So one of the biggest lies I ever believed in the early days of my career as a marketing professional, and later a banker, was that without having the requisite number of years of Experience I could not get a senior level position. Sadly, I took this idea with me into my consulting and coaching practice, and that prevented me from going after certain high level projects because I felt I did not have the required number of years of industry experience. This article will teach you what I wish I had learned- How to get a job with no experience.
𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠.
It wasn’t until I was having coffee with a former HR executive that I got the profound shift in insight.
You see, whether you’re looking to work mostly with corporate as I have over the last 10 years, or you’re looking to work more with individual clients, the reality is both sets of clients want the same thing: 𝙍𝙀𝙎𝙐𝙇𝙏𝙎.
Clients want to be sure that you had the 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙚 deliver the results they needed. The issue is that, somehow, over the years, the number of years you spent doing a particular set of tasks was the primary indicator of expertise.
And so it has remained for decades, if not centuries.
During my conversation with the HR executive, she shared with me that many interviews, candidates without the requisite professional experience out performed those with the experience. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲.
What I learned that One could have 25 years of professional experience doing something, or in an industry, and still not make the kind of impact as one who just came into the field 8 months ago.
Experience is certainly valuable as far as career growth is concerned, but is not, and should not be THE litmus test for giving or taking an opportunity to enter a new company or a new industry.
𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞, 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐂-𝐒𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐉𝐨𝐛 𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐚 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐧𝐝. 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐬.
The question you may now be asking is, How does one gain expertise, let alone demonstrate it in the absence of experience?
Well, work experience is certainly one way to build expertise; but it is NOT the only.
As a coach, I’ve helped my clients secure jobs and contracts, they otherwise thought they were not qualified for using my IISP approach. And the best part is, they perform the hell out of themselves, often attract bonuses and recognition much, much sooner.
What does IISP represent?
This is where you get to dive deep into your target’s business or nonprofit operations. Here you research the hell out of our target. You make sure to uncover their major pain and what they believe the solution to their pain is.
When organizations face internal challenges, they first attempt solving those challenges without investing in any additional human capital – be it full time or contract. When that initial attempt doesn’t work, that’s when they look elsewhere.
During the immersion stage, you want to find out what they’ve tried before, and what their outcome was. Finally, make sure to identify the distinction between the result they seek, and the approach they think will get them that result. As you can tell by now, the Immersion stage requires you to exercise some serious James Bond/CIA intelligence skills. With a bit of professional networking and social listening don right, you can get the information you seek
INNOVATION & SIMULATION
By now, you’ve identified what the desired result is that your target company seeks. You’ve also identified what they think the approach should be in attaining the result. In the Innovation stage,
You now begin to consider alternative approaches to getting the desired result. Many organizations don’t consider all their available options, especially with all the options technology presents.
With your knowledge of the desired pains your target company has, you can investigate alternative solutions that could create the desired results or better. To do this, I help my clients apply what’s known as First Principles Thinking. The concept of First Principles was first introduced by Aristotle:
In a book by TH Irwin (Aristotle’s First Principles) Aristotle describes the concept as follows:
“In every systematic inquiry (methodos) where there are first principles, or causes, or elements, knowledge and science result from acquiring knowledge of these; for we think we know something just in case we acquire knowledge of the primary causes, the primary first principles, all the way to the elements. It is clear, then, that in the science of nature as elsewhere, we should try first to determine questions about the first principles.
The naturally proper direction of our road is from things better known and clearer to us, to things that are clearer and better known by nature; for the things known to us are not the same as the things known unconditionally (haplôs). Hence, it is necessary for us to progress, following this procedure, from the things that are less clear by nature, but clearer to us, towards things that are clearer and better known by nature.”
In effect, what he was saying is that he starts with beliefs that are known to him and then work backwards to find the underlying truths those beliefs are built on. It is this type of process that leads to the discovery of first principles I.e, ‘the first basis from which a thing is known’. This was the principle Elon Musk used in creating SpaceX.
In securing a high level job or a contract, we use first principle thinking to thoroughly assess the paint point in relation to the desired result. And then we begin to think backward up to the first possible event that could have led to that pain point.
Let’s imagine that your target is experiencing the problem of increased sales but also increased expenses which means stagnant profits. The decision has been made that sales team members are not productive enough which is why the company has had to hire more sales staff. The CEO has decided to increase the quota of the sales and production team members, and placed a halt on new hiring. The company is now seeking a new VP for Operations or Consultant to help put the right systems in place for increased sales and production.
A person with many years of professional experience will likely attempt to showcase their years of experience in similar capacities thereby proving their ability to take the regular analytical approach, and come in guns blazing with new tools and systems aimed at increasing productivity at the sales and production levels. This might be successful leading to an extra 1 million dollars in profits for that business.
But what if you, without the required years of professional experience could provide a more profitable alternative?
By using First Principles, you will ask a series of questions beginning with where the company is, and going all the way back to where the problem began. You would then discover the true cause of the problem, and simulate different approaches, and using simple models, determine the more profitable and time saving approach. And with this, you might find that the real solution is not in introducing higher quotas but something completely different. Maybe it’s in changing one or two of your suppliers. In the end you are able to show the CEO how S/he can add an extra 6 million to their bottom line with your help. This, despite not having required years of experience, but clearly demonstrating expertise.
This is straightforward. You simply decide how you want to present your alternative to the company. I’ve used printed material often. I outlined my entire process, including assumptions, simulation results, models, and findings. This report if you will can be published as a softcover booklet, or developed into a Prezi or PowerPoint presentation I prefer the booklet with would be bound nicely at a local copy shop, and couriered to the CEO with a cover letter NOT applying for the job or consultancy, but CHALLENGING their approach, and offering your alternative. This would lead to a meeting between you and the CEO, followed by a higher level negotiation.
Is it possible that you would do all that and still not get hired for the position or offered the project? Although highly unlikely, yes it is possible. But if that happens, you still walk away more confident, having further increased your level of expertise.
You can simply remove identifying information from that report, tweak a few things here and there,
and have a small book ready for sale on Amazon both in Soft copy and on Kindle. This now further positions you in the eyes of at least 100 other CEO s who may reach out to you directly.
So, the next time you see an opportunity you want to go for, do not let your lack of the required years of experience prevent you from going for it; instead, think of how you could use the IISP approach to leverage that opportunity.
And if you have the required years of experience, but want to stand out from the competition, you can also use my IISP approach to leave your competition in the dust.