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Tips for Landing a Job in IT


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Source: http://certcities.com/editorial/fea...EditorialsID=68

When you're an aspiring IT professional, every piece of advice can help. That's why we asked our interviewees to share their best advice with us. Here's their top tips:

Make sure IT is what you really want to do: If you do not love IT, working in IT will eat you alive. "Don't jump into the IT industry unless you're completely in love with it," warned McCormick. "Most people looking to get into IT are focused on the money and don't take the professional hazards into consideration - long and variable hours, constant pressure, the never ending need to keep learning and upgrading, etc. You need to come into this industry looking for more than a paycheck."

Be realistic: An IT newbie might land a systems administrator job right off the bat, but chances are that newbie won't be able to do that job right away, and the sharp learning curve can be an enthusiasm killer. Turgeon recommends that those who enter the IT field avoid the temptation of trying for a meteoric rise in the industry. "Resolve to enter the IT field at or near the bottom and WORK your way upward," Turgeon recommended. "It will be hard but immensely satisfying." But don't sell yourself short. "Whatever you do, make those goals high but reachable," Lorenze recommended. "You know you, and you know what you're capable of doing. Set your goals just above that, once those goals are met, make new ones."

Resolve that you will be a great tech: "In a lot of situations in the IT field, you get hired for one job and end up having to learn or do an additional job along with the one you were doing already," Howze said. "This is good for a person, actually. The more you can do or knowledge you have about your particular field the more marketable or skilled you are."

Start small: You need to get that experience. Internships and volunteer positions are especially good places to start. When you get that first paying IT job, small companies often are better choices than larger corporations. "Most of the time, smaller companies can not afford a full-time technical person," Clark said "So they might hire you to do 50 percent administrative work and the remainder of time you can work on their IT needs."

Network, network, network: Let your peers in the IT community, especially those with the resources to employ you, know that you exist and you're worth a shot. "These days, such a large percentage of jobs are filled by a friend of a friend," Clark said. "Especially when you are an unproved commodity -- no experience in the IT field. The best way to get your foot in the door is to follow the path of least resistance through someone who already knows you as a person."

Be ready to work hard before -- and after -- you land that first job: "Its really hard these days to get into a job but very easy to lose that job," Howze cautioned. "Companies these days are really picky about who they hire and watch employees close."

Never stop learning: IT skills are not set for life. If you go into IT, expect your job -- and what you'll have to know to do it -- to change constantly. "As the saying goes, 'If you're coasting, then you're going downhill,'" McCormick said. "I'm currently working towards certification on Windows 2003 Server. Even though it's not necessary for my current position, having the certification will help make me more marketable and pursuing it will force me to keep my skills sharp."

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