There’s the old catch-22 phrase “You need a job to get experience; you need experience to get a job.” Is it true you have to go thru years of college and certifications and internships just to get some work?
In fact you can get decent work in computers armed with nothing but a high school diploma and the willingness to work.
If you think you’re good with computers and want a job now, follow the instructions below and you’ll be working fast.
Understanding how to get work first begins with how most companies’ hiring processes.
It is extremely rare you will ever see a direct-hire listing
“Direct-hire” means the company wanting to fill a position directly places a job listing themselves. You know these as newspaper ads, monster.com ads and so on. If this is where you were looking for work, you’re looking in the wrong place.
To get work, use a staffing agency
What jobs are always available?
The jobs that are always available in computer-related work are corporate customer support positions, i.e. help desk.
Things to know about help desk positions:
- Very high turnover rate. Most people don’t like this job because it involves sitting on your butt all day taking support calls.
- Good pay. Because of the high turnover rate, companies will be more than willing to pay you a little extra just to make sure you show up.
- Very easy to advance. If you show up on time and do a good job you will get great opportunity for this – usually in the means of applying for open positions within the company you’re working for. Some people only have to do help desk for 6 months for getting a better/higher position within the company.
- Easy job. This job is stupidly easy; the company will train you how to do everything.
What shift should you go for?
The shift with the least stress is 3rd shift because hardly anyone ever calls. This is the hardest shift to get because people know it has almost no stress involved. However, if you ask for it right from the get-go you’ll usually get it.
The shift with the most stress is second shift, not first. Nobody wants this shift and you start your day when call volume is at its highest.
How do you approach a staffing agency?
Do the following:
- Draft a resume in your word processor of choice. Make it SHORT and emphasize anything to do with customer service as that will be your most important “sell”.
- CALL the staffing agency. You do not have to kiss their butt but rather be honest. Obviously, be nice. They will (of course) as you for your resume and possibly recommend you “sign up” for their web site. Go ahead – it’s all free. At no time will you ever spend one dime during this process.
- State that you want an entry-level computer support position. The rep you speak to should know exactly what this is.
- Don’t be picky. Take whatever the rep has to offer.
How long should you wait for a response?
A good staffing rep will have you on an interview in less than 2 weeks. If by the end of the first week s/he doesn’t return contact, call. BUG them. Be nice, but be firm.
How to conduct yourself in an interview
You know how to dress for an interview but here’s a few pointers:
- Keep eye contact
- If the interviewer asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, show a genuine interest that you’re willing to help because that’s what the job is all about.
- Ask the following question sometime during the interview: “Is the knowledgebase updated regularly?” This means you know that a call center uses a knowledgebase to assist customers (even if you didn’t know that).
- Present yourself as a calm, cool, collected individual. People who hire help desk employees want calm people. If you’re a hot firecracker you absolutely will not get the job.
Things to know about working temp-to-perm
- You will have no benefits but a nice fat check each week.
- DO NOT be afraid of short-term assignments. If the assignment is only 3 months, take it because then you will have a working history with the staffing agency. Once you have this you will be able to get more work easily.
- If the job you get starts to suck really bad, do not renew at the end of the temporary assignment. This is 100% OK to do. The agency will simply place you elsewhere.
- If you do like the job, stick it out until you go perm. 90 days after that you’ll get the benefits you want.
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