). But life isn't so good in this part of the world and the decision has been made. Hopefully shortly after the relocation I'll find a suitable position, even if its a decent help desk one. All I want is to learn, learn, learn.
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    skeletorskeletor Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I've added the following under technical skills, and am looking for ways to integrate them into the summary. I feel I'm using the word "knowledge" way too much, and maybe grouping them under categories such as "Routing: OSPF, EIGRP, RIP...." "Switching: STP, port-security, etherchannel...." instead of using "knowledge".

    What do you guys think?

    Here's the copy:

    • Installation, configuration, management and troubleshooting of Cisco routers and switches.
    • Knowledge of Cisco IOS (CLI).
    • Knowledge of OSI layers, TCP/IP, LAN/WAN, DNS, DHCP, NAT/PAT, IPv4 and IPv6.
    • Knowledge of OSPF, EIGRP, RIP, syslog, SNMP and Netflow.
    • Knowledge of VLAN, STP, port security, ether-channel and ACL.
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