DENVER -- It’s a catch 22. You want to go into a certain field, but you can't afford the college or training required to get there. Or you've been out of work for a couple years, and your industry has changed entirely in that short time.
It’s the dilemma thousands of job seekers are facing. People like Jim Paull. A former I.T. manager from Highlands Ranch, he's been out of work for two years now. Even after putting out a thousand resumes... still nothing.
“They never give you a reason, other than we decided to go with the other person,” he said.
He's in a real pickle. In the information technology field, two years off the job is an eternity. Technology changes overnight, yet he can't afford to pay the $200 or more to keep current on each new I.T. class and certification that would make his resume stand out.
“It's not gonna be easy,” Paull said.
“People's skills are now out of date when they've been unemployed a year, two years. Employers looking at them are going to say ‘what skill set do you have that is really current to the environment we're operating in,’” said Richard Wobbekind, Senior Associate Dean at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business.
So what's someone like Paull to do?
We got answers from Frank Daidone, director of I.T. for Denver-based Chipotle restaurants. He says his company is being flooded right now with I.T. applicants.
“Unfortunately a lot of them are not qualified,” Daidone said.
His advice? Scrimp and save... find a way to pay for those classes and certifications that will keep you up to date, no matter your line of work. The investment just might keep you in the running for that job you so desperately need.
And once you get that interview, he has one other piece of advice... find out everything you can about your potential employer. Study up. It will impress.
“It's nice that they believe in what we believe in, but it's good to know that they did their homework. And that's what we want to see, if we were selling burritos or rubber hoses, you want to know that they did their homework before them came in,” Daidone said.
If Jim Paull is good at anything, it's doing his homework. He spends hours a day plugging away on his computer, researching potential employers. Is it paying off? Not yet. In two years, he's had only ten face to face interviews. But he hasn't given up hope.
“Something will break, absolutely,” he said. “I think there's really encouraging signs with the economy and the job market. I really think it's gonna turn around.”
There are ways to get scholarships for some I.T. certifications Paull might need, and grants for training in other fields too. For more information on that, click here.