The question: How do I get a job with no experience?
I have an an MSc in electronic and electrical engineering plus MCSD.net and CCNA certification. These qualifications are coupled with more than 10 years' experience in engineering. I have been looking for a junior programming/developer role, but they require commercial experience which I do not have. How do I get around this?
The solution: Really highlight your strong points
I can appreciate how frustrated you must feel to be in this Catch-22 situation.
A lot of the roles you have applied for may say they require two years' experience, but that is often a guideline, and in reality they want an individual who can solve the challenges they are currently facing.
If a company is paying an agency to find someone with all the skills they want, agencies are often unable to persuade them to take someone without them. If the consultant is good, they will have a full understanding of why the role has come about and then be able to promote you as someone who has the all-round package, albeit with slightly less programming experience.
If you are promoting yourself, you need to sell yourself from the outset. That means creating an individual sales pitch for every opportunity. Tailor your covering letter to suit the role and put your selling points on this or your CV. Do not lie or exaggerate, but really highlight the positives. You could cite instances where you have saved your company money through a small program you developed. Or you could write an outline of a project you have been involved in that you would handle differently now you have the programming skills.
With demand for IT skills rising, you will undoubtedly find an employer with an open mind who can see your passion for the industry and your desire to utilise your skills fully.
Solution by Tracey Abbott, divisional director, Zarak Group
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
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