Top 5 Tips for Graduates Ready to Launch their Tech Careers

By Lisa Fasold

Throughout our training program, CompTIA Tech brings in IT professionals to advise students and prepare them for their future jobs in tech. This month, Priyanka Neupane, a senior IT supervisor at Medtronic, talked with students and gave them tips for both job interviewing and launching their tech careers.


1. Move out of your comfort zone.

Put yourself in positions that scare you. For Neupane, she doesn’t like speaking in public so talking to the CompTIA Tech class moved her out of her comfort zone. In IT, you’re going to be faced with new challenges all the time, so you have to be prepared to learn new things.


2. When interviewing, relate your experience to the job.

If you don’t have tech experience, show your customer service experience. When Neupane was getting her degree in public health, she was working at the university cafeteria. Later, she applied to work in the IT service department at the university and showcased her customer service experience in the cafeteria to prove how she could take care of customers on the university’s IT help desk. After she graduated, that IT work experience landed her a contractor position with Best Buy.


3. Google the company you’re interviewing.

Take time to understand what the company does and what it values. Before you go to your job interview, google the company and learn about its products and services. Read their “about company” info online to learn about its values, and then be prepared how you emulate those values during your interview.


4. Take advantage of any learning opportunities.

Learning opportunities might come in the format of a contractor position. That position might not give you health benefits or paid time off, but it gets you a foot in the door and valuable learning opportunities. Plus, some contract positions lead to full-timing hiring possibilities.


5. Ask questions.

Neupane advised students to not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. You won’t be judged for the questions you ask. Instead, your co-workers and supervisor want to help you understand and learn more.


What Do Employers Look for in New Hires?

During a question-and-answer session, students asked Neupane what she was looking for in her new hires, particularly on the IT help desk. Neupane said she looks more for attitude than tech skills.

“If you think IT-Ready training is hard, you’re in for even more training when you start at Medtronic,” she told students. “I can teach you the additional tech skills you’ll need to have, but I’m looking for how you’ll interact with people.”

Neupane wants to see how humble a job candidate is. Do they realize the opportunity they’re being given? The IT help desk is a solid starting point for an IT career. Do they even dress for the interview like they want the job and are interested in working for the company?

She also wants to see if you can maintain a good flow of conversation. Can you talk to people? She recommends that job candidates have a few questions prepared to show their interest in the company and job.

Last, Neupane wants to see candidates that are hungry and driven. Do they want to learn more and keep moving up in their career?


Ready to Launch?

The IT-Ready Technical Support class Neupane talked to is going into their final two weeks of training and is in the midst of their CompTIA A+ exams. Next week, they’ll participate in a virtual career fair with local employers. Companies that wish to hire students can contact Kate Kirschner or Anderson Lee to participate in the fair.

Prospective students who’d like to join our final IT-Ready Technical Support class of 2020 should apply online by August 14.


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