How to Break Into I.T.

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While an I.T. certification may help get your C.V. onto the short list, think also about secondary qualifications that might be attractive to an employer, such as a business degree (you don't have to have it completed, just be studying toward it) or the MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) which might make you more 'valuable' to a company. Even if these types of qualifications don't feature highly on your 'to do' list, they might be just what you need to get a foot in the door. Employers want value for money and the more all-round skills you can offer the better.

Of course, nothing beats hands-on experience and without a doubt you should try to enhance your C.V. with as much real-world work that you can get. Consider offering to do some 'pro bono' work for charities, schools, churches or other similar organisations to fill out your resume and gain experience. Likewise, you might want to consider part-time work, temporary assignments or even contract roles if they become available. If your skills are more along the lines of software development, websites, databases etc you may be able to find paid work on freelancing websites, such as and

When making your application for a position make sure that your C.V. presents you in the best possible light. Don't just work on perfecting your C.V - really work on perfecting it (including any opening letter). Make it look as professional as you can and don't just send out a boilerplate C.V. to every job that you see. Take the time to tailor your C.V. to fit both the company and the job that you are going for. Spend hours upon hours on each and every application you send out if need be. Your C.V. is your one and only chance to persuade the employer to give you an interview (your C.V. gets you the interview, your interview gets you the job) but be careful not to oversell yourself. Be sure that you can actually do the job that you are applying for. If you're already working in a company, but just not in the I.T. department where you'd like to be working, make sure that you actually tell the right people of your wish to work in I.T. - you never know where opportunities might come up.

In the same vein, brush up on your interview skills and turn up to the interview prepared not only for I.T-type questions, but for general questions as well. Don't just know about the job you're going for, know a bit about the company (search engines are your friend). As tempting as it might be to talk about yourself and what you want, what you can do and where you see yourself going in the future, the interviewer is mostly interested in what you can do for the company and whether you're going to be a good investment for the particular job they have available at that time. Keep that in the back of your mind and you can't go too far wrong.

Remember that not all I.T. careers get started through the front door of an I.T. department. There are many paths you can take to get your foot on the I.T. ladder, and there are many, many opportunities out there if you're willing to think a little laterally and to take a long-term approach to your I.T. career. If you're in a non-I.T. job right now, look for ways to introduce I.T. skills into your daily tasks which you can then highlight in your resume. And by all means get trained up or certified to gain skills and enhance your C.V., but don't part with your hard-earned cash solely on the promise of a lucrative career in I.T. at the end of a 4-week course.

Sadly, life doesn't work like that.