Jack of all trades, master of none



The Problem

I have a problem in that I have moved around a bit and gained experience in a few areas of IT, namely mainframe operating, Unix...



The Problem

I have a problem in that I have moved around a bit and gained experience in a few areas of IT, namely mainframe operating, Unix systems administration (SA) and general desktop support. I really want to get back into SA work and maybe DBA along with this. But I am finding it difficult to be taken seriously, even when I go for junior SA positions. What can I do to increase my chances?

The Solution

Experience in a few areas of IT means you have a wide skill base and there are various steps you can take to improve your chances.

Look at your CV from the perspective of a line manager and adjust it accordingly, accentuating your experience. Tailor it for each company you send it to. Assess their needs - a CV separated from its cover letter should still express what you could do for that company.

Concentrate on your relevant experience and how that could benefit a potential employer; link your experience to solving the company's needs. Also, familiarise yourself with current skills and developments in this field that may have changed since your previous experience. Consult friends and colleagues who know or work in the area you want to work in.

Show initiative by studying and training in your own time. You will pick up relevant skills and demonstrate commitment to that chosen career path. Look up those companies that use the systems you're skilled in. Check the Web, read business pages, subscribe to computing journals and speak to people actually doing the job. Be flexible - don't limit yourself on location, industry, or salary. Don't close doors. Prepare yourself for any interviews by researching the company, preparing relevant questions and remember to be personable as this will differentiate you from another candidate with similar skills. Role-play your interview technique - practice makes perfect.

And finally, if you really want it, never give up.

  • Solution by Victoria McBlane, permanent manager of Computer Futures, London
  • The panel consists of Elan, Computer Futures, Computer People, Apex, Monarch Recruitment , Best International Group and ITNTO
  • This was last published in January 2000

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