I am a fresh graduate in computer science -january 2012- that is going out to the real world, and I want some advice, but first some things about me:
I have already acheived my CCNP, CCNA Seccurity, CCDA, CCNA and MCSA, I have hands on experience using cisco devices, from the 2900 series switches, the 2600 routers and the 3550 layer 3 switches, but that's all in home and training labs, meaning I have no real hands on experience.
I feel that I am over-qualified for "fresh graduate" opportunities, and under-experienced for professional ones, so my question is......does my certificates count as having some experience? or am I still a greenhorn that should go after small jobs?
I see this a lot when interviewing potential staff employees. Unfortinately, and this is just my experience, being qualified on paper, and actually having the real-world experience differ quite a bit.
Having all the qualifications you mentioned is quite an achievement, and well done, but the challenge comes in when you have to prove to your potential employer that you can do the things that can be expected by a CCNA, CCNP, etc. Personally I would hire a "Paper CCNP' to go into a CCNA-level job, and adjust their roles, responsibilities, and remuneration according to how the conduct themselves.
My suggestion is to look for an entry-level networking job with a reputable company that will give you the opportunity to prove yourself, develop, and grow into higher positions. To expect a mid- to high-level paying job with no real world experience might be a bit of a stretch, and the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure.
Start at the bottom, build a good reputation and a strong foundation, and take it from there. You will see how quickly you reap the fruits of your labor if you just stick it out, deliver exceptional work, and go that extra mile.