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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Default Have a degree and multiple certifications but no job experience! No one will hire me

    I currently have my MS in Cyber Security Technology and hold several highly respectable certifications. The only problem is that I don't have any hands on IT experience. I've been living with my parents working on my degree and obtaining certs. Never really had a real job.

    So the issue is that I'm having a hard time getting a job that pays decent with no experience. I've been denied for being overqualified for help desk jobs. What do you all recommend in a situation like this?
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    #2
    Take off your certs list only your degree and apply for help desk.

    The combo with no formal job does look strange. Just the degree looks normal, it shows you are a new grad......
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    #3
    In your situation, I'd take a job that doesn't pay well, but gives you the experience you need.
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  5. They are watching you NetworkNewb's Avatar
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    #4
    Yea, I probably wouldn't want to hire someone with those credentials for a help desk job either. Safe to assume you jump as soon as another job came along.

    Didn't do an internship in all that time you were in college?

    I guess you could dumb your resume down and remove some high level certs to get a lower level position though...
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DatabaseHead View Post
    Take off your certs list only your degree and apply for help desk.

    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkNewb View Post
    I guess you could dumb your resume down and remove some high level certs to get a lower level position though...


    These guys nailed it.

    Personally, i would keep the certifications on your resume, but REMOVE the Masters Degree;
    THAT's the biggest reason you cant land an entry job.

    I think a resume with a BAchelors, a couple of certs, and No experience is okay for an Entry position.
    I also think a 2nd resume with an Associates, a couple of certs, and No experience is also okay for an Entry position.

    Keep applying for gigs, but use the 'correct' resume.
    In your circumstance, you want to HIDE your qualifications :]

    (After a few years of working, you can put your Masters Degree back on it)
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  7. Senior Member yoba222's Avatar
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    #6
    With that masters degree it's like you're walking around wearing shoes three sizes too big. You'll grow into them but you'll need that first job to do it. No one will hire you because you'll jump ship as soon as you grow into them. Which you should.

    Years ago you literally could not even be accepted into some masters degree programs without professional job experience. Schools got greedy or perhaps finance institutions got greedy. Whatever the cause, you're in a temporary and awkward career growth phase. It probably feels completely counter-intuitive to not proclaim the certs or the degree you worked so hard for. But it's very much a temporary thing.

    I agree don't list the degree today. Do it for job #2 next year.
    Edit: Don't worry about decent pay right now either. Ask for that when you start using the resume with the degree again. Approach this like you're doing a paid internship.
    Last edited by yoba222; 09-30-2017 at 04:11 PM.
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    #7
    ++ to everything everyone else said. Also, remove your personal info and post your resume, that might be part of the problem too. People here can make suggestions to help rephrase things to be more fitting.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by yoba222 View Post
    With that
    Quote Originally Posted by yoba222 View Post
    masters degree it's like you're walking around wearing shoes three sizes too big. You'll grow into them but you'll need that first job to do it.


    I love this! Such a great way to put it.

    CapnCrunch- If you don't mind me asking, what certs do you have? IMO, the "highly respectable certs" all require a solid level of
    job experience. With all due respect, isn't that the point (to certify that you have actually done these things)?
    Within the last 18 months, I finished my BS in IT, earned my CISSP, and then just passed my CISM exam this week. But none of those things show that I could "do" what I tested on... it was the actual 5 years that I've been in my role, overlapping these accomplishments, that gave me the knowledge I needed to earn them.

    Besides the idle curiosity about the above, I agree with what everyone else is suggesting. No additional suggestions. I do wish you luck though - keep your chin up!!
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by volfkhat View Post
    These guys nailed it.

    Personally, i would keep the certifications on your resume, but REMOVE the Masters Degree;
    THAT's the biggest reason you cant land an entry job.

    I think a resume with a BAchelors, a couple of certs, and No experience is okay for an Entry position.
    I also think a 2nd resume with an Associates, a couple of certs, and No experience is also okay for an Entry position.

    Keep applying for gigs, but use the 'correct' resume.
    In your circumstance, you want to HIDE your qualifications :]

    (After a few years of working, you can put your Masters Degree back on it)

    You have to be careful because some jobs conduct background checks and omitting information like a Master's degree could result in you being disqualified as a candidate. Read everything thoroughly while applying.
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  11. Senior Member UncleB's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Fayz View Post
    You have to be careful because some jobs conduct background checks and omitting information like a Master's degree could result in you being disqualified as a candidate. Read everything thoroughly while applying.
    I highly doubt you would be disqualified for a positive thing being omitted - if you missed out that you are the head of your local KKK chapter then it is likely to come back to bite you.

    Applying for jobs on your current achievements makes you look like a paper tiger - you can pass exams easily but have no idea how it is applied out there in the real world (which is truly a major gap). Drop the masters degree for now and get your hands dirty while building up the experience then get applying for other posts when you are already employed.

    A lot of employers won't employ unemployed people (one the basis that they are unemployed because they are not worth hiring - unfair but one way to reduce the applicats you interview for), so get yourself employed and take it from there.
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  12. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #11
    I wouldn't probably jump right to nuking my MS off my resume right away. A lot of other things haven't been asked or taken into account first:

    - Where do you live? If he's not in an IT hub, it might not make any difference to change anything on his resume.

    - What does your resume look like? I would recommend omitting personal info and put it on here for review. You can have the best credentials in the world but if your resume is poorly formatted, it will be quick to be overlooked.

    - How are you preparing for job interviews? Mock interviews with friends?

    - What are you wearing?

    - How is your hygiene (not only showering, but haircut, facial hair, etc)?

    I wrote this a while back so I would recommend giving it a good read: Career/job advice and observations

    A good friend of mine made this awhile back and I believe his "interview battlecard" system has gotten quite a few people in our little group a job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0XMnN1c1V0
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  13. Senior Member stryder144's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Iristheangel View Post
    A good friend of mine made this awhile back and I believe his "interview battlecard" system has gotten quite a few people in our little group a job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0XMnN1c1V0
    Holy crap...into it less than two minutes and I realized I don't have the brain power for this one right now. I just subscribed to the channel and plan to watch this one several times through.
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  14. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #13
    One other thing: You have an MS. This is not like an advanced certification that requires a metric ton of labbing. It's ok to leave it on your resume.

    Also, I would recommend not just limiting your search to help desk jobs. You have an MS degree in Cybersecurity. Expand your job searchs to SOCs, NOCs, etc. I know for a fact that several government organizations (DoD, CIA, FBI, etc) are practically BEGGING kids fresh out of school to come work for them and they'll train you up since they have a large amount of cybersecurity job openings and not enough bodies. CDW, WWT, etc had also had cybersecurity programs for training people fresh out of college or grad school for the fields of cybersecurity to grow their practice and they'll be great places to get hands on experience wth security. Cisco also has a program for people who just graduated college or grad school in the last two years to get them moved to a training hub and they train you in the technology, certifications, presales, etc for 2 years and from there, you can decide where you want to move in the company

    Some other good resources:
    - https://www.fbijobs.gov/students/grad-students
    - http://blog.online.saintleo.edu/degr...rk-for-the-fbi
    - https://www.cia.gov/careers/student-...-students.html
    - http://www.disa.mil/careers/pathways...rograms#recent
    - https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/ab...JobDesc_US.pdf
    - http://godefense.cpms.osd.mil/entry_level.aspx
    - https://www.dhs.gov/homeland-securit...-cybersecurity
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 09-30-2017 at 06:54 PM.
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    #14
    Making the assumption the OP is in the US ...

    Everything on a resume should 1) make you seem more valuable and 2) not detract from your value. There are certain parts of IT that find a masters degree to be valuable and those where there is little perceived extra value. Cyber and programming are the two that immediately come to mind where a masters degree would give you an edge, I see little benefit to advertising a masters for a help-desk or NOC role. So if a line in the resume doesn't provide value, make sure it doesn't detract. In some areas, lots of people have advanced degrees and having one doesn't necessarily stand out as good or bad, unless it's directly related to the job. In my experience, you'll find this more in major metro areas and areas where there's a lot of government jobs. This advice goes out the window in the middle of Iowa or Mississippi where hiring managers are more likely to think "overqualified". Ultimately, you need to know your market.
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  16. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by EANx View Post
    Making the assumption the OP is in the US ...
    Yeah, I made the same assumption that he lives in the US. It's possible he could be in the UK or somewhere similar but figured it was more likely to be US since most of my European-based friend abbreviate their MS degree as "MSc" not "MS" like we do in the US. Could be wrong but that's why I made the assumption.
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    #16
    What is decent pay to you? Are you putting a salary requirement when you apply? Do you actually get to the interview step? How long ago did you get your degree? What certifications do you have? How many applications have you submitted? The answer to those questions can help with giving you recommendations.

    Basic Tips:
    1. Apply ALOT...it's a numbers game.
    2. Review your resume and cover letter (if you have one)...make sure you didn't overload it with terms that you have basic experience with because you will either look very savvy or like a total noob.
    3. Since you don't have a job, put certifications on hold and put all of your effort into job searching. Being unemployed for several years because you were trying to get a top level certification will be worthless...you need the experience along with the certifications.
    4. Apply to anything that lists experience of 0-2 years.
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  18. Senior Member koz24's Avatar
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    #17
    I strongly disagree with leaving certs/degrees off your resume and applying to help desk. Nothing wrong with help desk--many people start there--but it should not be be blindly followed as some kind of de facto standard where all entry level IT must suffer through a few years of nightmare desktop/printer support in order to break into IT. If you are desperate for work it's understandable but being deceptive and lying(playing dumb even) about your knowledge, imo, is foolish. Because say you do lie and deceive in order to get a help desk job, that experience will do what exactly towards a security job which is what you really want? Not much right?

    Personally I'd follow Iris' recommendations and start with your resume. You can't change where you currently live but there is a A TON you could do with your resume. Did a pro craft your resume? Did you? Has anyone reviewed it? It's the first thing employers look at and it could be making the trash bin if it's poorly formatted. It's no secret that employers really don't spend much time on any given resume because of the volumes of resumes they get. That's why yours needs to be tailored to the job/market you are applying for or you won't even get a call back.

    Too many variables to guess the problem here but you have to take it one step at a time.
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    #18
    Jobs with decent pay that require no experience might be hard to come by especially depending on your definition of decent pay. I would get whatever job you can that will get your foot in the door. Leverage the experience that you gain at that job to get a better paying job that will get you more experience and then rinse and repeat. If you can find a job that pays decent and requires no experience then great, but getting paid less than you may want and building work history/experience at the end of the day beats not having a job.
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Fayz View Post
    You have to be careful because some jobs conduct background checks and omitting information like a Master's degree could result in you being disqualified as a candidate. Read everything thoroughly while applying.
    I find that highly doubtful. Lying about claiming to have a Master degree you don't have would be one thing, but not including a master degree on an application is another.
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  21. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #20
    Willfully omitting a major detail, such as a previous place of employment or an educational degree or a criminal record, can be looked upon as an indication of untrustworthyness. Certainly not something you would want to do when filling out paperwork for a background investigation or a security clearance.
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    #21
    Never remove your achievements. If you are applying for help desk jobs but your knowledge is vastly superior, then your doing something wrong. I have friends with B.S. degrees and with high quality certifications and they get high paying jobs right out of college (with no experience). Our industry sucks when it comes to people with no job exp. They think that people only in school cannot possibly be better than individuals with experience. Those people are not worth your time.
    Last edited by higherho; 10-01-2017 at 03:50 AM.
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  23. Senior Member UncleB's Avatar
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    #22
    To those who say it is deceitful to remove the Masters degree from the resume - that is simply rubbish. Do you include every qualification? How about all your lower school qualifications? If you passed your motorbike driving test, do you include to too? Maybe the results of the last pub trivia quiz? The point is that you only declare what is truthful, but there is no requirement or obligation to declare qualifications and I cannot imagine anyone holding it against you if you chose to be humble and leave some of it off your resume.

    To look back at the original request for help:
    Quote Originally Posted by CapnCrunch View Post
    I've been denied for being overqualified for help desk jobs.
    There is your problem - without experience it is hard to get a job and if you come in as a rocket scientist then the employers will assume you are not going to be interested in the work for long. While this may be true, you are not obliged to declare that you are in fact a Sheldon Cooper so long as you can answer the interview questions and are not nearly as socially inept as Sheldon.

    It is a bit like being asked to help a 12 year old with their homework - far below your capabilities but sometimes you need to do it and do it well.

    The other thing posters here need to remember is:
    Quote Originally Posted by CapnCrunch View Post
    The only problem is that I don't have any hands on IT experience. I've been living with my parents working on my degree and obtaining certs.
    There are other threads on here about how to get some experience so it is worth checking them out and once you are actually either working (paid) or helping (unpaid) / doing charity work then you become more desirable to other employers.

    It is nice if you can sit back and wait for a great gig to land in your lap, but back in the real world this is more like winning the lottery so you will have a better chance if you go down the tried and tested routes.

    At the end of the day it is your choice to make - good luck in whatever you choose.
    Last edited by UncleB; 10-01-2017 at 08:29 AM.
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  24. Senior Member
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by JDMurray View Post
    Willfully omitting a major detail, such as a previous place of employment or an educational degree or a criminal record, can be looked upon as an indication of untrustworthyness. Certainly not something you would want to do when filling out paperwork for a background investigation or a security clearance.
    Nope. BIs are for the purpose of establishing trustworthiness so omitting something bad (like a bankruptcy) or exaggerating accomplishments are both looked on poorly. However, leaving off an accomplishment like a certification or degree gets no such penalty.
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  25. Are we having fun yet? UnixGuy's Avatar
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    #24
    OP what certs do you hold?

    If they're good certs and you show initiative, call employers and offer to volunteer and ask them for meetings...you'd be surprised
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by JDMurray View Post
    Willfully omitting a major detail, such as a previous place of employment or an educational degree or a criminal record, can be looked upon as an indication of untrustworthyness. Certainly not something you would want to do when filling out paperwork for a background investigation or a security clearance.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but....
    LOL

    Iris, has a point;
    Maybe OP should search-for/apply for jobs that are looking for people with MASTERS but Zero Experience.
    Maybe that does involves moving.


    My earlier post was simply:
    Tailor your resume for the job you are applying for.

    If the job says "Minimum: High School Diploma. Preferred: Associates"; that tells you something about the position.
    If the job says "Minimum: Associates degree. Preferred: Bachelors degree"; that tells you something else.

    If the job says "Minimum: Bachelors Degree. Preferred: MASTERS degree"; that also tells you something about the position.

    my 2 cents.
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