3 Reasons You Don't Need Experience to Get the Job You Want
"When the attitude is there, the action will follow."
This is a personal saying of mine, because I truly believe more and more it's about how you work than what you know.
I did a Media & Communications degree, and by the time I'd finished my 4 years at uni I had done 3 unpaid internships. By my last year, I decided I wanted to get paid for the skills I had, and applied at small creative agencies for roles. I was lucky enough to get some awesome first steps into my paid profession with Vitamin X (thanks Tania and Alex!) and Republic of Everyone (thanks Matt & Ben!). At the time, I thought it was critical to get real world experience in the workplace to lay a foundation for a MarComms career.
Now I do believe work experience is important and valuable, especially with the high numbers of university graduates struggling to find full-time employment (in 2014 this was around 40%). You might need more than a piece of paper to land your first job. But once you have some balls in your court, you aren't chained to one career for your whole life. Here's why.
#1 Transferable Skills
I rewrite people's CVs and LinkedIn profiles and often my time is spent mining through their previous roles and experience for the "gems" - transferable skills. These are skills that can be used across roles, across companies, across industries, hell - even across countries! They are the skills that are non-technical & non-specific to a role, company, or industry. If you know how to do budget planning in 1 place, you can do it anywhere. If you are an excellent communicator, you can bet your pretty bottom every job in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD would like you in it. If you know how to manage relationships - guess what? You'd be great in Sales, Stakeholder Management, Client Liaisons, Management, Customer Service, Counselling, etc. And the awesome thing is - we ALL have HEAPS of them! These are the skills that transcend what you do today to take you to a plethora of possible tomorrows.
#2 Have an Attitude of Learning
Now, role or technical expertise absolutely does have a place, but technical expertise is often pretty easy to learn, especially on the job using it day in, day out. With your transferable skills under your belt, pop on your "cowboy hat" of the right attitude & you'll be unstoppable. Being:
will give you a pathway for learning technical skills quickly. As companies begin to expect employees to be all-rounders, crossing over roles, companies, or industries with transferable skills & the right attitude is a breeze.
#3 Find the Courage to Ask
But all this is pretty useless unless you actually go after opportunities you want! They are there, and the only thing stopping you from going for them is you. Once you shine up those transferable skills & dust off that right attitude, pull on your "courage boots" and go after out the role, company, or industry you want through job seeking sites & your network.
But how do I know all of this?
Because I've done it myself, time & time again.
I got a job in one of the Big 4 banks despite having NO experience in Finance, or even having done any Commerce or Economics subjects. I moved into Change Management and became the Change Lead on projects despite having no formal Change Management training or qualifications. And now I'm working as a consultant in local council in IT, with no prior experience in consulting, local government, or IT.
But I have well-honed & ever-improving transferable skills, a thirst for learning new things and doing my best, & the courage to go after the roles I think I could add value. Because of these, I've attracted managers who see my potential & are happy to train me up in the technical expertise. Within a couple of months, I'm performing well and proficient in my new role.
Every step you've taken, every piece of information & skill you've learned, every task you've completed, every achievement you've made, has led you to be the multi-faceted prism of a professional you are today. It all depends at where you look at yourself from. You are educated, experienced & supremely employable. And to prove to yourself just how employable you are, take 2 minutes to do this little mind mapping exercise of all your potential.
Mind Map Your Skills:
Pop the word SKILLS in the middle of a blank piece of paper. Then start to draw lines out with all the types of roles, industries, & responsibilities/tasks you've ever done. Sit back and look at just how accomplished you are - and the possible career paths you could take! Here's one I did earlier this year (and this doesn't even start to go into the nitty gritty of transferable skills!).
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, an Executive Coach and Change Leadership Trainer. Sign up to her Change Inspiration mailing list here to get weekly goodies such as articles, templates, tools, videos and upcoming courses direct to your inbox.