Regardless of the type of career you’re in or would like to be in, one of the biggest obstacles standing between you and “the next level” is a lack of experience. How many times have we all heard that after a job interview we thought went really well?
Employers won’t give you a shot unless you have experience and you can’t get any experience unless someone gives you a shot.
Which makes it pretty clear what you have to do: get some.
Sound hard/impossible? Here are some things that anyone can do to get that coveted “experience” regardless of the field you’re in:
- Start a blog: This is one of my personal favorites. I was having a conversation with some of Ramit’s people about changing careers without quitting your job and I wound up pounding this point home. Blogging about anything will automatically give you experience and something to show potential employers. Think your career doesn’t lend itself to blogging? Email me and I’ll prove you wrong. Blogging will not just give you the experience you can then show a potential employer, but it’ll also help you grow and learn more about yourself and your profession. Which, ultimately, isn’t that the whole point of experience?
- Freelance: I don’t care what you do, there is someone on Craigslist that could use your help. Maybe they don’t want to pay for it, but they need help. I remember doing this when I was putting together my advertising portfolio—I created ads that I commissioned myself to create. No one made me do it and I certainly didn’t get paid to do it. But at the end of it, I had some experience and some ads to show. The more you do it, the sooner you can graduate to paying gigs. Trust me, they’re out there.
- Events: Whether you’re a copywriter, an interior designer, or a lawyer, there are always events to attend to. They may be boring and you may hate them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Especially if you aren’t “in the biz” yet. Go to all the events a person that has the job/position you’re after would go to. The trick is to basically live how they live and do what they do—even if you’re only simulating it. That also counts for experience. Oh and don’t just stand there with a drink in your hand—talk to people.
If you want to gain valuable experience, it’s all about practice. Blogging, freelancing, and going to events all comes down to practicing—you have to pretend to be the person with the position or job you want. Why? Because if you do all the things that they would do, you’re getting that experience that you’re missing.
Why do you think I started this blog? I know it works—I got my current job thanks to the writing I’d done on The Writer’s Coin.
Now you go out there and do the same and stop complaining that your boss never “gives you a shot.” Make your own shots as you go.
Image by jasontheaker
This post has been included in the Carnival of Pecuniary Delights over on Wisebread. Make sure to check it out!