Bachelors in IT....Messed up bigtime in 2009...feeling hopeless now
I graduated in the fall of 2007 with a bachelors degree in IT (Networking). I landed a very well paying job doing programming for a well respected company directly upon graduation. That being said, we all know what happened in 2008 and I got laid off from that job in November 2008. I quickly landed another job with state government of Arkansas and started in December of 2008. My passion and field of study is more geared towards the PC hardware/networking side of IT rather than the programming side, so this was the PERFECT opportunity for me to get my foot in the door to my dream career. Plus, being a government job it would be great for riding out the recession.
Unfortunately, I was young, immature, and naive at that time. In 2009, I let my personal life get control of me and to keep a long story short developed some bad work habits. That ended up getting me fired in September of 2009 (biggest lesson of my life). Immediately following that, I packed up and moved to North Carolina for personal reasons.
Since moving to North Carolina, I have been working a dead end customer service job that basically consists of being cursed out all day on the phone and having to meet insanely ridiculous sales standards. I am happy to be employed given the current economy but my job is making me miserable and its going nowhere. Plus, I am in constant fear of losing my job because of the sales standards which are difficult to meet in a bad economy. I want to get back into IT but am unsure how to do it. Unfortunately, due to my sporadic work history, I have yet to find a company willing to give me a chance to do IT, even basic help desk work. I have submitted hundreds of applications and gone to several interviews but no offers. I am sure its because there are so many unemployed people right now with stronger work histories I just can't compete. Everybody makes mistakes when they are young and I made my share, but I have learned from them and hope that I am not screwed for life.
In interviews, my sporadic work history prior to my current job and my abrupt move to North Carolina always comes up. At that point I lose confidence and my interview goes downhill from there.
In an interview, how would I explain my work history? How would I handle the issue of having been fired from a government job? How should I explain my abrupt move to North Carolina in a way that doesn't make me look unstable? Is landing another IT job even possible given my current situation? If not, what can be done to remedy it?
I appreciate any advice anybody can give on this situation.
Landing another job in IT is definitely possible if you put your mind to it.
Additionally, you can't argue with facts. These would include past work habits, getting fired, and personal instability. You can't control the past, and you can't control the fact that any reasonable employer would be concerned about these aspects of your life.
However, you can control how you react to the past. It's best to own up to your mistakes, learn from them, and use them to make you a better person and employee.
Notice that's 3 things:
1. Own up to your mistakes - Be frank with employers about your past. You don't have to get dramatic with details, but don't deny anything. The impressions you should give are honesty and acceptance. No employer wants a dishonest employee. Everyone has skeletons in the closet, so you may be surprised at people's tolerance for past mistakes.
2. Learn from your mistakes - When you talk to employers, it's important that you not only fess up to your mistakes, but also say how you've learned from them. Every workplace makes mistakes, after all, and successful workplaces learn from them. Such workplaces want employees who can do likewise. What lessons did you learn? Communicate these to your interviewers.
3. Use your mistakes to make you a better person and employee - How have you applied the lessons you've learned? How have you improved as a person and employee? Sometimes you just need to put in time to show this. You've worked in North Carolina for 2-3 years in customer service. This has given you patience, people skills, and sales skills. Not everyone in IT has these traits. So be sure to sell them to interviewers.
If sporadic work history is an issue, time at a job is the only way to solve that. It sounds like you've put in 2-3 years at your current job, so you might be on your way to dispelling that notion.
In short, handle everything in your past head on - because employers want employees who do that. They don't want employees who beat around the bush or make excuses or cover things up. They want problem solvers. So you just need to show that you've solved the problem of your past.