Getting your first job as an entry level computer technician can be difficult. This is especially true for someone with no experience. The job market for computer techs is very crowded and there are lots of new people trying to get in. Before you decide to enter the market yourself, you need to gain a competitive edge. In this article, I would like to share with you 9 tips that will help you gain some experience and set yourself apart from the crowd.
Learn Where to Find the Answers
Being a good tech doesn’t necessarily mean knowing all the answers but it does mean knowing where to find them. Google is your best friend. Study the Google Cheat Sheet and learn how to effectively use operators. For example, putting quotes around a specific error message and searching for it will usually lead you to articles on how to fix it.
Build a Computer
If you want to be a computer tech then you need to learn how to build a computer from the ground up. Even if you don’t have the money, put one together with any spare parts you can find. And be sure to install Windows on it after it’s up. You will be doing a lot of this when you finally do become a tech. For step by step instructions, check out How to Build a Computer.
Break Your Computer
No, not physically, but feel free to destroy your Windows installation and then attempt to repair it. I learn the most when I have hands on experience with troubleshooting problems and so will you. Just make sure you have your recovery disks and a good backup first.
Get Your A+ Certification
The CompTIA A+ Certification is one of the most widely sought after certifications for entry level tech jobs. Many IT recruiters look at this certification as validation that you at least know the basics of being a computer technician. To become A+ Certified, you must pass two exams which cost around $160 a piece but it is well worth it. Check out Cramsession.com for free study guides and training material.
Go to School
I can’t stress this one enough. Even if you don’t want to go into a four year program, at least look into a tech school. Most offer two year programs and have lots of hands on experience. And if you don’t want to get a degree then at least take a class or two. Any education is better than none. For help with finding a school, check out CollegeBoard.com.
Work for Free
That’s right, for free with no strings attached. Volunteer whenever the opportunity is available whether it be at a school or your friends house. Not only will you need the hands on experience, but you will also need something to put on your resume. And you never know, one of these opportunities could eventually turn into a job.
Create an “ATS Friendly” Resume
Lots of IT recruiters add resumes to an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and then search through all of them using specific keywords. The use of keywords in your resume will increase the chances of your resume showing up when they do a search. Check out 10 Ways to Tweak Your Tech Resume for more help. Also check out 5 Articles That Will Help You Write An Impressive Tech Resume.
And while you have some free time, feel free to study. Read tech books, tech blogs, tech news, and anything else you can get your hands on. Study your acronyms and know what they mean. Don’t be caught off guard when someone asks you what TCP/IP stands for in an interview. Check out The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary for a full list.
Accept Any Offer
Apply for every entry level tech job that you see. And if you get an offer, take it. The market is very competitive and at this point you just need to get your foot in the door. After you gain some experience, you can always move on to something better.
Following these tips does not guarantee you a job, but they are sure to help. If you are already a tech then please feel free to add your own tips.