In this blog I am going to use my knowledge and experience recruiting within IT Support to advise and educate those looking to get their careers underway.
Firstly, some information on who I am: I specialise in recruiting within the IT support field in the North East, working with clients and candidates to find the right person for the right role. Through this, I’ve gained valuable insight into what companies are looking for – and what technology they’re interested in and investing in. Having worked with plenty of applicants, I felt compelled to address a number of areas to help individuals looking to start their careers in a competitive market.
If you’ve found your passion and IT Support is the goal, these are the things to take into consideration when first stepping into this exciting career!
A lot of companies in the North East share similar desires when recruiting for IT Support roles. The main factors in determining whether a CV is worth an interview or not is the technology. What systems and platforms do you have hands-on experience with? I’ve seen clients highlight the following (and hopefully some of these don’t come as surprise to anyone): Windows, Microsoft 365 and Active Directory are three popular and standard requirements in today’s climate. For someone who is looking for a more niche role: VMware and Linux.
However, if you have used most of these before and you’re still having difficulty steering your career in the direction you want, maybe a certification will ignite your CV. CompTIA certifications are a great way to stand out from the crowd, showing that you are willing to go above and beyond the competition.
Technology requirements will vary from company to company – the above is a great starting point to get you on your way to climbing that IT ladder!
You may be wondering what positions become available if you have the experience listed above. For most candidates, your first step would land you a Tier 1 Level Support role like 1st Line Support. First-line support is the frontline of the customer support desk. First-line agents are generalists: they have a broad understanding of the product, and they know the procedures that apply to most support needs. The most common tickets raised at this level will be forgotten passwords, accidentally deleting important files, and printer issues.
Once you become a specialist at this level, the next step tends to be into 2nd Line Support where you deal with customer problems that are too time-consuming, uncommon, or technical for 1st Line Support. Salaries for both jobs can vary on multiple factors: shift work (which is more common for 1st Line), the company and their location. Once you are placed within a Tier 1 Support role, as long as you show the intent to learn and are hitting KPIs, you will find yourself with a 2nd Line role. From there, the IT space opens up, allowing you to explore opportunities in networking, infrastructure, application and more.
The North East has some great companies to work for – though not all companies may suit the way you learn and work. Things to look out for when applying for roles:
How is the company performing?
What is the work-life balance like and what benefits do they offer?
Is there a culture of support?
What are the training programs available and are you able to develop professionally?
After considering these points, you have to decide if you would like to work for an MSP (Managed Service Provider), or maybe you prefer being on a Helpdesk team for a company in the insurance sector or finance sector.
Although you are going to be working within IT, and there is overlap with the technology across industries, the company’s culture and development opportunities will vary. It’s a decision that not many candidates first think about and tends to result in job-hopping which will likely be questioned when a hiring manager looks at your CV. So, finding a role where you fit in and are happy to spend your time is key to advancement and longevity in the industry.
There are, of course, multiple ways of getting your dream role in the IT sector. Above is some guidance on what to look out for when kick-starting your career.
These observations are a direct result of seeing candidates’ successes. I’ve worked with candidates through the application stage, the CV and cover letter stage, through to interview and testing, to finally helping them get comfortable in their new role.
If you want the best chance of being successful and happy while following your passion in IT and you want a real, long-lasting career in the industry, considering the information I have provided in this blog will make you a more conscientious jobseeker – and hopefully give you some direction on where to start!