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Overcoming hurdles

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by spammeh, May 31, 2007.

  1. spammeh

    spammeh Bit Poster

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    hello all,

    I've been recently lurking these forums and there's been lots of valuable information which I'm thankful for.

    I recently passed my A+ but I'm currently finding it rather tough to get my foot in the door, since i haven't had any commercial experience and there are gaps in employment :(

    Is there a way to overcome these barriers somehow?

    I enclosed my CV and Cover letter incase someone can spot something else that might be getting in the way.
     
    Certifications: A+
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  2. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    What sort of jobs are you applying for? A lack of commercial experience isn't a huge barrier if you're applying for true entry-level jobs. However, if you're applying for system/network admin jobs, which typically require a bit of real-world experience, then a lack of commercial experience IS a barrier.

    Only way to solve it is to get your foot in the door with an entry-level job and start building that real-world experience.

    Unfortunately, there's no cure for gaps in employment other than to not let it happen in the future. Sometimes you can account for those employment gaps if you're going to school or raising a family during those times... but if you're simply unemployed and idle, there's not much you can do to make that sound better to an employer.
     
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  3. spammeh

    spammeh Bit Poster

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    I've been applying for junior support and helpdesk positions so far.

    There doesn't seem to be many entry level positions compared to the ones that require a fair bit of experience.
     
    Certifications: A+
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  4. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    edit your personal details out mate
    im sure you dont want bogus phone calls to your house, or even worse SPAM to your mailbox...
     
  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Where are you finding these jobs listed? Jobs that are listed in the paper or on online job search engines are looked at by EVERYONE. Thus, the competition is quite intense... you *really* have to stand out to make yourself noticed. Quite often, some unemployed guy with IT experience will apply for a job that doesn't require experience just to put food on the table, and get the job.

    What you need to find are those "hidden" jobs. That's where networking is crucial to a job search... not networking with wires, but with people. Techs already in the industry can let you know when jobs open up or are about to open up where they work. If you don't know any IT folks in your area, there are usually IT professional organizations where you can meet and interact with some. Posting on forums such as these is also helpful to get to know people... I've met quite a few in person in my years online, and some of the forum members here meet together every now and then.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  6. spammeh

    spammeh Bit Poster

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    yep I've been looking online mostly for junior IT support positions and also have sent out a whole lot of speculative letters to IT support companies around london.

    Thanks for the advice, I'll see what I do about the networking :o
     
    Certifications: A+
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  7. Luddym

    Luddym Megabyte Poster

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    Gaps in employment are very very hard to overcome.

    I had around 4 year experience in first line / little second line, but left my job in 2004 to travel and pursue some personal things. (including writing a book, playing poker and studying for some of my certs.) Then when i tried getting into work it felt like my gap was a HUGE barrier. I'm not sure how big your gaps were, so what I've just said might be completely irrelevant. :biggrin

    If possible, try to explain the gaps on the CV, if they don't show you in a bad light as i've experienced employers seeing gaps over a few months and just dismissing the applicant.
     
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  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1475221.stm

    This is widespread practice. Not that I'm condoning it.

    The point is the CV is the sales brochure to get you the interview, just like any other sales brochure you can gloss a little.

    The interview is the sales pitch.

    Then theres normally a trail period where you have to prove you can come up with the goods.

    If the gaps are small (1-3 months) and several years in the past I'd consider just moving the dates, no ones really gonna care as long as you are competent in your job. In fact most people will ignore these gaps anyway. This to me is an acceptable white lie, and it will allow you to put food on the table for your family etc. I think its important to get real in this fact, corruption in certain places is endemic and these people will be prepared to do far more to secure the job!

    I've seen CV's from overseas applicants where I suspect all the experience and the qualifications were bogus, once i was trusting, I then had to sack the said individuals and begin recruiting again. So no I'm not advocating out right bare faced lies on your CV, just some degree of realism.

    MP's have publicly admitted lying on their CV's and they are supposed to be examples to society no ?
     
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  9. spammeh

    spammeh Bit Poster

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    ah my gap - I spent 1 year abroad and then returning home to start studying my A+ and picking up jujitsu.

    The gap does really seem like a biggest deal breaker since all the recruitment agencies that have contacted me have pointed it out.

    Here's my CV again - this time without my personal details :oops:
     

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  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Your CV looks fine to me in general.

    In this case I would ignore the recruiters, always take constructive criticism but remember they may not be right. Many recruiters have no real training as a career advisor or knowledge of IT. They are the equivalent of the Estate Agent only you are the commodity they are trading ! They often want to place as many candidates as quickly as possible to earn their commissions. As an entry level candidate you might not be considered easy to place.

    You have no industry experience, I would state this as the reason you find it hard to break into IT. Many other people in the forum have the same problem.

    I myself had trouble breaking into IT eleven years ago with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Science. The situation will doubtless not be any easier now. Remember you are entering the job 'market', for every position there will probably be multiple candidates, these people may have alot of qualifications or experience. Every year around now thousands more graduates enter the market all newly qualifed looking for jobs.

    You just have to keep plugging away, read all the job hunting advice you can and apply it and hope you will get a lucky break !
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  11. Pete01

    Pete01 Kilobyte Poster

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    Yeah keep plugging away and emphasise the customer facing stuff. Entry level roles tend to be more customer facing than tech.

    I'd also mention you’re a+ in the opening paragraph and change the word "individual" for something a bit more focused to the role you're applying for, so instead of:

    "A highly motivated and skilled individual"

    You could say something like:

    Highly motivated A+ certified helpdesk operator seeks exciting new role in lively team oriented environment. I have extensive client facing experience gained through several years of….."

    I bold the important 'hit them between the eyes' points (like A+ certified and extensive client facing experience) as well, so you might want to play around with that.

    When the CV opens up in Word a lot of it is underlined in green showing less than perfect grammar, you should tidy that up as that is how it will show on the recipient's computers. Analy retentive attention to detail is a must for CV's which is hard when you want to fit it all into a small space but that's all part of the challenge.

    I think the gap in your employment can be tackled in your cover letter, if it was a year travelling abroad then you could turn that into a positive to work in your favour - there is absolutely nothing wrong with travelling so you can give a subtle passing mention to a year abroad so as to answer the gap in the employment question. Something like:

    "Having returned from an eye opening year out travelling I am now ready to hit the ground running…" I think you can turn a negative into a positive here

    It's perfectly OK to go on to 2 pages as well so maybe you should detail some of the tasks you performed in past jobs that are particularly relevant to the roles you are applying for now - customer facing.

    Oh did I mention how important it is to emphasise customer facing skills for entry level roles? :p
     
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  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I'd highly recommend against doing this. It's highly unethical, and if you're ever caught (IT is a small world in the grand scheme of things - people know people), you'll find it difficult to EVER get work again. A lack of integrity is an immediate career buster.

    If you think I'm just saying what MIGHT happen, I can assure you that in the last batch of applicant resumes I saw, 5 resumes floated to the top... and 3 of them had references to employers who I knew personally who I could call to find out whether employment dates had been "stretched".

    Go ahead and do it, if you think it's OK to do... but consider this fair warning. I hope you do the right thing.
     
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  13. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Bill Gates famously rewrote history in his road ahead, didn't affect his career much ;)

    http://astore.amazon.com/eastsidebusin-20/detail/0670861448

    It might be different in the US but its now common in the UK for people to take a year out or a sabbatical so I'd just mention this without being ashamed if thats the case. Also many people on projects with tight deadlines arent allowed to take their holiday until the project ends or they may be contract workers where holiday is unpaid. The reverse may also be true, my last senior manager was from europe where it seems common for many people to take the whole of august off, you would never be able to see this on their CV however.

    A month here or there is no major crime, as has been discussed with statistics the dates can be skewed by various factors such as leave taken or untaken, or just by rounding up or down to the nearest month. Why spend your interview disscussing when you took your last holiday instead of your experience and what you can offer?

    Many people make much bigger ethical mistakes in their day to day jobs...
     
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  14. BosonMichael
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    One instance where it didn't bite someone on the butt doesn't make it right.

    Besides, if you want to post anecdotal evidence of why someone should lie on a resume because it helped Bill Gates, I can post dozens of anecdotes showing people who got screwed by falsifying resumes.

    If you'd rather use logic and reason rather than anecdotal evidence, there are plenty of articles that warn against resume falsification.
    From Monster.com:

    From Military.com:

    From TempNet:

    And from HarperCollins:

    From Management-Issues.com and CareerBuilder:

    From NFIB:

    So... do you want to take the chance that you'll be the next Bill Gates? It's more likely you'll simply be one of the others who get caught in a lie, either now or in the future. The chances you'll be discovered will only rise in the Information Age:
     
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  15. Tartanbill

    Tartanbill Bit Poster

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    I've had a look at your CV and to be honest, the layout is far from fantastic.

    As soon as I open it up my eyes are drawn to the centre of the page and shows the non-IT related work that you have done, thus lowering my expectations of you and it's only if I bother to read down that I see what you have studied and any certifications you have.

    What you want to do is draw immediate attention to your profile at the job (sell yourself) before listing your skills and any certifications you have - in that order.

    Then once a potential employer knows that you have technical aptitude and have recent IT achievemen you can think about glossing over any non-IT related experience that you have.

    It's all about presentation!
     
  16. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I wouldn't reccomend that anyone should lie, but there are ways to present yourself in a better light. For instance if my employment ended on the 15th September I could write September 2007 or October 2007 if I choose to only enter only the month. Its all semantics.

    What if I take paternity leave should I put that on my CV ?

    What if I'm not allowed to take my annual holiday and I leave ? Do I put my leave date or can I add on my holiday entitlement ?

    Ethics is a complex issue.

    If you look at entrepreneurs in general they frequently bend the rules in such mannners. Many in fact break the law but i'm not advocating that, just look at the headlines even just for IT companies!

    If you consider other companies many are directly affecting peoples lives adversely, underpaying, environmental damage, developing harmful products, wrongly targetted marketing. Many of these same companies are the companies that you are heralding as upholding ethics through their CV checking.

    In anycase as I later noticed if you look at the thread the candidate has no relevant IT experience. They are talking about their experience in shops and a year out which I have already stated should be largely irrelevant.
     
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  17. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Filling employment gaps by not stating your correct employment dates IS lying, which is what you're condoning.

    If you leave your job on the 15th September, you could write September 2007. You could *not* write October 2007, because that is not accurate. That's the sort of thing those articles I linked are directly addressing. If I called to verify your employment dates, and you listed October rather than September, I'd toss your resume directly into the trash.

    You can say you're not advocating it all you want... but you are. Especially when you assert, "If entrepreneurs and companies bend the rules, why shouldn't we be able to do so?"

    I never said companies "uphold ethics". They simply check to see if YOU are following ethics. You're using the logical fallacy of misdirection when you bring in irrelevancies to the argument, such as, as you state, "affecting peoples lives adversely, underpaying, environmental damage, developing harmful products, wrongly targetted marketing". None of that has anything to do with people lying on a resume. This argument isn't about their shady practices; it's about yours.

    EDIT: I did not answer some of your other concerns. If an employment gap is troubling, and I'm interested in you as a candidate, I'll ask you about it. A paternity leave is perfectly acceptable. But misstating your employment dates is a sure-fire way to be summarily rejected. If you don't take holiday leave and you get compensated for it, you *always* put down what your former employer is going to tell others who inquire (and employment dates is one of the FEW things a former employer will reveal without hesitation). If your former employer tells a prospective employer something different than you indicate, no matter the reason, your resume will likely be trashed.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  18. spammeh

    spammeh Bit Poster

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    It's given me a lot of hope which I didn't have for a while. I've not really had this kind of support during my job hunting so far so thank you very much all!
     
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: N+

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