Career Advise: Certified but Jobless

Dear Jidaw:

I hope you are having a great day. I just finished reading your article: “5 Top Certification Mistakes To Avoid”. I could relate to everything you said about jumping from one certification to another.

And so, I am writing this email in hopes of getting some advice from you. I currently am in the process of getting my CCNP. I don't have whole lot of experience except for one company I worked for. After being laid off, I have been going to school to learn different skills. However, I am not sure what is the right thing to do any more because the job market is so tough.
It will be great if you can give me some insight.
Thank you for your assistance.




Dear SL,

Thanks for your compliments on my article. I commend you on your desire to acquire useful skills, this is necessary for growth. But you have to be realistic. If you have little experience, even with your CCNP you should aim low. I will strongly encourage you to seek an opportunity that shows a great deal of potential growth, where you will be compensated according to your experience, and which also affords you the opportunity to grow and develop professionally. This may mean taking less than what you desire now but you need to get a foot in the door first. In the IT industry there is no substitute for experience.

In addition, you need to have a career plan that will enable you achieve your long term career goals. This is a gradual step-by-step process. And when developing a career, you must know what you want and determine how to get it.
Set your professional short- and long-term goals and have a clear goal for each period you choose to address. For each goal, write down the practical knowledge you have that will help you accomplish it, your professional experiences that directly apply to the goal, and finally, what you must learn in the future to excel.

Here is some advise in your job hunting:
Craft a good resume where your previous employer, titles, terms of employment, and duties and responsibilities are all clearly defined. YOU MUST show that you have valuable skills to offer a company. And how you can make/save money for companies. Explain how your knowledge and ability benefited your previous employer.
How can you help a company save time, cut costs, cut expenses and increase revenues?
Send your resume to your target companies.
Before sending out resumes, do a little research on the company, and then tailor your resume to each potential position. Highlight specific technical skills that match up to the requirements of the job.

Network with other professionals; contact former colleagues and professional associates who know your work, network with your friends, family and acquaintances. Word-of-mouth and recruitment firms are the preferred IT recruiting tools of CIOs.
Sign up at job placement agencies. Apply for jobs online, Job hunt at job website you can find. And respond to newspaper ads. Be sure to include a unique cover letter for each resume you send.
Survey the local market. Small Companies are more prepared to invest in people with little experience.
Volunteer. Use this to gain of experience; but more importantly, valuable references.
Polish up on your interview skills. You are selling yourself and the company is the consumer.
Show that you are willing to learn on the job. You need lots of experience and you’re ready to work all the overtime you can.
What can set you apart is if you demonstrate that you have good communications / customer skills. Emphasize jobs you've had where you've had to work with people and your customer service skills. In the IT industry, a good personality DOES matter. Avoid a condescending attitude. During the interview, ask questions to find out what the company really cares about and what kind of employees they’re looking for.
Let the employers know they will benefit from your job performance

Your best strategy is to: get a job that will give you experience keep developing yourself make conscious decisions about your career directions.

All the best in your IT Career,

Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Publisher of Jidaw.com. Contact him at md@jidaw.com

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