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Hello. I'm seeking some advice from anyone currently working in IT. A few years back I was laid off from my IT job (nothing fancy; tech support for a global company). My youngest kid was having some problems so I took some time away. About six months later I tried to get back into the industry with very little success. I didn't have the resources to update my skills at that time and despite the fact that most of the companies I interviewed with utilized software and technologies I knew, I still came up short.

So I dabbled in some other areas of interest for awhile, but I am very much intent on getting back into my old profession. I have a wealth of tech support and network troubleshooting experience (six years worth), an associate's degree, and a handful of now-defunt Microsoft certs (and the mainstay CompTIA certs). Network troubleshooting and admin are what I am familiar with and what I'd like to go back to. (I have some SQL experience, and no development experience... definitely not a programmer.)

Basically, I'm not sure how to overcome this gap in IT work. It's there for a legitimate reason but I know the industry has changed in the years since, and new technologies abound. I feel like I'm practically starting over again. I've considered updating my certs as a start; I see numerous new certs from Microsoft. Some inside advice on what is expected of IT pros and what skillsets are in demand would be fantastic, as well as any insight on overcoming the gap on the resume. I don't expect to enter at the same level I left, but some advice on getting back in would be fantastic.

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Last Post by Ernest
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I've been out of work for about four months now. I'm discovering that there is quite an art when it comes to resumes and such. Here are some basics, which I hope will be helpful:

1) Only 4% of jobs are found by applying on-line. For IT jobs, it can go up to 10%. Sources (Bolles, 2006) estimate that you would have to apply to 10,000 jobs before you actually landed a position on the Internet. The more focused you are on the specific job you want to do, the more likely this method will work for you. I would not spend more than 20% of my job hunting time on this approach.

2) Most sources cite that 82% of people find jobs by networking--they know someone, who knows someone, who eventually hooks them up with a job. Sadly, most of us in IT are introverts, so networking isn't something we do easily. Database technology helps. Start a database (Access or FileMaker) and enter all your contacts. Use it to keep track of who you talked to when. Make it a point to touch base with them regularly, say once per month. See if each person can refer you to two other people. NEVER ASK FOR A JOB--that puts people on the defensive. Just say you're asking for advice, which most people consider a compliment. If you're brave, find companies you want to work for, research some names on the web and make cold calls. If you keep them short, introduce yourself briefly and state that you're not expecting the person to have a job for you, you will be surprised at how helpful people can be.

3) Join a professional organization and go to their meetings. Don't ignore small talk--it's more important than most people think.

PM me if you want to join my "support group" for people hunting for jobs.

Good luck!

Source:

Bolles, Richard Nelson. (2006). What Color Is Your Parachute? Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

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