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The Stigma of a Tech Support Background

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-tell-them-you-were-a-porn-star dept.

Businesses 613

An anonymous reader writes "Since the last semester of college I've been working as a first line tech support agent. At first it was just a way to earn some extra money; then it became a way to scrape by until I could find myself a real job. By now (almost two years in), it's beginning to feel like a curse. The problem I'm having is that no matter how many jobs I apply for, and no matter how well-written my applications are, I can't seem to get further than the first interview. For some reason it seems a lot of employers will completely overlook my degree in computer engineering, the fact that I can show them several personal projects that I've worked on, and that I can show them that I clearly possess the skills they are looking for. I've had several employers tell me to my face, and in rejection letters, that my 'professional background' isn't what they're looking for even when they've clearly stated that they're looking for recent graduates. In fact, a few have even told me that they decided against hiring me simply because I've worked in tech support at a call center for the last two years. I'm wondering if others have experienced similar problems and if there are any good ways to get employers to realize that my experience from tech support is actually a good thing and not a sign of incompetence."

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Two years in the first line? (5, Interesting)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198183)

first line tech support agent

No offense intended, but at least the tech support people I talk to on the phone just follow a script (which make you follow), so to me first line support means 'a hurdle I need to pass asap'. Last time I needed "support" they asked me to reboot my computer, then press the windows key, move the mouse to 'run', then type c-m-d then press enter, then type in the black box 'i-p-c-o-n-f-i-g', etc. This was my telco and the problem was I didn't have service. The woman on the phone said they only supported Windows and because I said I had linux she wouldn't open a ticket. I had to fake replacing the linux computer with a windows one ("luckily" I had a work laptop around) before having a ticket open.

Now, I'm not saying this is your case. But it's hard to believe that these kind of people are any good when it comes to computers. [I'm not saying they're stupid]

Two years doing that - looks like they just can't find a better job. If they didn't find another job elsewhere and they didn't get promoted in their absolutely low level job...well, it doesn't scream 'talent', does it?

I've had several employers tell me to my face [...] that my 'professional background' isn't what they're looking for

You obviously had a chance to ask for more details, did you?

Anyway...this is what I'd think if I was interviewing you, but I might be completely wrong. I'd like to think you would have a fair chance to change my mind, though.

Re:Two years in the first line? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198223)

The woman on the phone said they only supported Windows and because I said I had linux she wouldn't open a ticket. I had to fake replacing the linux computer with a windows one ("luckily" I had a work laptop around) before having a ticket open.

how does it feel to be a linsux bitch? they should have turned off your service for being a fuck up and a useless sack of shit. if nothing else they should know that you're a fucking deadbeat.

Re:Two years in the first line? (1, Offtopic)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198295)

Ok, what if he had been using Mac?

Re:Two years in the first line? (4, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198279)

I think this is an excellent take on it. And maybe instead of just listing it as tech support you can elaborate on what you were doing and demonstrate your troubleshooting skills more so than just that you were following a list created by someone else,; that your experience has forced you to have a greater understanding of the underlying technology than your peers.

Re:Two years in the first line? (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198351)

I agree. I wonder if he just meant that he wasn't promoted into management but he was now higher than 1st level. That question is a very important one.

The other thing I would add is try smaller companies. I don't know who he is interviewing with (Fortune 500s, 1000s, 5000, companies of 100+, etc) but he may get a better shot at a small company where he can demonstrate his skills or they may be willing to give him a 90 day trial period.

An entrepreneur who has had to push past obstacles and may be more willing to give you a shot. Somewhere you may be able to talk to someone other than a middle level HR guy you may be able to argue your case more.

Re:Two years in the first line? (4, Informative)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198577)

The other thing I would add is try smaller companies.

I concur.
I think smaller companies have better interviewers, and are more likely to give someone a shot for 90 days.
Also important: never underestimate the importance of your references, personal and professional.

Re:Two years in the first line? (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198301)

I'll add to this. No doubt the people reading this who have worked/are working tech support will likely balk at what we are saying, but just like the original poster, they are on the other side of the bridge and are angry because they think they shouldn't be there.

Fact of the matter is, this guy settled. Imagine someone who went to school and got a masters in some sort of engineering/drafting for bridges, but instead started his first job drawing caricatures at at a carnival. Imagine a PhD is psychology who decided out of school to "Watch my neighbors son on weeknights". Think about the PhD in some sort of super brain/heart/whatever surgery who took a job as a school nurse right out of school.

Sure. MAYBE these people CAN do what they went to school for, but taking such jobs right out of the gate tells me and others that you are incapable.

Re:Two years in the first line? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198539)

Sure. MAYBE these people CAN do what they went to school for, but taking such jobs right out of the gate tells me and others that you are incapable.

It could also mean that the economy is shit and these were the only jobs they could find.

Re:Two years in the first line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198545)

Jobs aren't just handed out when you graduate. He could have starved while looking for the perfect job, but if there wasn't anything available in his field he may not have had a choice.

Many people take jobs waiting tables after they graduate and they get hired in their field down the road no problem. The real issue is why employers are keying on the fact that he worked in tech support as such a big negative.

Re:Two years in the first line? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198557)

Maybe he's been stuck with the tech support job because he sucks, and employees are using it as an excuse after they decide not to hire him because he sucks.

Re:Two years in the first line? (5, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198569)

He took the job while stil working on his degree, not after. He's been unable to find a job in his field after receiving his degree.

Re:Two years in the first line? (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198575)

Sure. MAYBE these people CAN do what they went to school for, but taking such jobs right out of the gate tells me and others that you are incapable.

The sad thing is that a lot of employers also hold this prejudice. Honest people and intelligent people aren't willing to sell themselves with fake resumes, nor can many people who get out of school with massive student loans afford to wait around for an ideal job offer when there are bills to be paid.

I've always found that people often blame the misfortunes of others on personal attributes, and in their hypocrisy they blame their own misfortunes on other people. It's shameful.

Re:Two years in the first line? (2, Insightful)

nebular (76369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198591)

It's unfortunate that you would think that taking this kind of job right out of the gate is bad. Really sometimes it's the only option. Call centres especially incoming call centres like tech support pay higher per hour than most places in the city they are located in, and anyone with higher than average computer skills can easily get a job.

For someone who just got out of school and now has a TON of bills that they need to pay and need to pay now, a tech support job can be landed quick and easily and it pays. That also makes it tough to leave when you just got mastercard to stop calling you daily. Promotion for many people is not an option as it takes a certain kind of person to get a management job at a call centre and I don't mean it as a compliment.

I've done the customer service and tech support rounds for a couple years in the call centres and it was well paid torture.

As for the resume, focus on what it was that _you_ actually did for the company and customers and try for a smaller company that might be able to see past the job title

Re:Two years in the first line? (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198439)

Two years doing that - looks like they just can't find a better job. If they didn't find another job elsewhere and they didn't get promoted in their absolutely low level job...well, it doesn't scream 'talent', does it?

As somebody who has done phone (tech) support before I can tell you that companies (i.e. Management) will rarely promote people who are not incompetent. This isn't only my opinion, as I've heard it from others here on Slashdot as well who worked in similar roles.

As for working with scripts it all depends on the company. Microsoft for example is soft on scripts and heavy on having the employee actually try to help the customer. There are many companies like this. The sad fact is that a lot of people who get into non-phone support roles tend to lie on their resumes about experience and get their references to back them up (that's been my experience anyways). So you can be an arm-chair cynic if you wish, but your cynicism hasn't been my reality.

Re:Two years in the first line? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198535)

As somebody who has done phone (tech) support before I can tell you that companies (i.e. Management) will rarely promote people who are not incompetent. This isn't only my opinion, as I've heard it from others here on Slashdot as well who worked in similar roles.

The short of it is that highly technical people who are good at their job are too essential to the daily functioning of the business to move into management. They're the ones who get things done, and they're few and far between, whereas managers are a dime a dozen. Most businesses cannot afford to have their staff stop working and start managing.

Re:Two years in the first line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198455)

Except for the degree and the personal projects available that show what his/her capability is. That shows that the writer is "any good with computers," the fact that he worked in a tech support call center doesn't cause him to lose his education.

Re:Two years in the first line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198649)

Aren't you the guy I found out his Ethernet cord was unplugged yesterday?

It's on you man. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198197)

Given a person with no experience and a degree, and a person with some 'support' experience and a degree, a company is going to normally higher the person with experience.

Perhaps there are other reasons that you are not mentioning or that you don't know of? Do you smell?

"In fact, a few have even told me that they decided against hiring me simply because I've worked in tech support at a call center for the last two years."

I'll just simply say bullshit.

This story smells. You have worked in a call center for the past 2 years? Was 2 years ago your last semester of college?

Maybe in your case you have already stumbled into the Peter Principle?

Its what you did. (4, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198281)

The person who interviewed you was the one who called you two weeks ago. They said, "the computer beep is too loud" and you said, "ok. first, we have to reinstall windows from the recovery disk."

Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (5, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198209)

In fact, a few have even told me that they decided against hiring me simply because I've worked in tech support at a call center for the last two years.

Are you a good tech? If so, why haven't you been promoted? Or at least assigned to head tech or second level support?

No offense, but when I did the same thing as you I was in "Team Leader" training in 3 months. All call centers I have worked at (only 2) and most that I have heard of, have enough turn over that by 2 years, a "Computer Engineer" should be moving up the ranks.

I think part of the Peter Principle talks about how lower level or entry level jobs are usually done well by those that wouldn't do well in management or more difficult jobs. Also, perhaps you are not a good tech, but a great developer. This all might be working against you, to no real fault of your own.

Perhaps take a part time job as a developer... advertise that you are willing to work part-time for no benefits and that you know some modern languages; that you are willing to work the night shift doing testing; that you will work for $int_cheap_labor per hour - something to get your foot in the door and working wth professionals.

I do have a hard time believing that just becuase you work in tech support in a call center, you aren't getting jobs. There must be a little more to it. Try to advance in your current postion, or broaden your *professional work* experience (not personal projects).

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198323)

I agree. Two years in at first-level is not a good sign. I do not consider myself to be horribly knowledgeable about PCs, either. I came into this new company not even two years ago. Once I finished my training I was thrown into business accounts and then into second-level. Most of the people at my office who don't go past the first-level after a certain amount of time don't stick around or never break out of it.

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (3, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198381)

It is possible that he also works for a piss poor company. Some shops will keep him in that position forever if
he lets them. Much easier to do nothing than promote him and have to train someone else who will likely turnover quickly. If he
leaves then they still have to train someone but nothing lost to the company.

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198537)

Sure, that's possible. But then how do you explain this supposed "support taint" on his resume? Which I too find hard to believe. During the downturn a few years back, I did that kind of work to make ends meet. I don't recall it hurting my prospects. On the contrary, a customer-facing job gave me a little breadth of experience I'd lacked before.

I think there are other issues here the guy's not acknowledging. Which is often the case when somebody's having trouble finding work.

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (1)

kelleher (29528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198567)

That's not a very good defense for him. Sticking around at a "piss poor company" for that long would tell me he's not somebody I want to hire. Too stupid to leave a bad job for two years == too stupid to work for me now.

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198637)

Some shops will keep him in that position forever if he lets them.

Same difference. If he doesn't actively try and move up in what he's admitting is an inferior environment to his skillset, how's he going to pan out when he's working with peers or more advanced people? If he quit and went to another company after 3 months because of no promotion, then that says something about his character. Having a "I'll sit here and take it" attitude isn't exactly a winning strategy in interviews.

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198431)

mod the parent up. Why aren't you improving?

I recommend researching the companies you want to work for, get in the door by working tech support (unless it means brushing up on your indian), do well, and then after a year apply for jobs you're interested in within the company.

I don't (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198511)

I do have a hard time believing that just becuase you work in tech support in a call center, you aren't getting jobs.

I've experienced a similar stigma working with Big Iron: "Oh, you're a mainframe programmer? Well, we don't do much of that anymore, most of our stuff is object-oriented..." Nevermind the fact that I've been doing C++ for more than a decade. I experienced a similar stigma when I got into embedded development. My degree says computer science, not IBM mainframes.

Some people just can't wrap their head around the fact that you aren't tech support. Personally, I would not put anything on my resume that wasn't career related. The fact that you have tech support on your resume probably makes them think that you think it has something to do with the position offered. They don't need to know you worked as a tech support - sure, you might have to put it on the application, but it should stay off the resume.

The next time it happens, you might want to end the conversation like this:

Them: Well, we're interested in hiring an engineer... Not so much tech support...
You: Have you ever worked in fast food? I thought so! I'm not interested in working for a burger flipper, either...

Believe it or not, I've said worse to an interviewer...

Re:Lack of Advancement, Lack of Experience (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198587)

As someone recently escaping the technical support scene, I'd like to clarify something I feel is misrepresented here.

There is a lot of talk of the high turn over rate at a call center. There is a lot of turn over, an extremely high rate most of the time, but that is primarily your level one agents. Higher level support (Tier two or higher according to the company) has a much lower attrition rate.

Working for a major computer retailer as tier two technical support for just shy of a year, I saw only two positions for tier 2 (Tier two was tops here) agents in that time working at their largest call center state side. If you had bad timing or too much competition it was extremely hard to move up ranks.

I can see how employers may overlook these details (or may simply be unaware of them) however. That is the part that cannot easily be overcome.

Personally, if you had the opportunity to work outside the box a little for your call center in a programming sense, mention it!
For instance I wrote an interal website to manage the extra data and solutions the tier 1 agents had access to. Sure it was a simple HTML page I could have written in '94 due to time and a lack of internal webserver availability (we had one but I didn't have access to it at the time) but it was and is still being used there on a daily basis by hundreds of people making it a worthwhile project to a further employer. (IE: useful)

Lack of effort and ambition and networking (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198647)

Help desk is a great place to network with other IT people. I started in a call center with a Poly Sci degree. I was second tier in six months and third in a year. Off hours I chased down the network, QA, application, server people that I asked to solve problems and followed them around. When I escalated tickets to them I added enough information about the problem to fix it, and even started guessing what I thought the solution might be. Saved them time and effort even when I had the wrong solution. When an application group had an opening, they asked me to apply. Long story not so long, I'm now a high paid consultant.

Maybe its your interviewing skills (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198241)

Maybe you need a dry run with an interview expert to evaluate/grade your performance.

Its very possible you are committing one or more "interview success killers" and don't even know it. It may have nothing to do with your resume.

Re:Maybe its your interviewing skills (5, Informative)

lantastik (877247) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198417)

I was going to say the same thing. You suck at interviewing. I look at a lot of resumes and interview a lot of candidates - I am one of the technical gateways to getting hired.

I look at most resumes for an average of a minute. I am mostly looking for past experience to ask you about and to quiz you on skills you say you have. If I pass on you it's because you sucked in the interview, not because of anything that was on your resume.

Here are some things to ask yourself:
- Am I dressed and groomed appropriately?
- How is my hygiene?
- Am I well spoken and can I communicate clearly and effectively?
- Have I thought about real answers to the typical questions and not just canned responses (i.e. strengths, weaknesses, greatest accomplishment, long-term goals, examples of working in a team, etc.)? You need to have well thought-out responses to these questions that apply to you.
- During tech interviews, can I provide real world examples or am I spitting out algorithms and examples from text books?

Practice your interviewing skills.

Re:Maybe its your interviewing skills (2, Insightful)

Hottie Parms (1364385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198465)

I would have to agree here. You said you often get to the first interview, but after that they drop you from the applicant pool. The fact that they're willing to interview you at all shows that they are at least intrigued by what you have on your resume.

Either you're lying on your paper application by saying you have skills and experiences that you don't have, or you're just not selling yourself in the interview. Take the above advice and go through some dry run interviews at some kind of career development center. Some colleges offer such services to their alumni, so I'd look into that, if I were you.

Re:Maybe its your interviewing skills (2, Insightful)

Acius (828840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198625)

Yes! I've done a little bit of interviewing for technical positions. If you're interviewing with me at all, then your resume was definitely good enough for me to be spending time on you. I don't think your resume is the problem.

When I'm interviewing, it's really important to me that I feel like I can stand being around you for a large percentage of my week. That means you MUST be able to express yourself, have good personal hygiene, and be amazingly intelligent.

You don't have to be my best buddy, and I'm going to be a little careful avoiding irrelevant biases (I have an unreasonable affection for British accents, i.e.). But if I find something about you deeply offensive (did he just PICK HIS NOSE?!) (seriously, a stained white T-shirt?) (what is that FUNKY smell?) then I'm going to be actively looking for reasons to not hire you. You would drive me and my team crazy, and that would impact your and our effectiveness negatively.

Give your people skills a good, hard examination, and work on improving them.

The best solution (5, Insightful)

microcentillion (942039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198251)

In my experience, the best solution is to leave it out. If your experience is limited to JUST call-center work, list every responsibility you had while leaving out the fact that it was tech support. If you can dance around it well enough (And the company name doesn't give it away), you get all the benefits without any of the drawbacks. Short Version: Lie.

Re:The best solution (5, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198289)

Bingo! Remember, you are not required to list every single thing on your resume. For most people an empty two years would be a suspicious hole, but for a recent graduate they wouldn't expect constant working in addition to your school. If they ask you about it, tell them the truth: you worked tech support to make money for school but you didn't put it on your resume because you don't feel it's relevant to your experience for this job.

Re:The best solution (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198501)

Erg, I misread the original question. I now see that he spent two lines doing tech support after graduation. If you have a Computer Engineering degree and can't find anything better than first-line tech support, I'm going to have to say that the problem is not them, and it's not your tech support background, it's you.

Re:The best solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198409)

Yes, euphemisms are good. "Support Engineer" sounds a lot better than "Level 1 Call Center Agent".

Incompetent Tech Support (2, Interesting)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198253)

...my experience from tech support is actually a good thing and not a sign of incompetence.

For some reason that unfortunate perception just keeps being spread by the people who use tech support.

Takes Time and Connections (1)

jaguth (1067484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198265)

It takes time and connections to advance in IT. I'm 27 and have been in the field for 9 years. I started as a lowly computer repair tech (thats the only job i could get), and now i do systems engineering (got the job just last year). Over the years, I added to my resume, made more connections, and slowly moved up the ladder, even with your degree and work experience.

move on to desktop support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198275)

Why don't you try to move on to desktop/deskside support?

There is plenty of need for that. You'll learn more and you have the chance to stay up to date on a lot more tech then you will on the phone.

Aside from that, I would question your staying in phone support for 2 years. Though, I think there are valuable skills in phone support, more than six months is over kill.

That seems really odd... (5, Insightful)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198285)

I started out working TS, too (I am currently a developer)...and companies offering most of the positions I was applying for understood that a couple years of experience in TS was a great boon because at the end of the day no matter how good you are as a developer, your software has to get used by people; people that get frustrated, people that have certain patterns of doing things that aren't the same as engineers - and a lot of engineers just don't understand that until they have to deal with those people day in and day out.

I am nearing the point in my career where I will have to start *hiring* coders, and one of the first things I am going to look for is a background in bridging the gap between "software systems" and "people" ... i.e. Tech Support.

If the positions you are applying to don't seem to get that then I can only offer 2 thoughts:
1. They don't understand software development that well, so you should probably not work for them.
2. *Explain* what I just said above in your interview.

All your knowledge is 2 years out of date (2, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198287)

If you're working in 1st line then you are not using your degree, or any of the skills you picked up during the course. That means that you're essentially the same as one of this-year's graduates, except that you'll have had 2 years to forget stuff and won't have been taught the current stuff that this year's grads. have.

Really, your career is now in tech. support and given the usual turnover in support staff, 2 years is a long time to be on the bottom rung (please don't take this as an offense, it's just an observation). It does show that for whatever reason, you haven't progressed in your current employment.

If you're looking for a career change (from what you're doing now) then the good news is that your CV is "marketable" as you're getting interviews, the problem must be what the interviewer sees when you're in the interview. Sounds like it's time for a makeover before you become institutionalised.

Re:All your knowledge is 2 years out of date (2, Informative)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198345)

I agree with the parent, the fact you got some interview means people are paying attention to what is on your resume and willing to spend the time seeing if you are more than your resume. Perhaps there's something about the interview itself you can work on. There's plenty of articles out there about how to be good on an interview, its mostly just normal public speaking tips though: good eye contact, clear voice, ability to answer the questions with a decent answer even when you have to admit you don't know the answer, and so on.

Well. (2, Interesting)

Dr.D.IS.GREAT (1249946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198291)

Do like I did, intern for free at a local computer shop for 2 months, prove your worth and get hired. After that, go out and get your A+, its a little overwhelming at first but after you pass the exam you have a piece of paper saying you are worth something in the tech world.

Work at the shop for a year. Take whatever wage they sling you, they will give you a raise as soon as all the customers call up looking to speak to you directly especially if you start managing big accounts.

After you complete your one year with the computer shop and have your A+ Cert combined with your help desk experience you can finally get a real tech job.

or start selling hackintoshes....

Dr. D

Re:Well. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198353)

It seems that the poster doesn't want a tech job. He seems to want to be a developer. At least that's what I'm taking from their post.

But it would have been wise for the poster to also talk about their job goals a bit too. The best advice anyone here can give his as what to do next is find another job. What can you really say to someone who says that they're when you don't know where they want to go?

Re:Well. (1)

Dr.D.IS.GREAT (1249946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198369)

<quote>It seems that the poster doesn't want a tech job. He seems to want to be a developer. At least that's what I'm taking from their post.

But it would have been wise for the poster to also talk about their job goals a bit too. The best advice anyone here can give his as what to do next is find another job. What can you really say to someone who says that they're when you don't know where they want to go?</quote>

indeed. However, having a strong background in support and break/fix is always a good thing no matter which tech job / dev job your in.

Dr. D

Re:Well. (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198509)

The A+ cert was not hard (I just walked in and passed it back in '04). Some companies will not look at you unless they see degree AND certifications. If you can, get a few in different areas. Most on here will hate it but having an MCSE, a Cisco cert or two (CCNA, CCNP, there are others too), Red Hat certs, in addition to the A+ cert you will look a lot better to the HR department. If the place is a microsoft shop, the MSCE will look good to them. If they are a *nix shop, the Red hat and Cisco certs will look good. This is not going to be cheap. The Red Hat certs are like $2300-3000 per class with the test. You could go cheaper and just take the test too. I have to look up the cost of the Cisco certs but they are also not cheap.

Another option is getting a masters degree. I didn't see if the degree you have was a MS or BS degree. Bachelors degrees are beginning to look like high school diplomas. Everyone has one. Which kind of sucks cause that means now one has to go through another 2-3(4?) years of school and deeper into debt to get a good job.

Bottom line, having a few certs + degree + some experience makes you look a lot better then degree + some experience.

Still first line? (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198299)

Are you still first line tech support? I've worked with a lot of low level tech support folks and most of them were absolute idiots. If you haven't advanced in 2 years, it's kind of a red flag. At this point, most employers are going to be looking for something to show that you've got a strong upside. They either want someone who's involved in either programming duties of some sort or where they've got the keys to the kingdom. If you don't have admin level access it says that your current employer thinks very little of you.

Re:Still first line? (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198533)

Nevermind that -- having a job like tech support is in no way reflective of your career goals. I mean, you shouldn't even bother wasting time with doing the job. Or at the very least, have the good sense to not try to make tech support out to be "field experience".

Use your head. Tech support is no better than flipping burgers at McDonalds -- in fact, it is a McJob, and you should treat it as such.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198315)

I work at a unique company in which a majority of the our tech support staff have been there for years. The youngest ones are in their late 20's, most in their 40's. A lot of former COBOL/RPG programmers in their 50's and 60's too.

Outside of the former COBOL/RPG folks (it's understandable that they couldn't find a development job, contrary to what a recent /. article seemed to proclaim), the rest of em have zero ambition. They're fairly motivated and mostly not idiots, but that's a job for a 22-year old right out of school. Anything longer is career suicide (or at least a major hurdle). If I were you I'd quit asap (I surely hope you don't have dependents that rely on you for income...). First thing I'd do is re-do my resume, stressing the development skills/experience (if you have any?), then repost on monster, careerweb, linkedin, etc. Within 48 hours, unless you are radioactive in some strange way, then there will be 5 voicemails from recruiters/headhunters offering you underpaid contract work. I'd take the job with the best prospects for long-term employment.

Display skill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198317)

When you say tech support, they usually assume you were a phone person who did nothing but read from a script, which IMO show's no skill at all. However, if your jobs required more, say so, tell them the things you did. I have a job in IT(college entry level) and I call it tech support, but I've never had to pick up a phone, my job is all hands-on. ESX Config, Cisco network deployment, etc.

also, were you working there out-of-college, or during college? The difference is that out-of-college you should have been looking for more, but during college you have the excuse that you were working during school, so that's a good mid-level job to have while still focusing on your studies.

The real reasons aren't the stated reasons (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198333)

People have usually decided whether they're going to hire you after the first couple of minutes. They often don't really know the reason for rejecting other than "a feeling", but still feel the need to justify their decision.

Work on interview technique.

It might not be what you think it is (3, Informative)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198335)

I was a developer for 10 years then decided to get a new job. I got lots of rejection before I landed a new position. I think that's just the way it goes. I probably got rejected 20-30 times. If they didn't call back, oh well. I had plenty of interviews that seemed to go just fine, then never got called back. It could be the economy, there's probably lots of qualified candidates looking for work. Just keep trying, make getting a job your full time job, and you'll have one before you know it. The current one I have was landed through a headhunter, I'm making twice what I was previously with a far better working environment. Don't get discouraged, I think lots of rejection is par for the course.

leave out unwanted experience (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198339)

It is your resume. You put what you want on it to appeal to the company.

If you think your tech-support experience is negative... get it out of your resume!
If they ask what you have been doing for the past 2 years, say you have been traveling the world.

This is hardly a complicated issue.

Re:leave out unwanted experience (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198485)

well, when I hire I make very sure there are ZERO holes in your resume. If there are gaps with no explanation whatsoever (even traveled to Bali for 2 years is better, so I might insist on a drug test) you're not going to make the first interview.
Don't forget, there are a lot of questions the interviewer cannot ask without opening a big quagmire with legal, from "are you pregnant" to "do you have military obligations", so having gaps will raise more of a flag than anything else.
As for the "first line call center", make it look positive. You're a people person, you like to offer people quality service, but you want to get back into the real field because your feel like your skills might be eroding. So, now you have mentioned what the interviewer might be afraid off, but now he knows you are aware of it and are willing to catch up.

Look in the mirror much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198343)

Have you asked yourself how it has come to be that you are answering first level tech support calls with a degree in computer engineering??? After two years!?! If I were to looking at your resume, I'd probably come away thinking you were either unmotivated or not too bright. Sadly there are a lot of idiots that make it out of Universities with a degree.

Get into back line support ASAP.

--AC

Re:Look in the mirror much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198419)

Most jobs do not want someone with just a degree: they want someone with at least 1-2 years of experience.

Even a degree with the word 'computer' in it does not automatically get you a $60k/year job. You need work experience.

Well, if they don't like it... (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198347)

Delete it. Say that you graduated and then got to a two-years sabbatical for living the wild life till you settled down and started working like a beast for the rest of your life. That will thrill them. Other stories are also possible, you can use your inventiveness, that same inventiveness that got you to the first Slashdot page.

I agree -- leave it off your resume. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198387)

Your resume is supposed to get you a job. You aren't supposed to lie on it, but there's no law that says you have include items that don't serve your interests. If someone asks what you've been doing, just tell them it was a stop-loss job while you looked for work.

Re:Well, if they don't like it... (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198635)

Having it on his resume clearly isn't the problem. After all he's getting interviews, and I can't think of anyone who would interview someone they didn't have some intention in hiring.

I have to agree with everyone who says that the job isn't the problem, there's something else. What it is we can only guess, but it might be that he's not a very good diagnostician if a) he thinks that doing tech support is the reason he's not getting the job, and b) he's been at the job 2 years and is still first tier.

I'm going to guess that it's two things: One is that he doesn't interview well. He's getting inverviews but no jobs. And he might not be great with people and his subject mater on-the-fly if he hasn't advanced in two years. The other thing is he's not motivated. What the hell has be been doing that last two years? I would be sending out fistfulls of resumes daily if I had a job like that, not to mention, as other have, that those potions promote quickly if you have any motivation at all.

Go in there confident, look them in the eye, give them a firm dry handshake, set up straight and dare them to not give you the job. When they question your working in a call center the last two years don't look at your feet and apologize, look them in the face and say "Yes, and you can imagine how frustrating that is for someone with ambition and a desire to grow. That's exactly why I've applied at CompHugeCo. I've heard this is a place that rewards those qualities."

What kind of limitations are you putting on a job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198349)

Are you restricting yourself to certain positions?
Are you restricting yourself to certain locations?
Are you restricting yourself to certain industries?

At the very least can you get an IT position at a large company where once you are in the door you can work your way to another job. Have you tried?

When it comes to getting that first real job you can't be picky, you need one under your belt.

You're getting interviews... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198357)

... So the problem isn't your resume or background. When they called you in for the first interview, they had every intention of giving you a fair shot - otherwise it'd be an utter waste of THEIR time.
 
Your background isn't what's fucking you - it's whatever you're doing wrong in-person that's fucking you.
 
I'm not about to speculate on what that thing is - but you need to get rid of this stupid "Everybody is prejudging me because my tech support background" attitude ASAP. It's not helping.

Is this widespread? (1, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198361)

A few years ago I hired a girl that worked in the desktop support group of a client I was consulting at. She had a CS degree, but I could care less about that. One day she showed me a project she was doing with Python and TurboGears. I had no idea she could code. After looking through what she had (and making sure she hadn't lifted it from somewhere) I gave her my card and told her to call me if she ever got tired of fixing PCs.

A couple of months later she was working freelance (from home), on a laptop provided by me, coding Python and pulling in 5x her old salary. Worked for me for about a year, then took a job with a startup that also employed her boyfriend.

I don't know how widespread this is, but I can tell you that I don't care about where you've been the past two years, what your degree (or lack thereof) is, or what god you pray to. If you can ace two days of technical and non-tech interviews, you're hired. These companies are definitely doing it wrong. In fact, I'd say working support might give you interpersonal skills that many developers lack. This girl certainly was a great person to work with, aside from just being good at coding.

And well... yes, she was cute. But also engaged =)

Re:Is this widespread? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198645)

and pulling in 5x her old salary. Worked for me for about a year, then took a job with a startup ..... And well... yes, she was cute

yup. she used you for your money and when that ran out she threw you aside like an old shoe. Just like all my old girl friends too :-)

How to get hired in Tech (5, Insightful)

scribblej (195445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198363)

Personally, I wouldn't hire you either - you have no experience.

"How can I get experience if no one will hire me?"

Well, you have an /excellent/ choice of career paths in computers, because you don't need a benevolent company to hire you in order to get experience. In fact, in my own hiring, it's the experience that happens /outside/ of a "job" that makes the most difference. If you really want to succeed, do something. If you are trying to be a programmer, write that project you've been wanting to do; don't wait. Once you have it written, that goes on your resume. I wrote a /HORRIBLE/ stupid graphing calculator for Windows CE and started selling it, and that is absolutely what got me hired as a coder. Don't have the werewithal to make a whole project? Contribute to existing open-source packages, and reap the same benefits.

Or maybe you're looking to become a network engineer instead of a programmer. Set up your own virtual cluster of machines running under KVM, make it do fun things, show off your ability to create a secure environment, and put it on your resume as experience. Even better, when they ask you about it, you can offer them a copy of the entire setup on a DVD, with all the virtual machines...

Either one of those scenarios would get you hired by me, regardless of the rest of your resume -- not only does it show definitively you can do what you want to do... far more important is the fact that it demonstrates you love doing this stuff; you love it enough to do it on your own. That is key.

You're lucky - you've got a field where the cost of doing it "in your garage" is absolutely minimal.

Call center experience /is/ good experience, in my personal opinion. I had early jobs at call centers. I still value that experience as a developer, because it helps me remember that people are idiots who will mess things up if you give them the slightest opportunity. This is critical to keep in mind when developing anything. But it's no substitute for actual experience in programming. I think you can sell your experience in call centers to someone who will hire you to do other things, but you'd best have some additional selling points, because while that experience has some value, it's not a hiring-value.

Re:How to get hired in Tech (4, Interesting)

scribblej (195445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198449)

Let me add something, since the OP did mention his personal projects.

It's possible you just suck. Yes, your projects may compile and run, and do what you want, and your experience in school may have left you feeling like the head of your class. It's still possible to be bad at what you do.

That's not saying you are inevitably going to be a shitty programmer your whole life. Really, really being good at what you are doing takes a lot of effort.

Anecdotally, my first real programming job interview was with Jellyvision, who were making the (at the time) totally popular game "You Don't Know Jack." I had a long interview with their hiring people and they loved me. I came back the next day and spent all day interviewing with their programmers and design teams and hanging out at the office, which was pretty nice. They all thought I was great. Then I came back in for a third day; the third day I was to bring in a CD of my own code, explain it all, and participate in a code review of what I'd written. They never talked to me again after that, and I know why -- my code SUCKED. I mean, really, really bad. I found some of it on an old disk a year ago and was /horrified./

I'm better now. I'm not great, but I'm way better.

It's all about spin and attitude (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198365)

Almost everything here is about attitude. Turn the "curse" into an advantage.

Don't say:"I've had a crap job for the last 2 years doing tech support and now I want a real job."

Instead, say:"For the last two years I've been doing support and really getting to understand how **real** people interact with software. It sure has been an eye opener and I've learnt a lot about how to think about effective user interface design than I ever did reading books or in that 6 month college course...." Now that is something I just came up with in 3 seconds... sit down and think of at least 5 ways to present the tech support in a positive light and turn it to your advantage.

Oh, and remember, in this game that degree of yours is close to worthless. It might get your foot into the door but you still have to sell your product (ie. you). After a while nobody cares about your degree any more. In my last 4 jobs nobody even asked me about my degree and I did not even mention it on my resume.

Also, as a hirer, I seldom look at degrees or the number of As the candidate got. I look for the "bushy tail factor": someone that is keen and adaptable and can learn on the job. I once needed a C programmer but hired a person who only knew BASIC because he displayed the traits of a person that would quickly learn anything needed to get the job done.

Yer Doin' it Wrong (2, Insightful)

ibmjones (52133) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198377)

Find a tech support in the company that you want to work for, THEN when the engineering position in that company opens up, apply for it.

That way, you already have your foot in the door, plus you will already be familiar with the business processes in place, so that gives you an advantage over outsiders trying to get the job.

Re:Yer Doin' it Wrong (1)

Weasel Boy (13855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198531)

Ya, what you said.

Who do you know? (2, Insightful)

neurovish (315867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198379)

In your case, your resume and your degree are not going to get you a job, especially if it has been 2 years. If you're more than 6 months out of school, most places consider you an "experienced professional". As far as I can tell, the only way to overcome lack of experience fresh out of school if you don't know anybody is to have a 4.0 GPA.

I'm coming up on 6 years since I graduated with a computer engineering degree, and I'm still working as a systems administrator. The closest thing to CpE I see are crazy perl regex's or the odd Java code when an application on one of my servers "suddenly stops working".

100% of the graduates I know that were employed in engineering when they graduated or shortly thereafter had either experience through co-ops/internships, stellar grades and well known to professors, or they knew somebody who was already working where they were hired on.

Lie!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198385)

If you really think your tech support experience is hurting your chances don't mention it say you spent the past two years volunteering in the peace corps or fighting global warming tell them anything they want to hear i'm sure that is what your competition is doing!

Re:Lie!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198479)

You don't have to tell them that you've been in the peace corp but I do agree that you should just not mention it. If they ask what you've been doing, tell them you've been living off your savings or a trust fund or something while refining your skills and point to any open source projects you've contributed to. If you haven't contributed to any projects, then write one this week. It's not hard if it's a simple project.

Personal Connections (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198389)

That's what it is all about. I know this isn't addressing specifically what you asked, but it does address how to get a job. The answer is the post topic.

While people can and do get jobs cold, you find far more get it through some kind of in. You know someone at a company, or someone who knows someone. A personal introduction goes a hell of a long way.

So what you really need to be doing is shaking down all your contacts. Talk to your friends, family, people you've worked with, professors, etc. See if they know anyone in the industry you want to work in. Have them introduce you, then see if maybe they know of a group that'd like to hire you.

You may even find a job springs up where there wasn't one before. Someone says "Well we aren't looking right now, but you know, I think you'd work well in this group so let me talk to them." They might not be actively looking, but if introduced to someone good, they decide to hire that person.

just lie, make stuff up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198393)

its called fudging a resume. masters of fudge go a long way. just stick to your story, and have a friend back it up by giving a reference check, "oh ya, i was the manager at so and so, and joe was a real fine employee!!!" -- getting a job is like getting laid, its all in how you approach it, and if you're good at it, you can get whatever job you want. The best job, of course, is having none at all, and watching the cash flow into your bank accounts every day.

Misreading the situation (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198397)

It's not that you have Tech Support on your resume, it's that you don't have any sort of developer position on your resume. According to some of the recruiters I've talked to, at least in my market developers must have 3 years of experience to be considered seriously for a junior-level position because statistically most developers make their biggest mistakes in their first 3 years (myself included). Since all employers try to avoid being the victim of those sorts of mistakes, entry level developers have a very difficult time getting their foot in the door.

Some concrete suggestions:
- Smaller startups may be more willing to take the risk on you than larger corporations.
- If your personal projects are any good, try selling them. If you do, then you are now the sole proprietor of a software business, and may not have to worry about finding a job.
- If your current company isn't giving you promotions you're qualified for, then you should be looking to switch companies. Put out your resume quietly, though.
- Take any development job you can, even if it's at intern level. Your pay is going to suck for a while.

but remember, there's a HUGE shortage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198405)

of computer engineers, so go out there and get those degrees, kids!

Move up in the company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198411)

I started as tech support as well while I was still in college and was promoted within the company up to a development position. The company you work for offers some kind of support for something technical, so hopefully there's a career path towards working on whatever technical thing they're supporting is. This was the case for me. If not, maybe you can find another tech support position in a company that has such a career path.

I feel your pain... (4, Interesting)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198415)

...and, unfortunately, I have no useful advice to offer.

I worked tech support at a (then) Fortune 100 pc "assembler" and seller, including as a member of their corporate tech support group. After I took a job on the company's web team, I was laid off, went back to school full time and got a master's in comp sci.

I tried to find a job developing embedded systems, preferably in defense industry. I had / have a security clearance, decent grades, significant work experience... and finally after 18 months, one offer from a small company which I quickly took. Nine months later, they laid off 40% of their engineering department...

I never had anybody figuratively "turn up their nose" at my tech support experience. I think they just looked at it as non-specific work experience, i.e. "could hold a job for extended period of time without getting fired."

Since then, I've found very well paying work that is still in the IT industry, but really isn't what I had hoped to find.

Now I am in my early 40s and prospects of finding the kind of work I was interested in (and still am) are quickly fading.

I am trying to find satisfaction for my itch in personal projects.

I don't know what it is, but there must be something that I have been lacking or failed to show / demonstrate in interviews.

For what it is worth, I wish you well in your search.

A few pointers (3, Insightful)

Dominican (67865) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198423)

If you are getting interviews then the problem is not with the resume, but with the interview.

You may want to check with the school you went to if they have anyone that could help you.

Failing that, you may be able to find resources online with key points to remember on an interview.

Also, many companies do tend to think that anyone that is in tech support for 2 years is because they could not do better, so you may want to look for a small company to work for while you can add some other tittle to the resume.

Specially think of a small ISP, or one where they may let you do other projects in addition to tech support.

In general small companies will have you involved with much more than tech support, even if that is what you are hired for. Larger companies tend to be more specialized so if you get hired for position X, it is little harder to move.

Any small company will, but there may not be as much technology beyond support for you to do. With an ISP there is a higher chance of you getting non tech support tasks.. even on the smallest of ISPs.

If you think tech support is bad, try having none (3, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198425)

I can't find a job because I have no experience. That is pretty bad when you first leave college, but after several years companies feel you're unemployable because no one hired you. My only hope for making any income is to create my own profitable software projects.

Two years in tech support (4, Insightful)

guru zim (706204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198429)

If I had to guess, I would say that:

1) You smoke. People who work in tech support smoke.
2) Do you drink and / or drug? My experience with TS folks is that they tend to have a higher rate of both than the norm. Do you happen to fit any stereotypes of either of these? I have long hair for example - people assume I'm a pot smoking hippie.
3) You probably spoke negatively of your current employer. This is because TS sucks. However, this is a huge warning sign for employers.
4) You probably think you are above your current job, and it comes out in the interview process. People don't like people who are like this.

If I am totally off the mark, my apologies. If even one of these sound like you, then you may want to think about what you can do about it.

PS> Being a smoker isn't ever going to be the stated reason you didn't get a job. I don't think it can be, officially. Still, it's the same as showing up wearing too much cologne - people take their sense of smell seriously. Smokers generally don't smell good (too much smoke, overcompensating mint, etc) and it does hurt their odds of success. It's not something I would consider in an interview but I've watched it happen to smart people who should have been moving ahead.

This is Not About Technical Qualifications (3, Insightful)

repetty (260322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198441)

This problem is not about technical qualifications. In fact, you see this sort of thing in food service, sports, journalism (real journalism, not blogs), photography, building construction... you name it.

You are pretty much screwed. You've been had cheap and people's perceptions are so, so hard to change.

Prospective employers only want you for what you have done and aren't interested in anything else.

I recommend that you omit your employment history from your job applications and resumes. Explain that your parent's financed your education and provided your food and housing. You never had to work.

We're not talking about too much time, here.

Cliches, but true (1)

AmericanGladiator (848223) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198445)

Work on becoming a well-rounded person. If you enjoy many things in life, you will have a greater likelyhood of having something in common with the interviewer. If you don't already, I suggest working out. Sadly, many techies fall into one of two categories: ultra-thin (i.e. no muscle) or pudgey. Make it a goal to run a 5K or some other fitness goal. I find it does make for good small talk. And someone might think: Hey, this guy is a goal-setter. Join a toastmaster's group or other organization that can help with speaking skills. Spend less time on Slashdot. Kiss some girls :-)

Same problem, but from the employer's side... (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198451)

I had this particular problem at the place that I work when I was a manager, but in reverse.

I'd love to have been able to get qualified staff to answer user problems and questions but, because of the stigma attached to working at a support desk, we had tremendous difficulty. We've worked hard at promoting people from the helpdesk to higher positions - with some success - but weren't able to get really qualified staff because even moderately qualified people looked upon helpdesk as a dead end and wouldn't even talk to us when we mentioned it.

Some of my best tier two and tier three employees came from the helpdesk. They weren't the most technical staff, at least in the beginning, but they sure knew what the users do and how system downtime affected them. They often assisted the application developers in problem solving - when I could get the developers to talk to them - because frequently the developers often had little clue as to how their applications worked from the user point of view.

Just lie about it. (4, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198453)

Pretend that you've been in prison for 2 years. That's far less embarrassing.

Move to a more advanced tech support job (1)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198481)

You don't describe the type of tech support you are doing. Some TS jobs are simple and mindless while some require very technical aptitude. I'm assuming your experience is more of the former.

Look for a tech support job that is business-oriented with a company that is the originator of the software that is being supported. The software should have its own API. Learn the ins and out of that API. Wow the customers who need help with the API.

My advice is entirely based on personal experience. It happened to work for me and others in tech support. Some TS in the group learned the application and nothing else. Others, like me, learned both languages of the API at that time (back in the 90's - Visual Basic and C).

On the other hand, some people in my old tech support group, even those that were competent programmers, moved into other areas of the software business - QA, Sales Engineer, Training, Product Management

If you're not getting the responses for software dev jobs, then broaden your horizons.

two issues (2, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198489)

There are two solutions:

1. Leave the helpdesk job off your resume. If they ask why the gap, make something up.

2. So you've been working two years in helpdesk without being offered a promotion? Either the company's promotion process is broken or you are. Where I work, everybody starts out at helpdesk, no matter what position they are applying for. Even if it's just for a week or two, you start out answering phones and move up from there. Some people do, some don't, some actually like helpdesk.

I think you're not understanding. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198505)

They're probably just telling you the line about work experience to be nice. Do you have any pertinent work experience besides your degree? Are you passing their technical questions? I started out doing tech support and it has always been seen as something employers WANT. They want to know that you're going to be willing to jump in and fix your bugs. They want to know that you understand the steps to take when troubleshooting a problem.

Do you have any outside projects? Have you ever written anything that wasn't required for class?

Tech supprt is awesome (3, Informative)

Weasel Boy (13855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198519)

After several years as a developer, I found a job in tech support. Now, years later, I still love it. This is not your typical call center stuff: my customers are engineers. I am respected, the pay is good, the customers are fun, and the challenges change frequently. Many tech support engineers use their position to get their foot in the door and skill up and move on to development, but I'm pretty happy in support.

Quit making excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198527)

I worked in first line support for 3 years and landed a decent admin job when I found the company I did support for just simply was not interested in promoting me. It wasn't lack of skill or experience, but rather politics, but that's another story for another time. I simply did what I could to prove my worth to the interviewers and they hired me. Guess what? I have no education past high school except certifications. If the employer wasn't planning to hire you based on your experience in tech support, he/she wouldn't have brought you in for an interview. What happens is you fail to prove to the interviewer that you are valuable.

Look for a good company with internal opps (1)

toppromulan (1362421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198529)

I had similar issues, for more years. I can tell you what I did. I got on in the support department of a company that I could tell actually had more going on in the same headquarters than just a call center, and eventually applied successfully into another department after working there a year or so. Good luck.

Tech support background can hurt your resume. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198543)

I worked for Packard Bell for almost 5 years (the time I spend in college) doing tech support. I noticed that having Packard Bell on my resume got me interviews with people who had also worked there in the past, but no job offers.
Eventually I just left Packard Bell off my resume and pretend I never worked there, then I started getting offers.

slight of hand (2, Insightful)

Veritas1980 (1008679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198551)

I would just say that the last 2 years of employment was just to keep you afloat and none of it was relevant so you left it off your resume. Seems ok to me.

Recommended reading (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198579)

Get a copy of 'Great answers to tough interview questions.' I always read that before going into an interview and I swear by it. It'll give you examples of how you can take aspects of your job and put a certain spin on it to bring out the qualities they're looking for. Example: I once impressed an interview panel to hire me for the job of UNIX admin (even though I had zero sysadmin experience and precious little UNIX experience beyond typing a command to start AutoCAD) on the grounds that when I was at a loose end at work I would go through the Help menu and tutorials and learn a bit of Visual Basic Programming, which I was then able to use in work to save the company a quantifiable amount of money. If I hadn't read the book I probably would never have thought of mentioning something that ultimately got me the job because I was able to convince them that I would be able to pick up the skills with a little bit of training.

And as someone says above, have some qualities in your extra-curricular activities that you can sell as another reason to hire you. You could do a lot worse than read The Game by Neil Strauss. It's not just about picking up chicks, it's also about adding value to yourself and making you a person worth dating and then being able to demonstrate the high value person you are - a useful skill that can be adapted for the job interview.

Just sue Scott Adams (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198595)

If he hadn't published all of those Dogbert Technical Support cartoons that gave tech. supp. an approval rating that makes Congress look great, you'd be hired immediately.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198597)

Say that you did support for 3 months and spent the other 21 months "running your own business". Then you can put whatever you want in there. Buy a spare machine with lots of RAM (so cheap these days), install vmware server or esxi (free), and mess around with operating systems, firewalls, databases, etc etc...then you can find a job as a junior grad.

WOW (1)

tylerdrumr (1233104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198599)

this isn't the first time ive herd of this, im actualy a junior and i was thinking about joining the help desk at where i work now... but maybe thats not such a good idea. does anyone have any suggestions for what i should do for a starting job while im in school (most of my schooling is online so i dont have to worry about conflicting schedules)

I've Been There (1)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198611)

I found myself in a similar situation a while back. I had a degree in Computer Science, but had spent a few years as a PC/Network Administrator after leaving college. I wanted to get into software development, but I knew that any kind of software job I could get at the time wasn't going to be anything that I was interested in.

My solution was to go back to school for my Master's degree. The theory was that when I was done my software skills would be fresher, and the more advanced coursework would point me towards more interesting projects. Thankfully, it worked pretty well. I got hired on part-time before I graduated by an alum who had been surfing grad students' pages looking for new hires, switched to full time after graduation, and I've been doing professional software development ever since.

So maybe some formal education, even if you already know the stuff, could be a good investment for you.

Best short answer* (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25198617)

LIE!!!!

I have seen tons of complete jackasses get by with lies on their resumes. A good friend of mine had to work for just such a jackass for nearly two years before the employer finally accepted the fact that this guy was a complete moron and had simply lied on his resume about his abilities, expertise, knowledge and experience.

I won't speculate on whether or not you have actual skill or not, but I see people lie so often and get really good jobs as a result that I simply have to recommend lying as a means to get past your dilemma.

Learn how to paint, then we'll talk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25198633)

They don't care what you've done, they want to know what you can do for them. Clearly, you have no idea what they do nor what they could possibly need.

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