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3: All the Advertisements I Look at Have a Ridiculous Number of Job Skills Required. Who Has All those Skills?

Most of the time, the answer to that question is no one. Period.

I have spoken to so many HR people who have no clue what they are asking for in an IT advertisement. In 1996, I read and responded to one advertisement that wanted an MCSE with 10 years experience with Windows NT 4.0. NT 4.0 was out on the market for less than a year. Nevertheless, this HR person would only consider MCSEs with 10 years on an NT 4.0 network. I tried to explain the problem, but I was abruptly told that I did not qualify.

Early this year, I came across several ads for MCSEs who had five years experience with Windows 2000 Server. Same problem—W2K Server has been on the market for less than a year.

One ad that I responded to last week wanted a Certified Instructor who could teach the NetWare CNE track, Microsoft W2K MCSE track, CompTIA's classes, the Cisco CCNA track, and a variety of wireless network classes. When I spoke to the recruiter, I told him that there were few if any certified instructors who could do it all and do it well. I was told that I did not qualify because I was not a certified wireless network instructor. I agreed with him, but tried to explain what I brought to the table, and that the wireless network instructors were in a special league at this time. He did not agree. Such is life.

One friend who obtained his Cisco CCNA called me one Saturday afternoon. He had no hands-on background with Cisco—just classroom knowledge—but he was willing to learn and start at entry level. He put his resume on the Internet, and got three job offers for more than 80K each. He told each potential employer that he lacked real-world knowledge. Still, the employers were interested. He took one of the jobs, and tripled his salary.

The way around this obstacle, which is more ignorance than anything, is to know what you know and then be honest with yourself and potential employers about your skillset. A good company will appreciate your honesty and your skills. Take the attitude that you have something to offer, and stick with it despite what the others say.

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