Next Move: Why am I struggling to get an IT job?

I am currently working in a primary school. I decided a couple of years ago to retrain as I was very interested in IT. I could...

I am currently working in a primary school. I decided a couple of years ago to retrain as I was very interested in IT. I could not afford to leave work, so I joined a training firm to do a distance learning course in systems analysis. I do not have a degree, but I have more than eight years' experience in dealing with mulitnational companies. As a woman, I am supposed to be one of the groups being encouraged to get into IT, but I am having great difficulty finding a job. What would you suggest?

The solution

Don't soley rely on recruitment agencies

Being female will have little to do with the trouble you have been having. The market is just very depressed. The good news is that it is showing some fledgling signs of recovery.

If you are relying on agencies to get you work, you will probably be cutting down your options. The main challenge for an agency would not be your lack of a degree but your lack of commercial experience. Recruitment agencies are often given very stringent criteria when a company hires them to find staff. Firms are simply not prepared to pay agency fees for someone that they would have to train up to reach the level they want.

Having said that, there is no harm in posting your CV on job boards in the hopes that a more enlightened agency will pick it up. You may also find companies looking directly on these websites. If they do not have an agency fee to pay they will probably be more prepared to take a chance on you.

Another avenue to explore is your training provider. Training companies are often tied in with local employers and are happy to recommend individuals who do well on their courses.

Solution by Tracey Abbott, divisional director, Zarak Group

The panel: MSB International, Best International, BritishComputer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK.

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This was last published in June 2003

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