Original Reader Question: I like working on and fixing PCs. How do I get a job as a Help Desk technician?
In last week’s blog, based on the above reader question, I described five activities that can assist you get a Help Desk Job. Based on the number of readers and general discussion it created, I wanted to offer you some additional ideas.
When looking to enter the Help Desk profession, you should take a parallel approach, namely, expanding your knowledge and building your professional contacts. This week’s blog discusses five ways to expand your knowledge. Next week’s blog, the third in the series, will discuss building your professional contacts, the tactical side of finding a job
Great ways to expand your knowledge are:
1. Volunteer time at your favorite non-profit, religious, or civic organization All organizations of this type appreciate volunteerism; many of them survive primarily through their volunteer-based workforce. The goal here is to aid the organization in a way that also helps you grow professionally. It’s been my experience that virtually all organizations of this type are short on technical support based resources. There are PCs in their offices that occasionally have issues or require upgrades, websites that need to be built or modified, and/or software that needs to be installed or removed. The deal you should make with the organization is that you will work for free and if they feel comfortable doing so, give you a professional reference based on the work you performed on their behalf. As a new professional, the combination of experience and a quality reference is the holy grail of finding an entry level job.
In effect, you are helping your favorite organization and gaining exact experience credentials that will help you find a job.
2. Learn about business acumen and customer service As a Help Desk technician you may think all you need is the right technical skills. This, however, is not the case. Strong business acumen will dramatically assist you during the interview process in two ways. First, it will help you present yourself in the best possible way to the interviewer. Second, it illustrates that you know how to act professionally when fixing PCs within the business community.
Regarding client service, as a Help Desk professional, you are the face of IT to the majority of the user base. As a result, an understanding of high quality client service will not only help you get the job, but then once hired, it will maximize your customer satisfaction and, thus, your job performance.
3. Move toward an A+ and other certifications Having one or more certifications related to your profession has many advantages including the following:
- Differentiates you from those without certifications
- Provides you with a structured way to expand your professional knowledge
- Shows you have a defined level of knowledge
- Illustrates that you are serious and committed to your career by taking the time and energy to enhance your professional credentials
As additional food for thought, in most cases being in a certification program, even if you have not yet taken the exam, is in itself a professional credential and shows career direction. That said, if you are currently in a certification program, include your enrollment in the program on your resume.
4. Learn about mobile device management With the advent of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Help Desk support has become much more than just PC and laptop support. It now includes cell phones, tablets, smart watches, and other device types. It has also brought multiple operating systems beyond Microsoft Windows into the mix, now include iPhone and Droid based technologies. A working knowledge of these technologies will greatly enhance your marketability in this widened support landscape.
5. Follow technology trends This is advice you should heed throughout your career. New technologies are continually being developed and old ones are continuing to fade away. It’s the nature of our industry. Pick a few IT oriented websites you like. My hope, of course, is that it includes ITworld.com, and read them on an ongoing basis. This will help you decide what new technologies to learn, which ones to de-emphasize, and which technologies to simply observe as a way of widening your general industry knowledge. This practice will help you stay professionally focused and position you as an internal company thought leader on the industry’s direction.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.