Tips for IT Resumes and Interviews from a Sales Perspective

Tips for IT Resumes and Interviews from a Sales Perspective

Would you like to maximize your IT interview and career leverage? Do you want to stand out from competitive applicants with a better IT resume? If so, the following strategies may be for you.

80% of Salespeople are Untrained

Have you heard the radio commercial about the business promoter who is advertising a sales training course to business owners and sales managers?  I have heard this ad on national radio for years, and the theme never changes. The advertisement claims that more than 80% of “professional” salespeople have never read even one book on sales training.

This advertisement suggests people who depend on selling for a living need to be trained to say the right thing, or not say the wrong thing, in a timely manner. It’s no wonder that somewhere in the 80% range (or higher) of sales people either completely fail or perform at less than desired standards, shortening their career and income potential.

A Cautionary Tale

Does effective verbal communication training only apply to sales professionals? Not by a long shot! I want to share with you an experience that happened to me in May of 2017.

I had just moved into a new house. In fact, the whole neighborhood was dotted with new build homes and families were moving in every day. The very next day I answered a knock on the front door. A young (maybe late teens) man was canvassing new residents soliciting (presumably representing local, well-known) pest control services.

Before I could almost say a word past “Hello” he blasted into my face every feature and benefit his company offered and every reason I should sign up on the spot, including the “biggest” discount the company has ever offered! This lasted about 90 seconds, which seemed like 90 minutes.

Whew! What just hit me? I immediately realized what was happening and politely thanked him and wished him success in the neighborhood. Obviously he had little to no communication training and was only following a script.

Now, let’s dissect at what just happened.

The young, uninvited sales person was asking a total stranger (me) to fork over an annual financial obligation to his company. In this case, a total stranger who has just paid a large down payment on a new house, a major closing expense, a revised insurance payment, the utility companies’ requested deposits, as well as bills to the Internet company, the trash company, and the moving company.

If you have ever moved, you know what I am talking about! I was tired of paying people. In other words, the timing was poorly calculated, not to mention the sales strategy. So, how does this relate to interviewing for tech jobs?

You are a Salesperson, Too!

What’s the solution for getting hired as a technician? One solution is to train on what to say, when to say it, and how to say it – the same way salespeople are trained. Have you ever considered applying for a position from a salesperson’s perspective? If not, maybe it’s time.

Developing and perfecting timely verbal skills is an asset that can carry you throughout life. Specifically, develop and practice on how to construct wording on a resume and how to respond to questions in an interview. Consider learning these skills from a “selling” perspective. It’s actually easier than you might think.

Remember! You are selling yourself to an employer. You are a salesperson, for now and always. It does not matter what position you are applying for. Even if your job description is not described as a “selling representative,” you are still representing yourself (your department, your company) as an effective prospect and effective employee post hire. Many people construe being friendly as a skill. It is not. Being friendly is a characteristic, not a skill. Everybody can be friendly, but only the practiced can convert their amiable nature into an effective skill set.

New Trend in the 1990’s: A Need for Individuals with Two Skill Sets

By the 1990’s, organizations of all kinds were implementing PCs and networks at an increasing rate. More and more companies were finding the advantages of operating their own LANs and IT departments. Companies and organizations needed more competent people to operate them. As the need for more technical personnel evolved, the need for people-oriented technicians evolved too. Industries everywhere were screaming for people with technical knowledge that also had the ability to work appropriately with people.

But there were few individuals who combined both effective people skills and technical skills. Those that did vaulted to high-income status. The fact is – people skills and technical skills are two completely separate skill sets. And each skill set needs to be developed (or trained) separately.

Adding some sales techniques to your skillset can help you nail interviews and propel your career to new heights. So let’s get started!

Tips from the Sales Perspective for Resumes and Job Interviews

I’ve read many books on selling, including authors Tom Hopkins and Zig Ziglar. What I’ve learned from these writings, even though I consider myself a tech and not a salesperson, is that getting what I want is much easier with just a few strategic and timely words.

Selling strategies provide tips on how to get more of the things you want out of life with less effort (fewer words). All you have to do is learn a few strategies and timing for those strategies. And I’m all for that! What about you?

The following are tips I have gleaned from reading best-selling and communication materials (not from resume-building and interview developing resources) that can help all of us IT professionals obtain and keep the career position we desire.

Tips for Resume Writing from the Sales Perspective

1. Create a list of every skill or duty you have performed at each previous position.

This is also known as a skills assessment. Some listed items might seem totally insignificant at the time, and most likely would never be shared in an interview or on a resume. But you never can predict when any one of these seemingly insignificant assets might get you hired. (See the next step to consider when these might apply.)

2. Put “Page 1” material on Page 1, not on Page 2.

Do not blow past this step. Read it carefully. Put “page one” material on Page 1, not on Page 2. In this step, “pages” are a metaphor, not specifically the number of pages constructed for a resume. Some of your assets will belong on “Page 1,” some on “Page 2,” and some on “Page 3.”

Carefully analyze what the potential employer desires (in the job description area) in a new hire. For example, if they are looking for certifications place them on the first page, along with any other educational or experience requirements.

Page 2 information might include length of time at an employer, or the total experience you may have had with you certification experience.

Page 3 information might include any continuing education or related training experience. This is not typically shared at a first interview, like Page 1 info would be. Page 3 information should only be shared at a very strategic time when the information would be totally relevant to the conversation. This might only occur during a third (or final) interview.

3. Present your personal history in a hierarchical format.

Short, abbreviated information on Page 1, and slightly more detail can be provided on Page 2. Page 3 information ideally should include supporting information in more detail than provided on Page 1 and Page 2. The same format can be applied for a personal interview. Provide general “overview” information at first. As an interview becomes more in depth, begin to share more detailed information.

This is the best time to provide more detailed (Page 3) information because this is when the interviewer is ready to “hear” you. If an interviewer is not ready to receive your responses, he/she will not “hear” you. I was not ready to “hear” what the young pest control sales person was offering. Result: no sale.

Short, simple, and direct is a good formula for developing a resume. This is how “selling” works. Provide the most relevant content on page 1. If more information is desired, provide it (Page 2). If still more information is desired, then provide it (Page 3).

Poser, Amateur, or Professional?

During a job interview, chances are your interviewer is subconsciously or consciously trying to determine if you are a poser, amateur, or professional. Which of these images do you want portray? More importantly, which of these do you want to be?

Practiced responses can assist in determining how an interviewer perceives you. Professionals are people who have practiced! Professional sales people are people who have practiced their sales pitch. Professional musicians are people who have practiced their instrument and music, or they would not be in the band! We techs also have to practice our verbal/people skills to sustain our technical careers at the highest level. Here are some tips on becoming that professional.

Start with reading just one book on selling.

You can easily pick up a used book for pennies. Again, some of my favorite authors include Tom Hopkins and Zig Ziglar. Another great resource is Dr. Stephen Covey’s international bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Read and practice what you have read. I know of few successful people who have not read this book. I even took his fantastic course.

Strategically place your verbal communications in the most appropriate and timely manner.

To demonstrate this strategy, consider these simple military and hiking strategies.The enemy is attacking. You have 10,000 rounds of ammunition. They are just in range of your firepower. Do you want to expend most of your ammunition just because you can reach them at a great distance? Or do you want to save some or most of your ammunition in case you have to engage them at close quarters? This is like saving some information for “Page 3” or the third interview.

You venture on a three-day hike in the mountains. Do you want to eat all your food on the first day, or do you want to ration food resources for the entire excursion?

Writing resumes and interviewing for a new position are very similar. You have a number of assets that can help your prospective employer determine if you are a good fit for a particular position. Direct, specific, and timely answers to questions can be much more convincing during the interview process, rather than randomly expounding all of your assets at less than a timely manner.

Are You Ready to Interview?

When you are sitting across from an interviewer or writing a resume, do you want the person considering your skill set to think of you as a poser, amateur, or professional?

We can do better.  Let’s learn from the history (mistakes) of others. History is “screaming” that we need to be appropriately discerning how we verbalize communication to potential employers, coworkers, family members, and to anyone else we encounter. History has shown the value of combining technical knowledge with good interpersonal skills. Study, practice, and perform.

If you need help brushing up on your technical skills, LeaderQuest can get you the training you need. To request more information on our IT, cyber security and networking training, click the link below!

7 Tips for Getting Into IT With Zero Experience

7 Tips for Getting Into IT With Zero Experience

Whether you’re working a dead-end job or transitioning out of the military, everybody has different reasons to make the transition into the IT industry. And the timing couldn’t be better! The industry is facing a massive shortage of workers, offers great pay, amazing benefits, and lots of employment opportunities.

If you don’t have much experience, but you’re looking to join this thriving industry, don’t worry!  You’re not the first. Check out our 7 tips for getting your foot in the door of the IT industry.

1. Re-examine and Apply Your Past Experience to the IT Industry 

When you first make the decision to pursue a new career in IT, it’s important to take a hard look at your prior experience. It might seem like you

skills charthave none of the skills listed on job postings, but “soft skills” can be surprisingly important and many skills are transferable into IT roles.

For example, if you’re looking to start in a help desk position (a common entry-level IT role), things like communication, customer service, familiarity with Microsoft Office, and other common skills can be a huge boost to your resume. By carefully thinking about your past roles through the lens of the role you’d like to get, you may find a treasure trove of relevant experience.

Are a military veteran? Check out our blog  From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit and see why IT may be the perfect fit for you.

You’ll need to create a new resume with relevant experience listed and tailored specifically for the kinds of roles you’re trying to land. Employers are highly likely to take a look at your LinkedIn page during the application process. Using your new resume, you should revise your profile to make sure the two match up. You should also take time to write a new cover letter that explains your prior experience, how it’ll be useful in your new role, and why you’re interested in changing industries. This will help answer a lot of questions if your resume piques their interest.

2. Get Industry Certifications

Getting certified may be the fastest way to break into information technology. While a tech degree can take 1-4 years, certifications can be studied for and earned in just a few weeks. Entry level certifications like the  ITIL, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+  found in our entry level Computer User Support program, can lay the foundation for roles in networking and cyber security later in your career.

By getting certified, you’ll show potential employers that you have the skills they need. This can go a long way towards making up for a lack of experience. For some roles, the right certifications will put you higher in the stack than applicants with limited experience and no certifications. Best of all, certifications can help open up more entry-level opportunities instead of just taking the first IT job that comes your way.

How do you get certified? The short answer is that you can choose between self-studying or in person, hands-on training, and then take a certification exam. For most individuals with little to no experience, the best option is to take a course taught by an expert with real-world experience so you can ask questions and really understand the topic in depth. Another great learning technique for beginners is taking a course that allows you put your hands on the actual technology you will be working within on the job, this allows you to get a feel for what a real job in IT will be like while simultaneously building your confidence. If you’re interested in a course like this, LeaderQuest’s A+ course offers hands-on computer builds taught by expert instructors with real-world experience.

3. Your Degree in Another Field May Be a Huge Asset

You may be tearing your hair out with regret, wondering why you used all that time in college on a degree that isn’t helping you with your quest for a lifelong career. But don’t be too hard on yourself! Many employers are more inclined to offer you a job because you were able to accomplish

the feat of earning a degree.

it graduate with certificationsInstead of focusing on how your degree may have cost you time and money, focus on the ways that your degree can be applied in moving your life forward into an IT career. For example, an IT worker with a literature degree will be more likely to take a creative approach to problem-solving and have superior writing and communication skills. A philosophy major has a deeper understanding of logic and a unique way of approaching challenges. By casting your degree as an asset, you’ll stand out from other applicants who only have computer or tech experience.

With the rapid evolution of IT, there is a huge demand for individuals from diverse backgrounds and their unique perspectives.  

4. Be Open to Starting at the Bottom

It’s important to note that you may have to “start over” in IT. You may have been a manager or an advanced professional in your old industry, but you’re leaving it for a reason! Be prepared to start with a lower level position and work your way up. The experience you get working at the bottom of the ladder will be valuable as you grow into a more challenging position.

Don’t worry too much though, the earning potential you will have in IT is only limited by the work you put in. On the low-end, you are looking at starting out right around 40k in a help desk position, within 5 years in the industry and a couple of cyber security certifications you could be looking at around 65k minimum in a Cyber Security Analyst role. It really depends on your willingness to move forward and the extra learning time you put in to master your craft.

If you want a “head start,” considering getting a degree or a few certifications. These credentials have the potential to help you out significantly. You can read about the differences between the two in our blog Degrees vs. Certifications: Which is Better for an IT Career?

Getting educated about your field of interest shows your commitment to your new industry and helps to give you an advantage over other applicants. It can also prepare you for more advanced positions down the line. With no experience, you still won’t be able to jump to the top of the ladder but with so many open positions all across the IT industry, the right credentials can help you quickly climb to higher paying and more specialized positions in IT.

5. Don’t Forget the Power of Networking

You may be surprised by how powerful your connections can be. When looking to fill a job role, most employers are more interested in hiring somebody based on a recommendation than interviewing a bunch of total strangers.

people networking over it certifications

Make sure to use social media and everyone in your address book to reach out to anybody you know who’s associated with the tech world. Simply putting a post out there letting your connections know that you are looking to get into tech may bring out an opportunity that you never knew about.

You can even just ask your friends or connections if they know anybody who’s looking to hire for the type of positions you want. The right connection can give you a huge head start over the competition, and might even spark a career passion that lasts the rest of your life.

6. Teach Yourself Relevant Tech Skills

When it comes to technology, there are a million different things to learn that can improve your resume. Anything from understanding Salesforce to knowing how to post on WordPress might be useful to your next employer. Utilizing YouTube and learning from countless free videos is a great way to learn new skills and reinforce old ones.

Follow your interests and teach yourself about software and hardware in your free time. You’ll be able to add these skills to your resume once you’re competent at them, and they just might make the difference between getting hired and getting looked over.

7. Look for Crossover Positions

While you might not have any direct experience, there are IT workers in every industry that use networks and computers ( pretty much every industry out there). If you have years of experience in car sales, for example, it might help to look for an IT position at a car dealership. Understanding half of the business can go a long way towards making you a valuable employee right from the start, even if your tech skills aren’t top notch. You’ll still have to start at the bottom, but it could be the perfect way to gain your first year or two of IT experience.

All in all, it is not impossible to start a career in IT with no experience, hence the word “start,” but many individuals are still skeptical of making the leap into IT. By arming yourself with the right tools and knowhow you can significantly increase your chances at starting a career in tech that will last a lifetime.

If you are looking for a partner in helping you move forward with an IT career, LeaderQuest specializes in assisting individuals to do just this. Throughout our 13 years of helping individuals transform their lives, we have curated the perfect formula that takes into consideration career changers and the needs of the IT industry. This formula leads to higher employment rates because we provide relevant training for jobs that are in demand.

Our unrivaled success is achieved by focusing on both training and employment outcomes.

We can help you open the door to an IT career!

Here at LeaderQuest, we know that making a decision like starting a new career is a difficult one and you should have someone to help guide you through this process. That’s why we employ experts in the field to aid you in this transition. Their purpose is to understand your whole situation in order to help you make the right decision. They do this by analyzing your previous experiences, learning about your unique situation, and understanding your personal goals. If IT industry is right for you, they will search for any grants that you may qualify for and set up a personalized IT certification program around your schedule. 

Interested in learning more about what a meeting with a Career Training Consultant is like and what you will learn from a one-on-one Information session? Click the button below to find out!

Information Session
What to Expect at Your One-on-One Information Session

What to Expect at Your One-on-One Information Session

If you’re considering enrolling at LeaderQuest, the first step in that process is an informational session with one of our expert Career Training Consultants (CTC). Our CTCs are trained to help connect students’ career aspirations with realistic training paths for the certifications they need to get hired into the roles they really want. This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better and help you decide if certification training at LeaderQuest is right for you.

We take pride in having helped thousands of students advance or change their careers much faster than traditional educational options like Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees.

Read on to learn more about what will be covered at your first meeting at LeaderQuest.

A Conversation With Your Career Training Consultant

First, you and your CTC will have a conversation about your background. They want to make sure that they’re able to match you with a training program that will fit your experience level as well as your desired career path. They’ll want to know about your employment history, educational background, and so on.

Your CTC will also want to know why you’ve decided that now is the time to get training to change industries or advance your career. For some, this might be dissatisfaction with their current job role or a life change that has made securing a higher income a new priority. We’re here to help you make that life change!

Skills Mapping & Career Pathing

Where do you want to be working in five years? What kind of salary are you looking to achieve? How about ten years from now? And how can you get from where you are now to where you want to be?

Based on your experience and skill set, your CTC will help you identify a career path that can help you reach your goals. For those just entering the industry, this will often include a program of foundational certifications that are in high demand with our employer partners and other IT employers in the area.

We’ll also examine steps you might want to take after your training is completed. For those who have no IT experience, it may take a few steps to get from tech support to cyber security analyst. We can help you plot out a course that will get you from A to B.

If you’re looking for intermediate or advanced certifications, we’ll make sure that you have the prerequisites to excel in these classes and sit for the exam. Some certifications, like PMP and CISSP, have strict requirements for who is eligible to take the test. We want to make sure that our students are primed for success in the classes they take at LeaderQuest.

Learn About LeaderQuest

If you have any questions about LeaderQuest, your CTC will be able to answer them for you. Our CTCs are experts in all things IT training, and they know the enrollment and training process front to back. Get into the details and ask them anything you want to know about:

  • Career Services at LeaderQuest
  • Classroom experience
  • Instructor Mentors and Student Support
  • Study materials, practice exams, and hands-on labs
  • Class schedules, day or night classes, attending online or in person
  • And so on…

Discuss Funding Options for Your Training

If you’re interested in training at LeaderQuest, you’ll want to discuss how you’ll fund that training. Your enrollment at LeaderQuest covers your training, lab equipment, practice exams, study materials, textbooks, and the cost to sit for the exam, which can be as much as $500. We want to make sure that our students have all of the resources they need to be successful.

We accept GI Bill® funding, TAA, State Vocational Rehab, and funding from local workforce centers. We have a few educational loan options with various rates that cover the full cost of tuition. Your CTC can walk you through these options, and help you with the application process.

Tour the Campus

Your CTC will show you around the LeaderQuest facilities at your campus so that you can get an idea of where you’d be studying (if you’re planning on attending on campus) and possibly meet some of our instructors and other staff. We want to make sure you’re comfortable with your learning environment and ready to start training in new skills.

Create a Personalized Training Plan

This is your roadmap to the future!

Based on everything you’ve discussed, you’ll walk away with a personalized training plan. This training plan includes a list of the classes you’ll attend, class schedules, information about those classes and what they cover, the career you’d like to pursue after completing training, and information about possible funding options.

Take this plan home with you and think it over. If you have any questions, you’ll have your CTC’s phone number and email so that you can reach out to them and get the answers you need. When you’re ready, just give us a call and we can help you with the enrollment process.

Schedule an Information Session Today!

If you’re thinking about taking the next step in your career, LeaderQuest can help. Schedule an information session at the campus nearest you.

  • By submitting this form, I agree that LeaderQuest may contact me about educational services. I understand that my consent to receive information is not required to attend LeaderQuest.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Curiosity Turned IT Career: Tremayne Brown

Curiosity Turned IT Career: Tremayne Brown

It was late 2014 when Tremayne Brown finally retired from the military. He had served as a proud Navy sailor and later in his military career found himself fueling our sailors at sea as a military chef, feeding anywhere from 300 to 8,000 sailors a day depending on his deployment details. Little did he know that far from the isolation of the ships he was serving on, a massive shift in the job market was occurring and his fascination with technology would soon lead him into the world of information technology and specifically artificial intelligence.

Opportunity from Curiosity

Sometimes life comes full circle and presents you with opportunities that seem almost predetermined and perfect for your situation. Tremayne found his opportunity late in his military career.

“I grew up with computers in the background, and I’ve always been curious, but I never really got my hands on them until an opportunity presented itself at my last duty station.”

His last duty station was at a Naval health facility that had no kitchen. So where did he end up? Answering phones at the IT station.

As someone who likes to stay busy Tremayne expressed, “The phones only ring so much so I said, ‘Hey, you got something for me to do? Show me how to do something.’ ” Sure enough, his co-worker was delighted to show him how to handle some IT maintenance tasks and before long had him working on a whole pile of computers! This was the spark that reignited his interested in technology, which only grew from there.

Cooking Up an IT Career  

Although Tremayne was a professionally trained cook, he knew that his days in the kitchen had ended. He wanted to enter into a new industry, something that he was not only passionate about, but something that could feasibly support his family. His last duty station as a sailor had actually turned into a job on the civilian side of things, he got hired as a civilian contractor in the same station that he was just in.

Happy but not comfortable, Tremayne knew he needed to learn more about computers so he signed up for the University of Maryland’s IT program.

“The problem I ran into was that I didn’t have a foundation in computers. I was pretty much learning as I went along. In order to stay in that position, they wanted me to have my certifications and although I was in college for IT, I couldn’t pass my certification exams.”

Like many veterans and civilians, Tremayne did not know about alternative routes to careers in IT and fell back on the default route which has traditionally been college. You can learn about the differences between these two routes in our blog Degrees vs. Certifications: Investing In Your Future. Below is a table that illustrates the time and earning differences.

Timeline Bachelor’s Degree LeaderQuest Training Without (pay raises factored in) LeaderQuest Training (with pay raises factored in)
Year 1 Studying, -$9,970 Training, -$12,775

Working, +16,287
1st year Tier 1 Helpdesk earnings = $38,750 (12 months of work) 
– (3 months of training = 8 months of work) = $29,062 – $12,775 (Training Costs) = $16,287

Training, -$12,775

Working, +16,287
1st year Tier 1 Helpdesk earnings = $38,750 (12 months of work) 
– (3 months of training = 8 months of work) = $29,062 – $12,775 (Training Costs) = $16,287

Year 2 Studying, -$9,970 Working, +38,750 Working, +40,000
(2nd year Tier 1 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 3 Studying, -$9,970 Working, +38,750 Working, +45,750
(1st year Tier 2 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 4 Studying, -$9,970 Working, +38,750 Working, +59,610
(1st Year Entry Level Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
Year 5 Working, +38,750 Working, +38,750 Working, +65,000
(2nd Year Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
TOTAL Total: –$1,970
Total: +38,750
(With G.I. Bill Funding)
Total: +171,287 Total: +195,498

Making The Switch

The stakes were high for Treymayne, who has two kids. “I have a 13-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl so there is not much room for error,” Tremayne said jokingly but with a seriousness that he really could not screw up. With these concerns on his mind and the Maryland IT program not working out for him, he decided that he and his family needed to make a change in location and career path.

Between the high cost of living in Maryland and a first failed attempt at launching an IT career, he chose to move with his family to Texas, which is where he was introduced to LeaderQuest.

By arming himself with the knowledge of IT certifications compared to a college degree, he knew what path was going to yield the type of results he was looking for: IT certifications. After settling into his new home in Dallas, he visited LeaderQuest. “LeaderQuest came highly recommended so I decided to check it out!” Fortunately for him, LeaderQuest not only serves a large number of veterans but also has many veterans on staff.

What is the advantage of this? LeaderQuest employees are experts at working with the VA and navigating the large and sometimes confusing landscape of veteran benefits.

Watch Tremayne tell his inspiring story about training at LeaderQuest below:

Finding the Right Path

Down but not defeated, Tremayne was ready to get his IT career back on track and excited to meet with fellow veterans at LeaderQuest. He called LeaderQuest and set up a campus tour with a Career Training Consultant to discuss his options.

“We had a light-hearted discussion about what my goals were and how my previous experience played into the bigger picture.”

From that discussion and the route Tremayne wanted to go down, a personalized program made up of the CompTIA A+, Network+, Cisco CCNA, and ITIL certifications was curated and his new career path was set in motion.

The Information Technology Certification Process

Although Tremayne felt confident in his new path, the lingering failure of his first attempt at an IT career was still fresh in his mind.

“I had a little experience but was still going into a completely new career field and I didn’t know what to expect, I was really nervous.”

We asked Tremayne what was it that helped him get over this nervousness and find his stride during training.

“Every step of the way, when you would ask for help, they went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed. That relieves a lot of the anxiety someone might feel when making this kind of shift, particularly this late in life because you only get one chance to do it right.”

We pride ourselves on providing our students with the latest tools in order to succeed. This includes online tools, 1 on 1 tutoring, and many more services provided by our Instructor Mentors. This is only one factor that sets us apart from the competition, you can learn about our Instructor Mentors and all of the services offered by them here: Instructor Mentors at LeaderQuest

While we want to do everything we can to help students get the most out of their time at LeaderQuest and pass their exams, our number one goal is to get them employed.

Career Services at  LeaderQuest

Many people trying to get started in IT find that getting the education is a huge step in the direction of an IT career, but knowing the ins and outs of applying for jobs in the industry is vital. That is why we also do everything we can at this end of things to help get our students employed. LeaderQuest’s Career Services not only helps with interview/application coaching and resume/cover letter writing but they actually set up job fairs and meet and greets exclusively for LeaderQuest students. This gives our students a chance to personally interact with the hiring managers from our partnered DoD contractors and private companies who are looking to hire.

“We got an interview coach to help us learn the ins and outs, do’s and dont’s, so we have confidence when interviewing. LeaderQuest was even proactive in introducing us to employers and job opportunities.”

It was at one of LeaderQuest’s career fairs where Treymane was introduced to his future employer, TEKsystems.  “I met with a TEKsystems rep at one of these events and followed up. They had this project that was a good fit and I was able to get on.Treymane got hired onto a project with TEKsystems dealing with one of the newest sectors of Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, where he is working on the top end training aspect of their AI system.

Information Technology: A World of Opportunities

The interesting thing about Information Technology is that it can lead to so many different opportunities is so many different sectors of IT. This is why our entry-level Computer User Support Specialist program is perfect for individuals looking to enter the IT industry but don’t know what area they would like to expand into yet.

The Computer User Support Specialist program is composed of four different certifications courses. The first course is focused on ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), designed to help students align IT services with the needs of a business and provides a practical understanding of key concepts, principles, processes, and functions to enable successful IT Service Management. The second course is built around the CompTIA A+ certification where students learn how to identify, install, maintain, configure, and troubleshoot hardware, system components, and more. The third course, CompTIA Network+, teaches students the foundation-level skills needed to install, operate, manage, maintain, and troubleshoot corporate networks. The last course in the program is CompTIA Security+, during this training students learn a number of IT security skills in multiple different areas including networks, computers, internet connections, and mobile phones.

The program as a whole will give you a glimpse into each IT field allowing you to find out what area you would like to learn more about, and building a foundation for an IT career the future.

What was Tremayne’s overall opinion of LeaderQuest? “They are making a lot of difference in a lot of peoples lives in a very positive way. LeaderQuest comes highly recommended. They’ll take care of you if you come here.” While transitioning into this field is great for anyone looking to change careers, veterans can learn more about why exactly IT is such a great career fit in our blog, From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit.

Interested in learning if LeaderQuest can make an impact on your life?  Click the “Get Started” button at the bottom of this page, fill out a contact form, and a Career Advisor will have a brief conversation with you about your future. Don’t wait to follow YOUR passion, start today!



When Is Getting Your Certified Network Defender (CND) Worth It?

When Is Getting Your Certified Network Defender (CND) Worth It?

When you’re looking for a way to climb the ranks in the cyber security world, it can be difficult. As a newer industry, there’s no cookie-cutter path to cyber security and qualified experts come from a variety of backgrounds.

However, one surefire way to prove yourself is through certifications which validate your skills in the eyes of an employer and let you get a foot in the door for that dream job. The EC-Council’s Certified Network Defender (CND) is one such certification, great for people who want to work on making sure an organization’s network is secure and maintained.

In this article, we’ll cover the CND certification, what it covers, how it works, and whether or not it’s the perfect move for your career.

Cyber Security Skills Gap and Certification

Before we move on to the CND, it’s important to understand why it’s relevant in this world. The answer? The cyber security skills gap. With more and more high profile hacks from Equifax to Uber, qualified professionals are in short supply.

By 2019, there will be a global shortage of two million cyber professionals, according to the nonprofit ISACA. Meanwhile, CyberSeek estimates that around 240,000 information security analysts and other cyber roles go unfilled every year.

That’s where IT cyber security certifications come in. For professionals who already know their way around a computer and are ready to help fight the bad guys, certifications give them a chance to prove those skills quickly and get to work.

But not all certifications are created equal. So where does the Certified Network Defender come in?

Why Do We Need the Certified Network Defender?

No matter what your interest in cyber security, there’s a certification out there for you. Want to get into the mind of a hacker? The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification lets you do that. More interested in collecting cyber evidence and testifying against hackers? The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) lets you do that. If you’re not sure what you want to do in cyber security, our article on different paths can help you get started.

But what about the CND? In short, it’s all about data breaches. We know them. We fear them. In fact, cyber breaches have increased 1,370% over the past 10 years. People who earn this certification come equipped with the skills to protect, detect, and respond to threats on their network.

To get more specific, the CND is great for anyone who wants to focus on the operations and processes involved in network defense, rather than the tech. Their focus is on maintaining infrastructure in a system. A day in the life of a network defender could include testing a network for weaknesses, installing security programs, evaluating/monitoring networks, and more.

For info on when this certification could be the right choice for you, check out the infographic below from the EC-Council.

CND certified

As for the process of getting certified itself, well, it’s not easy. The Certified Network Defender exam is over four hours and costs hundreds of dollars. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect . . .

  • Number of Questions: 100
  • Test Duration: 4 Hours
  • Test Format: Multiple Choice
  • Test Delivery: ECC EXAM
  • Exam Cost: $350.00

Salary Range for CND Professionals

What’s in it for you once you do get the CND? We’re glad you asked! This certification uniquely prepares you to work with networks or seek network administrator positions.

Some of the most common Certified Network Defender jobs include. . .

  • Network Security Administrators
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Network Defense Technicians
  • CND Analyst
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Operator

As for salary, the average Certified Network Defender salary is around $65,721* but could easily be much higher depending on your specialization. For a Defense Network Technician, salaries range between $70,000 and $76,000.

Meanwhile, a Network Security Engineer could make anywhere between $97,000 and $163,000 according to the Robert Half 2018 Technology & IT Salary Guide. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Certification Training at LeaderQuest

Our Certified Network Defender course is designed to help you quickly learn the skills needed to pass the exam and take on a new job role. This EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND) cyber security training program was developed as a result of extensive market research and surveys to give students a detailed understanding and the hands-on ability to act in real-life situations involving network defense. Hands-on labs, based on major network security tools and techniques, give network administrators real-world experience on current network security technologies and operations.

This cyber security training is skills-based and lab intensive. It based on a job-task analysis and the cyber security education framework presented by the National Initiative of Cybersecurity Education (NICE). The course has been mapped to global job roles and responsibilities for system and network administrators.

Get Certified and Hired!

If you want to start an exciting, in-demand, well-compensated career in network defense, Certified Network Defender training can get you there. That’s why we’re here to help you get a cyber security certification that launches your career!

We offer high-impact IT certification training designed to help you learn the material, get certified, and be prepared to start a new job role with confidence. Getting you a great new job as quickly as possible is our ultimate goal. That’s why we offer 5-10 day classes, during the day or at night, online or on campus, which you can resit as many times as needed to make sure you absorb your new skills fast.

Train with an expert instructor at LeaderQuest and start your new career with the help of our Employment Development Manager (EDM), your personal career coach who comes equipped with a host of employer connections to help you get hired fast.

Don’t wait to get your Certified Network Defender (CND) and start a great future in cyber security. Reach out today!


From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit

From The Military to Information Technology: The Perfect Fit

Think about when you first enlisted in the military, the excitement, the nervousness, the fear of the unknown. While these feelings have surely changed since your first deployment, the end of your military career marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life and the renewal of those same feelings. While this may be intimidating, we want you to know that you have a partner in moving forward.  Our goal is to help veterans navigate the maze of opportunities ahead of them by means of education and information in order to help them choose a career that will serve them for years to come.

We discussed the advantages of certifications over degrees in Degrees vs. Certifications and in Your Military Transition we discussed how to navigate your transition and assesses your military benefits, but in this blog we would like to explore why exactly entering the IT industry is such a great fit for military veterans and why you should consider a career in IT.

Don’t know what IT is or would like to learn more about IT? Check out our blog What is IT (Information Technology) and Why You Should Know

IT Worker Shortage

While you were deployed the amount of open IT positions has increased tremendously. From 2014-2018, more than 450,000 IT job openings have been added to the market. The U.S. workforce is desperately trying to keep up with demand, but there are not enough qualified individuals to fill these positions.

The sector that has the hardest time keeping up with demand also happens to be the sector that favors military veterans, cybersecurity. By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.5 million open cybersecurity positions worldwide.

Even with cybersecurity salaries in the U.S. averaging $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour, cybersecurity is still having problems filling positions. Want to see for yourself? Google, “What is the demand for Cybersecurity jobs in the United States” and check it out.

What does this mean for you? Entering the IT industry can lead to great opportunities at an accelerated rate. Veteran Christopher Jaskoski was earning $70k just nine months after his separation from the military; read The IT Training Success Story of Christopher Jaskoski to learn more about Chris. At our last check with him in March of 2019, he was earning over $120k. A lot of veterans don’t know this but time in the military can be a significant advantage when seeking a career in IT.

Your Military Experience = Your Advantage

Skills you develop in the military like teamwork, leadership, and problem solving are just a few of the qualities that you can utilize in the IT industry. Exceptional problem-solving skills alone are a great indicator for an entry-level job in IT were troubleshooting and problem-solving are large parts of the job roles. Entry level roles like Computer User Support Specialist are earning on average 52k a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On top of basic skills that can help veterans get a head start in IT careers there are also many MOS’s that have direct correlations to jobs in the civilian workforce.

Networking and communications positions are a great example of this. Have you ever seen CISCO equipment in the field? There is a good chance that this equipment has had a large impact on your military career. Many of their devices are deployed all around the world with the U.S. military and are the exact same devices used on the civilian side of things.

From Cryptologists to Network Defenders and Signal Specialist to Systems Maintainers there are hundreds of positions in the military that can translate directly into civilian IT positions. Want to see if your skills and experience would translate to an IT job? Download our Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment below.

Download the Veteran Skills and Interests Assessment

Security Clearance and the Department of Defense

Do you have a Secret Security Clearance?

Having a secret security clearance and being in the field of IT can lead to a 5.8 percent average pay increase over time, and top-secret security clearance can lead to a 12.8 percent pay increase over time according to the Human Resource Association of the National Capital Area. Certified individuals with a security clearance are sought out by defense contractors, and generally have a very easy time getting hired.

Are you interested in working for the Department of Defense (DoD)?

Becoming 8570 compliant with single certifications from LeaderQuest can also boost your earning potential as well as make you eligible for a position in the DoD.

What is DoD 8570 Compliance? DoD 8570 establishes the policies and responsibilities of Department of Defense information assurance, including training, certification and workforce management. It is a baseline requirement for employees to access DoD IT systems.

How do you become 8570 compliant with LeaderQuest Certifications?

For a complete understanding of DoD8570 compliance check out our blog Making Sense of DoD8570 and DoD8140 for Your Cyber Security Career

By combining your Secret Security Clearance with 8570 compliance you can significantly improve your chances of getting hired into an IT position for a defense contractor.

What is the advantage of working in IT for the DoD or a defense contractor?

You get to continue your to serve your country while leveraging your security clearance to make more money, the average base salary for IT specialists in the DoD is around 78k according to

How Important are Time and Money to You?

Entering the workforce through a certification path can save you years and help you build the necessary experience to advance your career and make a decent living.

When looking at college degree programs you will find that a bachelor’s degree will typically take around 4 years to complete. This translates to 120 college credits and around about 40 total classes, not to mention the additional time it takes to get hired after completion. After this time you will still be entering the workforce as an entry-level candidate making entry level pay.

In comparison our entry-level certification program, the Computer User Support Specialist program, you are looking at around 3 months from training to hire and a total of 4 certification courses.

The earning potential of these different paths can be illustrated in the table below.

*Salary factored in is based on Robert Half’s technology salary guide. We used Low-End Conservative 50th percentile salaries for years 1-3. Years 4 & 5 are based on the average of  2,250 Cyber Security Analyst salaries from

Timeline Bachelor’s Degree LeaderQuest Training (without pay raises factored in) LeaderQuest Training (with pay raises factored in)
Year 1

Studying: -$9,970

Training AND Working = +$16,287
(-$12,775 + $29,062)

1st yr Tier 1 Helpdesk annual earnings = $38,750
12 mos of work – 3 mos of training = 8 mos of work ($29,062)
Minus Training Costs ($12,775) = +$16,287

Year 2 Studying: -$9,970 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$40,000
(2nd year Tier 1 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 3 Studying: -$9,970 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$45,750
(1st year Tier 2 Helpdesk Earnings)
Year 4 Studying: -$9,970 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$59,610
(1st Year Entry Level Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
Year 5 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$38,750 Working: +$65,000
(2nd Year Cyber Security Analyst Earnings)
TOTAL Total: -$1,970
Total: +$38,750 (With G.I. Bill Funding)
Total: +$171,287 Total: +$195,498

As in any field, your pay is dependent on your experience and effort to move forward. To make the step from a Help Desk Associate to a Cybersecurity Expert it typically takes 2-4 years of IT experience and can be supported by next level certifications offered by LeaderQuest like the Certified Ethical Hacker certification or the Certified Security Analyst certification.

Why IT Certifications and Why LeaderQuest?

In general, certifications verify that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are a great way to show employers that you have put in the time to learn your craft. While certifications are great to have, they won’t always land you a job by themselves. Here at LeaderQuest, we have recognized this and have gone to great lengths to bridge the gap from certification to employment.

The LeaderQuest Difference

A large portion of our staff are military veterans, and it has pushed us to go beyond what one might expect from a training facility and inspired us to create a world-class training center that cultivates success for veterans from training to employment.


LeaderQuest Training Process

  • Instructor Mentors: Each LeaderQuest campus has an Instructor Mentor specifically dedicated to the success of all students. The Instructor Mentors will organize study groups, create personalized study plans, and tutor individual students who need the most help.
  • Expert Instructors: All of our instructors are required to have industry experience.
  • Day or Night Courses: We offer day and night courses to fit your schedule. Full-Time courses run for 5 weekdays at 8hrs/day. Part-Time courses run for 10 weeknights at 4hrs/night.
  • Learning Portal: Carefully curated online tools including study and practice test tools are included in each course.
  • The LeaderQuest Learning Guarantee: You may re-sit any course that you have taken at no cost if it’s within 2 years of your course date. (If the certification version has changed you may have to purchase new materials.)


LeaderQuest Career Services Department

  • One on one resume/Cover letter writing.
  • One on one interview coaching.
  • One on one LinkedIn profile creation and optimization.
  • One on one application coaching including how, when, and what kind of jobs to apply to.
  • Meet and greets with industry professionals.
  • LinkedIn Tech Professionals groups to network and ask questions to LeaderQuest alumni in your area.
  • Access to LeaderQuest’s job boards curated by the career services Employment Development Managers.
  • Access to LeaderQuest’s employment partners. LeaderQuest has partnered with DoD and private companies across the country to help fill their entry-level to advanced-level positions in a wide array of IT sectors.

Learn more about LeaderQuest’s Employment Services in the video below.

As you can see, LeaderQuest has poured copious amounts of time and research into perfecting the formula for a concise education that produces results. That being said we are continually evolving and are constantly adjusting to the market to ensure a top-level education for anyone who chooses to walk through the doors of LeaderQuest. We listen to our students and support our veterans in and outside of the company.

Is Entering the IT Industry Right For You?

Whether you are looking to continue your service to the country through the DoD or are simply wanting to make money as quickly as possible, the IT industry may be a good fit your you! Your skills from the military combined with LeaderQuest’s proactive approach to training is designed to get you from training to employed as quickly and efficiently as possible, all while providing the necessary tools to help you do so.

Considering that a large portion of our employees are military veterans, we empathize with what you are going through and want to aid ease this process. This life-altering decision does not have to be one that you make alone. Here at LeaderQuest, our goal is to partner with you in making this decision and guide you throughout the whole process.

If you are interested in transitioning into the IT industry please click the button below, fill out a contact form, and a Career Adviser will contact you about your future. Thank you for your service and good luck!