The “Job – Experience” Paradox

career success Jun 14, 2016

It’s a timeless paradox… “How can I get a job without experience, and how can I get experience without a job?” If you find yourself in such a situation, this blog post is going to show you a couple of ways to add experience to your resume.

Let’s say you worked hard to earn your CCNA R/S certification. However, when you submit your resume to perspective employers, you don’t get the interview, because you don’t have any experience. That’s an all-to-common reality for many entering the IT field. So, how can you get that elusive experience without that even more elusive job? Here are a couple of strategies you might consider:

1. Volunteer

There are plenty of charitable organizations out there that would welcome your services. For example, I volunteered to setup a wireless network for my church. You could do something similar, and ask if your volunteer position could be given a job title. Now, you’ve got some experience to add to your resume. It might look something like:

Network Engineer - Eastside Community Church
Responsibilities: Performing design (including site survey), installation, and ongoing maintenance of an IEEE 802.11ac wireless network with multiple access points.

2. Hire Yourself

If no one else wants to hire you at the moment, why not hire yourself? What I mean by that is you could start your own network consulting business. With just a little word-of-mouth marketing, you should be able to get a handful of gigs to populate your resume. I did this back in the 1990’s and 2000’s, finding myself installing small networks, setting up PCs, and configuring Internet routers. Your self-created job could show up on your resume, much like the following:

Owner - Kevin Wallace Networking
Responsibilities: Operation of a computer network consulting firm, with technical responsibilities including: end-user device configuration, Internet router configuration, in addition to network design, installation, and ongoing support. 

These are just a couple of examples of strategies to breathe some life into what might be a dormant resume. With these two ideas fresh in your mind, you might want to pause for a moment, and brainstorm more ways that you, in your own unique situation, can add experience to your resume.

Kevin Wallace, CCIEx2 (R/S and Collaboration) #7945, CCSI 20061


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