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student01
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Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:52 am

i got my CCNA last July and this year have started actively looking for I.T roles.

I do I.T support as part of my role for my current employer but have never worked in a proper I.T support role. Ive been supporting our department for 12-18months.

I have customer service experience, sales experience, call center and call logging experience ( not in I.T ) and have been working with Microsoft office products for the past 15 years.

due to my circumstances i need to take home £18k after travel expenses, which in the south east of england and easily commutable to London i dont think is unreasonable. cost of travel to London would be in the region of £3-3.5k on the train.

I've applied for over 250 jobs in the past year and have had a handful of interviews, always being told i present myself well but losing out to people with more experience.

I have a job interview on Monday and to be honest im getting really tired of being told im not experienced enough. I know to get where you want you have to never give up and be persistant, but theres only so much a guy can take.

I've even started reading and learning ITIL v3 Foundation which from speaking to people on here i can agree is dry as hell, however i came to the conclusion that if i can show an understanding of service procedure etc that would help.

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:37 am

I suppose you're looking at mid-level positions, right? Otherwise they couldn't refer to lack of experience every time. My experience, if you're in a period of your life when you cannot take entry level jobs anymore because of family etc, but still want to change lanes then the luck factor becomes more important. Something that you cannot control but on the other hand unforeseen good things can happen at anytime :) I bet you've heard this many times but try to be positive with yourself, and try to be patient..

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:47 am

You might have to take an entry level position and work a second job to make ends meet until you can move up. I think it's pretty unreasonable to look for a mid-level job when you don't have that kind of experience. No offense but the market will usually dictate what you are worth. If you are finding it hard to find the pay you are looking for, you might be shooting a bit high right now. Reevaluate the jobs you are applying for. The CCNA is great, but companies want experienced employees. Why should they hire the guy with 18 months of exp. when there are 10 others with 3-6 years of exp. for example.

I see a lot of jobs posted i my area, but there are also a lot people looking. It's probably going to be tough to find that dream job. Just keep looking and try to get as much exp. as you can in the mean time. I'm semi looking and get called by recruiters 2-4 times a week. I'm not the best fit for every job and sometimes I tell them that. I've interviewed a few times and nothings panned out. It's going to take time given the state of the economy.

Also, start networking with people. Both of my breaks came from people I knew.

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:53 am

£21k is certainly not mid-level in London. Mid-level you're looking at £30k +

However 5 years ago I started on 16k. This was 3k less than the previous job I had, but I wanted the networking job. After 2 months I got an extra 3k allowance for working shifts. It's been going up ever since.


Unfortunately part of the blame lies on the employers. I had the new help-desk manager ask me about new NOC engineers. I handed her a CV and she said the candidate does not have a CCNA so not interested. I told her I started without a CCNA and look at me now... For me it's far more important to have someone KEEN and WILLING to make more of themselves, than someone who just happened to pass their way through a CCNA. But she won't listen. What can I do.

student01
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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:03 am

i guess im in the unfortunate position that i needed to be where i am now 10 years ago.

an option would be to save up a few grand to help subsidise a salary cut, but that could take a long time to save and before i know it im 35 and in the same position.

i think im going to try a different approach. im going to draft a letter and target as many isp's i can get an address of stating what i have to offer, where i want to go, and a salary i need to earn. the worst that can happen is ive lost a few quid on stamps.

other than this im not sure what else i can do.

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:23 am

as for the interview Monday, go in admit that you may not have the experience that the job requires. stress that you are bright, energetic, learn things quickly, and are willing to put in the the energy/effort to get up to speed with the current job requirements within 1 - 3 months. if you get the job, you will need to follow up on all this to keep your job.

you need to sell yourself, you are a salesman and yourself is the product you are selling.
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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:30 am

Mellow hit on a big part of the problem too. Idiot hiring managers.

I've seen several times where I have experience in 7 out of 10 items the employer is looking for and could easily learn the other 3 given exposure to the product. They don't give you a chance, they hold out looking for some "ideal" candidate. I finally spoke to a recruiter last week for a company and they are looking for exp. in 2 areas out of several and be willing to learn others. I'm hoping I have a chance to at least interview since I have exp. in more than 2 of them and can pretty much pick up anything given exposure to it and time to learn it.

I just did the conversion on pounds to dollars and that isn't that much money. Definitely not a mid-level job. Look over your resume, maybe it needs a touch up or have someone you trust look it over and make suggestions. Try a cover letter as well. Do you follow up calls or emails? Showing interest usually can help. How is the job market in that area If it's flooded with people looking that could hurt you given the lack of exp.

Are you getting call backs, phone interviews or face to face interviews? Just curious how far you are getting in the process.

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:19 am

When you write those letters to ISPs deliver them in person if you can. Turning up in person means that your letter is handed to at least one real person before it's binned, which is what will happen automatically 90% of the time if you mail it in.

And at reception ask to make an appointment to meet with the technical manager/NOC supervisor/Network engineer, anybody but but HR or PR. Note that I say to make an appointment to meet someone, not ask to see someone then and there - that's easily refused, so try and and get a definite appointment if possible, not a "they will call you back."

Say that as a keen student/qualified person looking to break into the industry you would like to have a tour - do your reasearch and say how they seem to be the type of organisation that you want to work in, etc, etc.

Do not deliver the letter Monday morning (too hectic) or Friday afternoon (weekend looming). Wednesday 1.30 -2.30pm is the best time, mid-week, after lunch things are usually under control then. The whole idea is to develop a contact in each company. Then whether you get to see anyone or not - follow up with a phone a week to 10 days later. Then monthly reminders to your contact that you are still in the job market, or even if you have found another job, stay in touch. It's all about the "human network" to use a Cisco marketing cry. Luck and who you know do play a very big part - the very day that you make one of your reminder calls may the day the company has someone quit and you are there, keen and in their face, so guess what? Over the years this has happened to at least 6 of my former students.

But that's not all, get on LinkedIn and join groups, professional groups first, then through them link up with people in the industry. Through contacts of contacts I now have some recruiters in my LinkedIn network and I'm slowly starting to get hit with requests "do I have any students that ...". These are smart recruiters too. they know what their clients are really looking for, not your old-school bland agency types.

All of the above is what I call Job Seeking 101 which I used to give my students, though these days here our students don't have that problem. However, I still push LinkedIn.

For what its worth a couple of years ago the 3rd largest ISP in Australian, who happens to be based here in Perth would employ a newly minted CCNA with no experience, if there were vacancies (and there were many) and who met their other general requirements, on a starting salary of $50,000 AUD (about GBP 32,000). Cisco Networking Academy graduates got preference because of the hands-on lab experience. Of course the employment meltdown in the UK just hasn't occured here and starting salaries in that range are the norm.

Aubrey
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. Alvin Toffler, "Future Shock" 1970

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:34 am

Missing the I like button for Aubreys post :mrgreen:

If you´re on linkedin, send me a PM and we can connect, I got some contacts to Headhunters in the UK and can connect you to them if you wish. If you´re not on linkedin, get up there and put in a good Profile :mrgreen:
Also you can search for headhunters on linkedin and connect with them yourself -> bigger network for possible opportunities.

Its no guarantee, but it might help.
http://ccie20728.wordpress.com/

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paadams
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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:37 am

Aubrey's post has excellent info.

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:38 am

paadams wrote:Also, start networking with people. Both of my breaks came from people I knew.


+1

More times than not your best way in is by knowing someone. Once you start networking with locals you start to realize how small of a world it really is.
http://blog.movingonesandzeros.net/

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eaadams
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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:14 am

that1guy15 wrote:
paadams wrote:Also, start networking with people. Both of my breaks came from people I knew.

+1
More times than not your best way in is by knowing someone. Once you start networking with locals you start to realize how small of a world it really is.
Absolutely – another story, my son got all jobs this way too.

While he was studying he started in sales, electronics and hobby stuff at an Australian equivalent of Radio Shack. At the time they become a major Nokia re-seller for Australia’s largest telco so he went to all the product training and become the store, and then the state SME. This then got him a job at the telco where he ended up supporting (and training others in) mobile and then wireless data services, including Blackberry. But like with all huge companies he was becoming unhappy, especially with the sales pressures on support - “Do you want to “supersize” that?” stuff.
Then one of his former team leads (who left the telco a few months before) phones and offers him job supporting a contracting companies mobile fleet. This company is HQ’ed in Perth but had some 80 road, bridge, railway, mine and port construction sites across the whole of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia. The data network was Critix managed thin clients at each site – he migrated from mobile support to server operations and support. The only catch was the job was contract – no paid sick leave, no paid public holidays, no paid vacation leave.
So then comes another call inviting him to do a similar job at a smaller company but a permanent (tenured) position. So now he’s deputy IT manager, moving in the Win server world and MPLS in a big way. This company is the Australian subsidy of a UK scaffolding company that is expanding. There’s about 30 construction and mine sites throughout Australia that move to follow scaffolding contracts so he spends about one week out of 5 somewhere else in the counrty changing over servers and deploying IP voice systems.
And then a couple of weeks ago a couple of his former telco mobile colleagues contact him asking him to run this state’s pre-sales ops in mobile services for the business that they started a year or so ago. He considered it but is over sales and wants to get more and more into the server world so he’s staying put for now.

So get out there!

Aubrey
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. Alvin Toffler, "Future Shock" 1970

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:03 am

I don't know what the job market looks like where you are, but it isn't that great here. Many over-qualified people are taking lower jobs just to have work. Unless you can bring something special to the table you will find jobs hard to come by. You didn't list what kind of background you have. Even if it isn't related to IT it can help. A friend of mine moved from a banking background into IT in a financial institution. He was able to show he understood their business, and how to use IT to help the guys that made the money. So depending on your background you may be able to show how you are a better fit than the generic IT guy.

Also as that1guy15, and Aubrey said. Network, network, network. You would be supprised on how small the IT community is. Especially if you specialize in a specific sector.

-Otanx
Stay networked, my friends.

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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:30 am

Can you not buy your own gear and get a lot of hands on experience that way.
It also looks really good at an interview if you can slip in to the conversation that your hobby is labbing networking scenarios on your own home lab.
OK it's not industry experience but it shows that you know exactly what the equipment is and how to handle it.
There is a place close to you that has good deals on cisco kit.
PM me if you want the address.
Good Luck,

David

student01
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Re: Am i Expecting too much?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:41 am

Thank you all for your advice and encoragement. I am on linkedin raven and have started to increase my network to include recruitment consultants and have a couple connection from the forum on there.

I am getting to the face to face interview stage and have even had 2nd interview on one occasion, which kinda annous me cos if i havent got what they want then why interview me in the first place!

I agree its a fierce market here with unemployment rising aswell.

@ aubrey - £32k for netacademy students ! Im in the wrong country.
There is the cisco partner network that im registered on but other than that employers that i spoke to here havent seem to have heard of the netacademy.

@expaddy can u pm me the company please, ive gathered a couple 2600xm's so far and are building a lab so that would be handy thanks

'

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