Gainful Employment: Top Tips for Landing an IT Support or Help Desk Job

tie-690084_1280Many people have the patience and know-how to be an IT helpdesk support person. And, many don’t. It takes a special kind of personality for this job. If you’ve got it, here’s how to get an entry-level position in the industry.

Decide What You Want To Do

It’s not easy to decide what you want to do.

It requires that you spend some time doing some introspection. What is introspection? It’s a process whereby you turn your thoughts inward and think about your emotions and thoughts - you analyze your own mind.

Figure out why you really want to get into this career. What would happen if you didn’t? Why do you feel the way you do about IT?

Why not pursue another career path?

What are the skills you need and do you possess them? Are you really committed to working towards the goals that are necessary to make this dream a reality? Is this just a passing or fleeting feeling or are you serious?

Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, it’s time to get the necessary training.

Get The Necessary Training

Even though you want to get your foot in the door at a company, IT is a highly technical field and even entry level positions require a lot of prerequisite knowledge and skills.

At the minimum, you’ll need an associate’s degree. Most employers want you to have a bachelor’s, and then you have to take courses in security, networking, and basic computing.

For example, it’s not uncommon for your employer to require:

  • Communication skills
  • Customer satisfaction training
  • Call-handling training
  • Assertiveness training
  • Human resources training
  • Team building exercises
  • Tools, problem-solving, and processes training
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Six-step problem-solving process
  • Support processes and process integration training

And, you’ll have to take these courses, at minimum:

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • Windows 7 Training
  • Security +

You may also have to attend college for some courses, especially computer programming courses. This coursework can be intensive and, if it’s been awhile since you’ve been in a college setting, it can be stressful.

You will also need certification. Because certification demonstrates competence in the field, passing a test might improve your chances of finding employment. Many computer companies and associations offer certification. For example, Microsoft and CompTIA offer numerous certs for the IT professional who is just starting out. You should also check out Linux, Apple, Cisco, and others that are more vendor-specific. But, only do this after you get into a job and know what your employer wants or needs.

The basic CompTIA A+ will get you pretty far in entry-level IT jobs - the rest just cements your position and increases your value. It may not immediately result in a pay increase, but it couldn’t hurt.

Mostly, the additional courses will put you to the front of the line when there is a promotion or if there’s a job opening higher up in the company.

These advanced courses can take anywhere from a few hours, to days or weeks to complete too. But, thankfully, many employers will help you pay for these courses once you’re in and have made it past your probationary period.

Ready Your Resume

You had better have a professional resume. A basic one probably won’t do. You’ll want to keep it short, simple, and really highlight your skills and abilities. Explain why you’d be the best candidate for the job. Practice writing a value proposition statement - a statement that “sells” you to an employer.

You should also spend some time thinking about how you’re going to present your resume. In an industry of sameness, you want to stand out. These creative resumes should give you a few ideas.

Join Online Communities

Networking never hurts, and it could help you land a shiny new job. You may have to start out at an internship - paid or unpaid. Yes, unpaid. It’s terrible, but it’s sometimes the only way to get your foot in the door.

Put your resume out on major job search engines.

If you can pick up paid or unpaid work with other IT professionals, this is going to help a lot. You’ll get the experience you need and something you can put down on a resume.

Getting work as a support person is going to be difficult. This is definitely one of those careers where you get caught in a catch 22 - you need work experience to get a job, but you can get that experience without work.

Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for Simplilearn.com. She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.

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