Q

Seeking entry-level IT position, but lack 'hands-on experience'

I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Information Technology. I am also studying on my own for the A+ certification exam. I am currently employed as a sales manager with a telecommunications company. I have been trying for quite some time to obtain an entry-level position within the field. However, due to my lack of "hands on experience," it often is the case that I am not considered qualified.

I do not have enough time in the day (working full-time and going to school part-time) to apply for either an internship job or a part time job. But it seems as if employers are not willing to train new hires, regardless of the managerial or presentation skills one may have.

Can you tell me what you believe would be a possibility for me? I have hired many sales associates that may not have had the skill set required for the job. However, on many occasions, I have taken chances on individuals, trained them, and they ended being awesome employees. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Right now there are a growing number of skilled and experienced candidates on the marke, so employers are less likely to hire an individual requiring additional training when they can probably find numerous candidates with the exact background they're looking for. Because of this situation -- and as you hinted at -- you'll need to find some way to develop experience.

Have you considered volunteering at churches, schools or non-profit agencies? Volunteer work can take as little as one to two hours a week. These firms have Web sites and internal networks, and frequently can't afford the resources to adequately support them. In addition to honing skills and gaining experience, you'll also be developing valuable contacts and future potential references.

This brings up another key step you'll need to take: growing your professional network. With today's increased candidate pool, you'll need to differentiate yourself from other candidates any way you can. Developing relationships with individuals working within your targeted industry or specialty will open new doors. These relationships might help a hiring manager take a chance on you.

Look to organizations such as user groups, industry organizations, and local technology councils. A quick search on your favorite search engine should provide you with a wide variety or resources. Good luck!!

This was first published in May 2002
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