Here‘s why you don‘t need a tech background to succeed at Verizon

By: Sandhya Kolachina

In the spring of 2008, James Cunha realized he needed to make a major career change. He had been working in the mortgage industry, brokering sales and underwriting for years, but the mortgage industry wasn't fulfilling his career needs. "I needed to find a career somewhere in a company that had longevity, and also integrity," Cunha says now. "Because those were the two things missing in my career at that time."

Cunha was drawn to Verizon by his social network. "I actually had friends and family who worked at Verizon, and they spoke very highly of the company," Cunha says. "After doing some research and checking out the benefits, I decided to apply for a customer service position."

James Cunha
New Employee Experience Supervisor
Verizon is not necessarily looking for people who are veterans in the tech industry: they want people who are able to make amazing connections with our customers...

Cunha says he was initially intimidated by the fact that he had no tech experience on his résumé. He wondered if that would keep him from getting a job, but on the advice of friends, he applied anyway and was soon put at ease. "In the interview process, it was made clear to me that, yes, technical knowledge is beneficial, but the reason the training process is in place is for people without that technical knowledge," he says. Cunha was pleasantly surprised. "Verizon is not necessarily looking for people who are veterans in the tech industry: they want people who are able to make amazing connections with our customers, and I was promised I would be given the tools and training in order to do my job, and I was," he says.

Cunha aced his interview, and started out in an entry-level customer service job, taking billing calls at a contact center. He quickly worked his way up. After a series of promotions including a role as a supervisor in a different division, Cunha is now a New Employee Experience Supervisor, coaching and developing new hires. "I transition them from the training environment to actual call-taking," he says. "I help them hit the ground running."

Cunha's favorite part of the job is helping new hires with their career development goals. "I love to get to know new talent, find out what their drive is, why they show up to work and what they want to do. I love to help them develop their skill set, master it, and set a clear path to where they want to go and help them get there. I've seen representatives who started in our new hire department who are now supervisors, and it's a great feeling to think I may have had something to do with that," he says.

Cunha says he would encourage anyone looking for a great career to apply at Verizon, and tell them not to be intimidated by a lack of tech experience coming in. "Once you get your foot in the door and you start getting comfortable with the tools you're given, it shows you that you can start out in almost any position here, even without a technical background, and you will feel confident that you're prepared for your next step."

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About the author(s): 

Sandhya Kolachina is a manager in employer branding at Verizon.