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Career Services: A Bridge Between Students and Employers

Career Services: A Bridge Between Students and Employers

When you think about starting a new career or advancing your career, a couple of things probably come to mind. Can I earn more money? Where is the best place to find a new job? Can anyone help me?

Depending on your situation you may or may not get the help you need in answering these questions. But why are these questions so hard in the first place?

Traditionally, those doing the hiring and those doing the teaching do not communicate effectively. Both are running businesses serving different markets. When a college helps you earn a degree, they aren’t concerned with what you can do with it or what kind of jobs are available. They leave that up to the student. At LeaderQuest, we do things a little differently.

Watch Stephen Wright, the Employment Development Manager for LeaderQuest Denver, talk about the Career Services Department, below.

The IT Employment Divide

Why is there such a divide when these two industries should be working together? The harsh reality for students attending four-year Bachelor’s or two-year Associate’s programs in Information Technology is that by the time they reach the end of their curriculum, much of the knowledge and skills developed in the early semesters become obsolete. This renders these students less desirable by employers looking for people with an understanding of the latest tools and techniques – particularly in practices that pertain to cyber intrusion detection, forensics, and ethical hacking. For some skills. the pace of change in the tech industry is making the two-year or four-year college journey less relevant. You can learn more about the differences in our blog Degrees vs. Certifications: Investing In your Future.

Institutions that focus on accelerated IT skills training, like LeaderQuest, are bound by strict employment guidelines. What does this mean exactly? To maintain our status as a training company and to be able to accept certain kinds of funding, our graduates must exceed state-set employment guidelines.

Faced with these regulations within the industry, we here at LeaderQuest had two options: we could train individuals and send them off to fend for themselves in the job market, or we could face the challenge head-on and develop a complete training-to-employment system. We decided to go with the latter.

LeaderQuest IT Training

In order to tackle this challenge we first had to align our goals with the needs of the industry.  This was done by analyzing the IT industry and directly speaking with IT companies. We pinpointed what skills are in demand, what skills are most critical, and what exactly we can do to best prepare students for breaking into careers (or advancing their careers) in the IT industry.

This led to the development of our Computer User Support Specialist program for individuals looking to break into the industry and our curation of several other certifications courses that individuals can utilize to advance their careers. In addition to these developments, this also led us to the creation of one of our most unique and crucial assets, the LeaderQuest Career Services Department.

LeaderQuest Career Services Department

After ensuring that our training programs and certification selection were aligned with the industry’s needs, we then had to build the bridge between students and employers. This is the purpose of our Career Services Department. This department was created to foster a symbiotic relationship between the IT industry and LeaderQuest while providing students with the optimal resources to confidently apply to and interview for their future jobs.

The Career Services Department provides a comprehensive path from professional development to employment. The process begins on the first day of training when students are introduced to their campus’ Employment Development Manager (EDM), the EDM is in charge of leading students through the Career Services process. This process is broken down into 5 steps.

The Career Services Process in 5 Steps

Step 1: Initial Evaluation Meeting

You will meet with the EDM one-on-one in order to understand your specific situation. This includes understanding your goals, experience, and desired timeline. For example, some students may be looking to be employed immediately after their first certification and some students may wait to finish their personalized program before looking for employment. It all depends on the experience and goals outlined in this first meeting.

A frequently asked question that our Denver EDM recieves on the first day of class.

Step 2: Professional Development

You’ll then meet with your campus EDM for professional development. You’ll collaborate with the EDM to develop quality resumes and cover letters while pulling together a good list of references. Throughout this step, you’ll learn about valuable resume techniques and cover letter strategies that have been developed by the LeaderQuest staff, all with the goal giving you an advantage right off the bat. A pristine resume and cover letter is crucial for standing out in the job market.

Step 3: Applying for Jobs

Once your resume and cover letter are up to professional standards, it’s time to start applying for jobs. By this time you should have an idea of what area you want to work in and what kind of company you’re looking to work for.

The EDM will then reach into their pool of jobs and look for a match. This pool of jobs comes from multiple sources: LeaderQuest’s Employment Partner Network and positions curated from traditional job websites. In addition to the EDM searching for specific positions, students will also be taught what to look for and how to apply for jobs themselves. The EDM is available for all questions and concerns throughout this process.

The LeaderQuest Employment Partner Network spans from the private sector to government entities like the Department of Defense (DoD). These employers know the LeaderQuest curriculum, they know the quality of candidates we produce, and they have found success with hiring our students. This has created a mutually beneficial relationship between these employers and LeaderQuest where they supply us with jobs and we supply them with qualified candidates.

Step 4: Interview Preparation

In this step, once interviews opportunities start to get generated, you’ll learn what it takes to execute a perfect interview. In addition to years of resume/cover letter writing, EDMs are experts at interviewing. They know what specific employers are looking for, what strategies will work best for each candidate, and they know how to coach the necessary interview skills.

“When we have an interview set up it’s go time,” Stephen Wright, EDM for the LeaderQuest Denver campus.

There’s basic coaching, like when to show up and how to dress appropriately for the interview, and then there are the higher level skills that many students are unaware of. Some of these skills include (but not limited to): questions coaching; how to respond to and ask the right questions; mannerisms, body language and how to act appropriately; and one of the most important skills, closing: how to close the interview properly in order to secure a second interview or job offer.

In addition to skills coaching, the EDM will conduct mock interviews with you in order to help boost your interviewing confidence while ironing out any interview problems that may come up.

When this step is complete you will not only have the necessary skills and confidence to land a position, but will also have have a strong foundation to build from for continued professional development and success.

Step 5: Continued Support

Once you have interviewed and gotten a position, the job of the Career Services Department is not over. We would like to hear from alumni and continue to assist them throughout their careers. LeaderQuest alumni also have lifetime access to the LeaderQuest LinkedIn Professionals groups and all of the services offered by the Career Services Department, including their job pool.


Are you ready for an IT career?

The LeaderQuest Career Services department is here to aid students in their career aspirations, as well as continue the pursuit of cohesion between employers and graduates. The goal is to adapt as the job market advances and to innovate where necessary to give LeaderQuest graduates the highest level of service and the best chance of landing their dream job.

Whether you are looking to start a career in IT or advance your career, LeaderQuest’s Career Services is the perfect partner in helping you move forward.

If you are looking to break into the industry you may be interested in our entry level Computer User Support Specialist program which will give you a glimpse into each IT field allowing you to find out which sector best suits you while providing the skills crucial for entry-level IT jobs.

Looking to advance your career or break into cyber security? LeaderQuest has you covered there as well, with a wide variety of certifications from CompTIA, EC-Council, and the Project Management Institute (PMI®). Our complete list of certifications and programs can be found here: Training Programs & Courses.

If you have decided you want to learn more about what LeaderQuest can offer you, please click the button below, fill out a contact form, and a LeaderQuest Career Adviser will contact you for a discussion about your future.

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Get Hired in IT with LeaderQuest’s Career Services

Get Hired in IT with LeaderQuest’s Career Services

At LeaderQuest, our primary mission is to teach our students everything they need to know to get certified and excel in their current or desired position. To that end, we hire expert instructors with years of industry experience in cyber security and information technology to teach our classes. Our training will give you the skills and IT certifications to make you an attractive candidate for the kind of jobs you’re looking for. But we don’t stop there. We also provide an Employment Development Manager at each of our campuses, whose only job is to help connect our graduates with amazing jobs.

Get to Know Your Friendly, Local Employment Development Manager (EDM)

At LeaderQuest, we’re deeply committed to finding employment for each of our graduates. Your EDM is your personal employment advocate, and they have many tools they can use to help you find the perfect position. Though LeaderQuest is not a placement agency and can’t guarantee a job, the IT market is thriving and certified individuals are in high demand. Read on to learn more about how your EDM can help.

Discover the Ideal Career Path
If you’re not sure where in information technology you’d like to land, talk to your EDM! They can help you plot out a career path and choose the certifications that will help you get there. They can also advise you on which certification exams to take first to help you qualify as quickly as possible. Connecting the dots is much easier when you have a little help!

Learn Inside Tips on Resumes, Cover Letters, and Applications
Our EDMs are experts when it comes to making a convincing case for why a company should want to hire you. They can help you write stellar cover letters, resumes that stand out, and know online applications inside and out. They can offer the inside perspective on what employers are really looking for and how they think when assessing candidates. You may think your resume is perfect, but a resume custom tailored to the job you want is the most powerful one of all.

Optimize Your Job Search
Are you wasting time with inefficient searching techniques? Our EDMs are seeking jobs for our graduates day in and day out, and they know all the secrets to find the right jobs and do it quickly. They can help you put your time in the right places and increase efficiency. By focusing your job search correctly, you’ll save time and energy and get the interviews you’ve been seeking.

Advance Your Networking Skills
When it comes to networking, nobody knows how to do it better than our EDMs. If you haven’t been able to make deep, powerful connections at networking events, your EDM can help. Your network is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when it comes to getting hired. Your EDM can help you identify connections you already have and look for places to make new connections.

Hone Your Interviewing Skills
When you walk in the door and shake hands, nothing beats confidence. Whether you want to try a mock interview or you just want to go over the basics, your EDM can help you gain confidence in your interviewing skills. Our EDMs are experienced interview coaches, and they can help you polish your skills until you outshine every other candidate. They know what hiring managers are looking for and can help you practice the kind of questions you’ll be asked.

Benefit from your EDM’s Connections
Each EDM has strong contacts with employers in the community and wants to help you get hired! IT employers in the community often come to us looking for candidates. Our EDMs help line up our graduates with these companies so they can get the interview. EDMs are also familiar with top IT employers in the area, and form relationships with the hiring managers there. This is their number one job: helping our graduates get considered for the roles they really want.

Are you ready to get started?

EDMs are here to help you with everything we’ve mentioned above! If you want to gain access to this powerful employment advocate, enroll with us for IT certification training! Your instructors will impart the knowledge that employers are seeking, and your EDM will help to make you look like an amazing candidate that local employers are eager to hire. Start your new career and get hired in IT today!

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The 2018 Survey Results are In (and Students Love LeaderQuest!)

The 2018 Survey Results are In (and Students Love LeaderQuest!)

We love our customers, and there’s nothing more important to us than what they want! With in-class surveys, friendly support staff, and instructors that are accessible 24-7, we try to be as receptive as possible to our students’ needs.

This year, we wanted to gather even more information about our customers and those who are curious about IT training. That’s why we conducted a survey to find out what’s our students and the general public has to say about IT, certifications, and our training.

Who We Surveyed & Our Methods

Of the people who responded, 52% were alumni or current students while 48% had not taken classes at LeaderQuest. We wanted to get a mix of those who are interested in IT, our students, and our alumni. By emailing our survey and putting it on social media, we were able to get a good number of responses from the public as well as from LeaderQuest alumni and students. Of those responses, 39% had no IT experience at all, 24% had one or two years of experience, and 37% had three years or more experience.

Responses from Non-Alumni

Certifications with the Greatest Name-Recognition

We were curious about how well-acquainted our audience is with the certifications LeaderQuest offers. While> some certs have been around for years, others are pretty new. We found that about 77% of non-alumni respondents had heard of the Network+, Security+, and A+ certifications. Only 30% had heard of CASP. This shows that some of the newer certs have a long way to go in terms of name recognition. Check out the chart for the full list.

While not all certifications are widely known, most of our respondents felt that IT certifications offered a lot of value. A total of 90% of non-alumni respondents felt that IT certifications were useful in starting an IT career, and 87% would consider getting one or more IT certifications to start a career. These numbers speak to the incredible value certifications offer through objective verification of a candidate’s skills from a trustworthy third party. Employers look for certain certifications in the hiring process to make sure their employees have the needed skills for the role, and this is reflected in the popularity of IT certifications.

Popular Fields in IT

In the IT industry, non-alumni were most interested in positions related to cyber security (73%), IT support (45%), and project management (45%). Only 36% were interested in networking. This is great news for the industry, considering that there’s a huge demand for workers in cyber security. At the time of this writing, CyberSeek.org lists 285,681 cyber security job openings in the United States! LeaderQuest is proud to help train the next generation of cyber security experts and help to close the cyber skills gap.

Room for Growth in the IT Industry

Of course, many people surveyed were aware of this huge growth opportunity. The non-alumni we surveyed felt the most attractive thing about working in IT is the potential to command a high salary (80%) and the growth potential of the industry (72%). If you haven’t checked out our blog about IT salaries in 2018, take a look! IT salaries are no joke, and they are only getting better. As the industry grows, these positions will command higher and higher pay.

Responses from Alumni and Current Students

The Future of IT Certifications

Our alumni know the value of certification better than anybody. In fact, 87% of our alumni plan on getting more certifications in the future. When building an IT career, certifications can be a huge aid to help professionals take the next big step in their career, whether that’s a raise or a new position. In workplaces that don’t help their employees expand into new skills and positions, certifications are an important way to gain the knowledge needed to start a new role.

Geographic Area of Respondents

In terms of location, Alumni survey respondents studied at Denver (34%), Colorado Springs (27%), Dallas (24%) or Jacksonville (15%). With Denver and Colorado Springs as our first campuses, it’s not surprising that they garnered more responses than our newer campuses in Dallas and Jacksonville. But, with new, bigger facilities in Jacksonville and more happy students than ever in Dallas, next year’s numbers will be even better for these two campuses!

Why Our Students Chose LeaderQuest

Alumni survey respondents told us that the deciding factor(s) for them to attend LeaderQuest were helpful/friendly staff (55%), day or night classes (50%),LeaderQuest covering the cost of certification attempts (47%), IT industry/salary info (44%), and our career services team (44%). We added night classes to make it easier for employed professionals to get training, so it’s good to hear that this made the difference. LeaderQuest covers the cost of one certification attempt per course because we want our students to get certified with the fewest amount of roadblocks possible! And our career services team is hugely important to student success at LeaderQuest, so it’s good to know that it gave some students the final push to enroll. Most importantly, we couldn’t be more proud of our amazing staff, who make all the difference to our students in their day-to-day lives.

LeaderQuest Instructors

When it comes to training, no one is more important than our instructors. That may be why 92% of alumni survey respondents felt that LeaderQuest instructors were well-informed on the topics they covered and effective in helping them understand the material. There’s no replacement for experience, which is why we hire industry-expert instructors who’ve been there and done it before. They’re present at every class to answer questions and address tough subjects so that students gain a thorough understanding–not just of how to pass the exam, but to excel in the new roles they land with these certifications on their resumes.

The Overall Experience at LeaderQuest

The final word in customer service comes when it’s all said and done. When the courses are over, the exams have been taken, and the birds have flown the nest, how do LeaderQuest graduates feel about their experience in retrospect? Well, 87% of alumni said that overall they were very pleased with their experience at LeaderQuest and would recommend it to a friend. There’s no bigger compliment than this. In the end, we’re glad that we could be of service on the journeys of so many talented individuals and empower them to seek out the kind of employment they really want.

Survey Winners

We really appreciate everyone who took the time to fill out our survey and let us know your thoughts. After drawing names, we sent out $100 Amazon gift cards to Darin H., Alexandra M., and Brian T. Thank you all for participating in our 2018 survey! You’ll have another chance to win next year.

Get IT training at LeaderQuest

As you can see above, we have a lot of happy customers! If you’re curious about IT training, contact us today. We offer 5-10 day courses taught by expert instructors, available on campus or online. We also offer our training in an evening format for those who are working during the day. If you’re interested in getting certified, contact us today!

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