You’ve finally graduated, or perhaps completed a long list of professional certifications and you’re ready to land that elusive first job as an IT professional. The thought alone of entering a new field for the first time can be overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you find a position? Who will hire you? The process is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Your first step should be to develop a plan and keep it simple. I recommend this four-step plan to landing your first gig.

Know What You Want

Considering you’ve completed your formal education, you have probably given a lot of thought to what you want to be when you grow up. That will put you ahead of most first-time job seekers, but you need to do a little more. Write it down. Take a couple of hours to spell out what you would like to do with your career. Often it is helpful to begin at the end of your career and work backwards. Define where you would like to be ultimately, then backtrack the career steps it will take for you to accomplish this. This will become the foundation of your career plan and will help you determine the kind of position you should look for in your first job.

Get on the Job Training

It is difficult to land a job with no experience, and it is difficult to get experience without a job. The solution to this career catch 22 could be an internship. Fortunately, most internships these days are paid, which is a great deal for an entry level IT professional. You get paid to learn the ropes. An internship can also lead to regular employment. Many employers use internships as job auditions. Outstanding interns can find themselves promoted into full time positions.

Join the Club

Join a professional association in your chosen field and begin building your network early. It takes time to develop a solid network, so it stands to reason that you should do this right away. Over the course of your career you’ll likely find that your network is the most valuable resource you have. Build it carefully and nurture it throughout your career.

Find a Mentor

It is a good idea to develop upstream relationships with more experienced IT professionals and eventually find a career mentor. An experienced and trusted advisor can help you map out your career plan and navigate any obstacles along the way.

Congratulations and happy hunting!

Danielle Foppe is a Recruitment Manager at Business Centric Technology. If you are interested in learning more about how to get the best IT talent in the Dallas metroplex, contact Danielle specializes in recruiting IT talent in Dallas, Ft. Worth and North Texas. If you are looking for a rewarding career contact us today.