What employers want

If you do not have hands-on entry level IT experience,
you will find it very difficult to start your career in IT

All employers and recruiters have well defined job descriptions for the positions they advertise. A new employee is a large investment in the future of any company. Usually, employers will have done their homework on their specific HR needs and individual job descriptions. The online job advertisement is usually just a summary of the employers' requirements.

As a job seeker, particularly in IT, you will have literally thousands of competitors for every entry level and graduate level IT position that is advertised online. Usually, only one job applicant is successfully selected for each available position.

Obviously an employer will select the candidate who is best in all the criteria of the job description but with weighting towards the most important criteria. Nevertheless, you will need to beat every other job applicant. Therefore, you must score well in all criteria. If you know what you are doing and have a strong knowledge of what each employer wants for each job, you can score well in every criteria, beat your competitors and get the job that is suited to you as an entry level graduate.

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Skills & Qualifications

It is highly probable that you will need more than just a IT Bachelor or Master degree to get the job you want.

As you may have noticed in the job advertisements, a Bachelor or Master degree is often not the most important criteria and it is certainly not the only criteria. All elements of the job positions skills and abilities are important to the employer and you will be judges on all criteria. Choosing the right employees is absolutely vital to the future of an employers' company and the future of everyone working at the company. Employers are prepared to devote time and money to finding the right employee.

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Employers' Decisions

When an employer does not find the right employee the first time they advertise, they will often advertise again until they get the right person for the job.

In a job application and interview, you are selling and the employer is buying. Employers have long shopping lists of many items. If you do not tick all the boxes on their shopping list, you might not get what you want.

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Employers' Shopping Lists

Employers have long lists of job skills and abilities in their requirements. Not all requirements are shown in job advertisements and usually very little further detail is shown about each requirement. However, if you have phoned the employer seeking additional information, you may have been told to, "Just apply online" Additionally, employers may have other criteria which they have not analysed or articulated, plus there is always the human element in the job selection process. But, you still have to tick all the boxes.

Note: It is important to note that employers usually know what is an appropriate salary for the position they have vacant. Offering to work for a lower salary may go against you in an interview as employers would often think you do not have the ability to do the job and are trying to sell yourself as a cheaper option

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Job Skills & Abilities Requirements

Employers usually mean what they say in job descriptions and they want the best value for their money.

It is not enough to say you are an excellent choice, or say you have very good IT knowledge, or say you have the right attitude, or say you have good communication skills, or say you meet the job description criteria. Everything you say, you will then have show proof that you meet those and many more criteria to the level that beats all other candidates. No doubt, employers will give training to the right employee, but they usually pick only one person for each position and usually that is the candidate who is judged to be the right person.

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Job Descriptions & Advertisements

Often candidates do not understand job descriptions, cannot analyse the criteria and apply for inappropriate positions. However, there are many positions available to entry-level and graduate candidates and employers usually mean what they write in job descriptions.

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Typically, such job descriptions contain many of the following criteria:

  • Good knowledge of
  • Background in
  • Experience in
  • Network troubleshooting skills
  • Virus checking
  • Active Directory
  • A desire to learn & develop
  • Excellent teamwork skills
  • Knowledge of desktop applications
  • Knowledge in networking concepts
  • Good verbal communication skills
  • Good written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Proven ability to prioritise tasks
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Hardware testing & faultfinding
  • Maintain accuracy of company IT assets inventory records
  • Track company IT assets
  • Maintain backup procedures
  • Maintain networks using remote access functionality
  • Windows server administration
  • User administration
  • Maintain network components, services, hardware & software
  • Monitor the network to ensure it is available to all system users and resolve problems as they arise
  • Maintain E-mail & internet systems
  • Maintenance of company VPN
  • Software and hardware development and maintenance
  • Hardware and software asset inventory management
  • Policies and procedures
  • Maintain help desk queue
  • Improve procedures & service levels
  • Write documentation for end- users
  • Develop & improve corporate policies in the use of IT equipment
  • Troubleshoot workstation problems
  • Workstation & software configuration, installation& testing
  • Troubleshooting MS Office Products & all peripherals
  • Supporting the LAN
  • Configure new user profiles including POP3 & multiple email identities

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