My IT career can easily be summed up as, "How do I do xxx and what software does it?" In all my jobs that I've held it was up to me to figure it out. I've never really had an IT team full of professionals to help or manage. So the people I help think I'm an expert in this stuff, but I'm either applying to the wrong jobs, or am completely clueless.

I've been looking for a System Admin/IT/Sales Engineer job for the past five years, because the pay at my current job (I've been there 5 years) sucks and I've had to do a lot of on-the-job learning with no reward/acknowledgment from the non-profit organization that employs me.

Unfortunately a lot of my skills I've had to learn on my own as the organizations I get to be apart of do not utilize anything really marketable So I've learned stuff like G-Suite, AWS, Office 365, Solarwinds, Microsoft SCCM and salesforce all on my own. No Certs, I can't really afford most of them, and I made it this far w/o them so I keep plugging away. I usually get 1-2 phone calls a week and maybe in person interview once a month, so not bad, but no offers either.

I'd love to work for a big name brand company that works on the latest and greatest tech. Even though I'm systems admin at the non-profit, due to budget or donations coming in at completely random times, we don't really have the capability to do that. I have one IT Manager who is a complete idiot who just watches YouTube all day. I do what I can on my own through home labs, and I sell up that in interviews, but nobody seems impressed by it.

This job search has been completely draining to me and has caused me to lose some self-esteem, has gotten me depressed to the point of missing work, and paranoid almost to the point of suicide. I don't want to keep being a glorified password resetter at a crappy non-profit and nothing I do seems to make a difference.

What's worse is that people think I am happy, making good money, working for a great cause. It's none of those things, but I put on my happy face b/c that's good customer service. Any advice?

Here is my resume which I just changed again, from one I've been using since January.

Things I think I have working against me:

  1. Looks, voice, facial disability- I was born w/a cleft palate.
  2. Non-profit is part of an organization that's going through a nationwide scandal and vendors refusing to work w/us since we have no $$$.
  3. Nerves, not showing excitement, trouble showing emotion- This is genetic from my mom's side. I have trouble showing emotion or acting excited/emotional and I have to try really hard to smile properly on top of my disability. This usually happens when meeting new people/teams in the first few minutes but with interviews it gets turned way up b/c I know they are testing me and have to approve of me joining them for five + years right then and there. With random people if they don't like me I can just ditch them easily.
  • 1
    Have you tried working with recruiters? Or talking to a careers counselor at your alma mater? Someone who can get to know you personally in more detail than this may be able to offer more specific advice than us. – dwizum Jun 10 '19 at 19:18
  • 1
    Hi jjf3, right now your question is lacking a clear goal and is likely to be closed. We're looking for specific questions with specific addressable goals, not just an explanation of your situation that asks for generic advice. I recommend you take a look at our tour and help center to get a better feel for what sorts of questions fit well here. – David K Jun 10 '19 at 19:24
  • I just decided to work w/a recruiter right now, but I generally stay away from them as they are too scammy. – jjf3 Jun 10 '19 at 19:54
  • I agree, talk with a recruiter (or more than one). Your experience is good and they'll help you to tailor and format your resume plus they'll give you helpful tips when interviewing – Adriano Repetti Jun 10 '19 at 20:28
  • 1
    If I were you'd try picking up some software engineering skills (free online) and look into becoming an SRE: landing.google.com/sre/sre-book/toc/index.html – jcmack Jun 10 '19 at 21:04

This might not be the answer you're looking for, but I think you should look into fixing your resume. A resume should be targeted at documenting the skills that will allow you to succeed at your ideal job. Your resume is too much about your character and not enough about your IT skills, which is what companies will care about, especially big brand name companies that you hope to work for.

You should remove all of the things on your resume that don't relate to the kind of job you want and add more detail on everything that does relate. For example, customer service is not normally classified as a technical skill and from your description you do not want a customer service job, yet you mention it in the top line of your resume and have a bullet point for it in your career highlights.

I recommend you work with someone at your alma mater, someone you trust, or a professional to improve your resume.

Last, on a personal note: job searches can be brutal and feel random and out of your control at times. Sometimes it's like that, but you shouldn't take it personally. Job searches are impersonal by nature because you're trying to fit the relevant bits of your career onto a page. Don't take it personal and if you do consider suicide, please talk to someone.

  • 1
    Agreed. The OP's skill set and experience look pretty decent, but the resume itself could use some better formatting and organization. Additionally, I'd recommend leaving the personal stuff out of it, like the reference to being an Eagle Scout. IMO, it isn't relevant. – joeqwerty Jun 10 '19 at 19:46
  • Thanks @dbeer. That's kind of a problem, I currently have no network in IT, and my school only focused on local jobs in that state/city. It's a smaller school that has no ties to the area I'm in now. I'm looking to get my foot in the door at a company and to get on a career track. Customer service has been a HUGE part of my career so far, and I see it on lots of Job Apps. I usually get not the right cultural fit excuse so I was trying to highlight my character. – jjf3 Jun 10 '19 at 19:52
  • 2
    Also, you don't need a local group, school, network, etc. to update and fix your resume. There are a bazillion resume writing services available on the internet. Either find someone online who specializes in this or use the services of Monster, LinkedIn, etc. – joeqwerty Jun 10 '19 at 20:11
  • 1
    @jjf3 the decision to include a skill like customer service or not on your resume is more about whether or not you want it to be a part of your career moving forward than whether or not you've done it in the past. In my early career I programmed in Java quite a bit; I don't want to program in Java, so it's not on my resume. (If I found a job I wanted that was in Java, then I'd add it back.) – dbeer Jun 10 '19 at 20:24
  • 2
    @jjf3 a lot of people do not have a helpful network. The first step is re-writing your resume to target a sales engineer job. – dbeer Jun 10 '19 at 20:52
  1. If you are having suicidal thoughts - seek help
  2. Rewrite the CV. and give it a timeline that can be easily followed. i.e. from the age of 12 to date
  3. Put at the top you name address and contact details.
  4. After this have a personal profile. This should include a bit about your character and what you are looking for in a job.
  5. Have a list of key skills - at most 10.
  6. For each job that you have had, write a sentence or two introducing the company and the role that you played in it (job titles are not that meaningful). Add details of a couple of events that you are proud of and take the reader through a "typical" day. Put in reverse chronological order. I.e. current role first
  7. Add your education at the end, and list the qualifications gained.
  8. Reduce the number of software packages that you used - people cannot be expert in loads of packages. Chose the ones that you are most confident in using/most recently used

You should think of what the reader will read and how much time they will spend. Typically you get about 20 seconds to make an impact. You need to grab their attention in the first part of the CV. Be careful in formatting and the use of BOLD. For each role, customize the CV.

Good luck

  • This is the resume I've been using since Jan. 1drv.ms/w/s!AsniT_yYqHbXgtAcXY42er9u-oQq2g – jjf3 Jun 10 '19 at 21:28
  • Your problem is that it does not have a narrative. Does not give any indication of your personality, what you are looking for. Does not contain any "soft" skills. A CV is there to showcase yourself and a basis for a conversation at an interview. – Ed Heal Jun 10 '19 at 21:54
  • So, @EdHeal, I basically have to combine the two. Hm I'll see what I can do. Thanks! – jjf3 Jun 10 '19 at 22:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .