Does this sound familiar: Ideal job. Needs 3-5 years experience. But you only have 2? Thought so. Not to worry – you are not alone. How many times have we all been in this position – seeing our dream job but not having the right amount of experience. But, we ask, how are we ever supposed to get this job, if no one will ever take that chance on me to get the experience? It is a vicious circle that has really, no beginning or end. You can’t get that job without the experience, but you can’t get the experience without the job. Luckily, our staffing firm is here to help you overcome this catch 22 – because it is crucial to not only launch your career in NYC successfully, but to continue to rise and prosper over the long term. The key to becoming a successful IT professional is not only to figure out the ways to gain access to these very attractive opportunities but, when you get your foot in the door, to truly deliver and show whoever took that leap of faith on your that it was well worth it. There are so many more ways to qualify for a job than simply past experience – your potential value is made of experiences that go far beyond the desk and office space. The following four elements are strategies you should employ when going after that dream job that your professional credentials may fall slightly short of:
- Get supplemental credentials. Whether it is taking an extra proficiency or certification class at night at a local college or university, or doing a local internship or apprenticeship in an IT company, any further education in the field goes a long way. Not everyone has to have a college education – but showing your willingness to learn new things and keep up with latest trends and practices, goes a long way in potential employers eyes.
- Start creative (and relevant) projects. Building your skills and increasing your potential value through extracurricular personal projects is an invaluable way to keep yourself sharp and show your continued interest in your field. Whether you start a blog about computer programming techniques or tricks to fixing IT issues you’ve learned, or volunteer at a local school teaching kids about basic IT practices – all of this shows you are dedicated to this career path.
- Reimagine and reinterpret your life experiences. Not all skills come from things you have learned behind a desk or in a meeting. Have you ever planned a trip for all of your friends? Great project management skill. Have you helped a friend with a home renovation project? You must be very hands-on. All of these are non-professional skills that in fact, contribute to your success as an IT professional.
- Emphasize your soft skills aka personal traits. Not enough can be said for skills such as follow-through, friendliness, professionalism and responsiveness in the workplace. While potential employers will focus on your work history and experience, they want to see someone who has interpersonal traits that while emphasize and enhance what they already know.
While we may never be able to answer the question — what’s first: job or experience — at least you now know how to combat this ever-present catch-22.