“I’m having a really hard time getting my foot in the door as far as a job. Please see my updated resume and cover letter attached. If you can help me in anyway it will be greatly appreciated.”
After suggesting to take a look into his/her interview and soft skills I received the reply…
“I know it is my interview skills. When I was interviewing for a ABC position I am very confident, I can ace those interviews because I know ABC like the back of my hand. IT interviews is rough for me, I have to build my confidence in that area. I need a job badly, maybe I need to go back to ABC.”
First off no no no no — I shouldn’t probably be saying this but if you can afford it, stay in IT. The IT industry is only growing bigger and more in demand so why go back to a job that’s been around for 30+ years where there’s a brand new field of IT ready for the taking!? (besides, there’s alot more competition in other industries, IMO)
Getting certified in IT is only half the battle. Actually I would go as far to say only 20% of the fight. Certs are nice and all, but if you arent a pleasant person to be around, shy, timid, unconfident during interviews, it will hurt your chances to land a job. I’ve personally gotten jobs over my experience level, beating out guys much older than me just because I presented myself in a confident and sure-fire way to my employer.
Looking for a job is like dating, you need to make a first good impression and you only got one shot to make it happen.
Sleep well the day before. Make sure that suit is pressed. Get a haircut, shave, or leave the 5 oclock shadow if thats your style. Make sure you walk in like your the man/woman – because you are. You studied all those weekends and months while all your friends were hanging out on the weekends at the bar or watching the latest TV show. You put your time and effort into something some people haven’t. Of course you deserve that job (assuming you fit what they are looking for).
Interviews is alot like dating/matchmaking. Employer needs ABC skills and you offer BCD skills. Of course there will rarely be a perfect match of skill sets. Its like when somone says “i am looking for blue eyes, blonde hair, 6″2, dark, sexy eyes….” and you see them with someone who doesnt even match that. Interviews are the same, they know they cant find their perfect match. Chances are it doesnt even exist out there. No one can know Citrix, Exchange, Windows, SQL, Cisco, VMware, Apache, Linux, etc, etc and be GOOD at all of them. Generally IT professionals have 2,3 core skill sets and everything else is average. Only the seasoned guys with years upon years of experience could say they are good at “everything” but thats why you pay a premium when you hire guys like that.
So don’t worry about “not meeting all the requirements”. You don’t know whats on the other side of that job description. Apply anyway if you feel you can do the job honestly.
If you had a sickness, would you go get operation with a generalists or a specialist? Probably the specialist right? I trust the specialist will know more than the generalist in my surgery, and unlike IT, there are no “do-overs” or lets RMA a replacement switch or get a spare part in case it doenst work we’ll “reboot it”. Last I checked, if you sawed off the wrong leg, there is no “Reboot” button on a human to make it appear again — or a Snapshot to revert to the time before the surgery :) Of course, the specalist has honed his skills to maybe 2-3 skills that hes REALLY good at. And chances are, he/she got a long track record to prove to his/her clients that they know their stuff!
You should be the same. In the beginning, be that generalist. Get to know little bit of everything in the human body before operating (or in IT, what goes into a typical company). Know all the parts of a company so that when its time for a client/employer to see what you can offer, you can say you offer specialist skillsets or specialist skillsets. As the years go on, you can focus on what really interests you and hone in on those skills.
Finally, I always bring this up — personal development. Read up book to help you better with soft skills like some of my top favs…
How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Caringe
How to Make People like you in 90 Seconds by Nicholas Boothman
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
Ziglar on Selling by Zig Ziglar
7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
Winning with People by John Maxwell
How to Master Your Time by Brian Tracey
These books not only help you with your IT career but with your life as a whole!