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2: I Have a Little Bit of Experience, But I am Not Certified, and I Can't Get an Entry-Level Job.

This obstacle was a real-eye opener. I was getting few if any responses to my resume. I couldn't figure out why until I got to one job interview.

In early 1995, I was called in to interview for a network administrator position at a senior college in South Georgia. I really wanted this job. It would boost my income twofold, and open up many doors in education. The interview went well, but I did not get the job.

In a post-interview telephone conversation, I asked the department head who interviewed me why I wasn't hired. I was told that the person who got the job had the Novell CNA, and I did not have any certifications. I was angry because I had more experience and was trying to self-study toward the CNA.

As soon as I got off the phone, my attitude changed. I would never get turned down for a job again because I did not have the credentials. Within six months of that rejection, I was a CNE and a Novell Instructor-CNI. In fact, several months after becoming a CNI, the college was sending its people (including the person who was hired over me) to my classes for CNE training. It took a rejection for me to change my attitude about certification and find a way around the obstacle. Since that time, I have not been rejected because of a lack of certification. IT certification is definitely one of the best door openers for people wanting to enter IT. You might have 20 years experience or a four-year CIS degree, but are having trouble entering IT or changing jobs. One of the reasons is that HR people are programmed to look for certifications that document a level of competency. Right, wrong, or otherwise, that is the way it is. How do you overcome it? Take the attitude that certification will at least get you in the door. From there, experience will take over.

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