How To Get An Amazing Job Without Much Experience
Entering the job market without industry experience is like boarding a rocket ship. You’re excited to take off, but nervous about where you’ll end up. I felt this way when I first joined Google. Like many college graduates, I didn’t have “real” work experience. But I was lucky to have mentors who taught me what I know today. Whether you’re graduating school or trying to switch industries, it’s a grueling process to land your dream job without relevant experience. But that doesn’t make it impossible. I illustrated 7 cartoons below to show how you can get hired when you don’t have enough industry experience.
1. Don’t Oversell Yourself
It’s okay to talk yourself up, but don’t oversell yourself. Employers see right through it. Be humble. Admit your shortcomings but show that you’re willing to work harder to make up for it. With this mindset, you’ll find jobs that will give you an opportunity to work your way up. For example, Ursula Burns started at Xerox as an intern. Her hard work impressed her manager and she quickly moved up the ranks. In 2009, she was named the company’s Chairman and CEO. Be like Ursula: work hard, have patience, and great things will happen.
2. Spend More Time On Yourself, Less On Your Social Media
People complain that they’re “too busy.” But are they? Consider this statistic: on average, people spend 50 minutes per day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. That’s over a day per month! I’m not suggesting you quit social media. In fact, social media can be great if you use it the right way and I’ve seen the first-hand benefits with building a community around my career-related cartoons. Rather, the key is moderation, not deprivation. Spend more time on yourself, instead. The internet is the world’s best library. If there’s something you want to learn, there’s a course, article, or video on it. All you need is the time to go through it.
3. Stop Relying On ‘Life-Changing’ Conferences
Even with all the great content out there, you have to remember: it’s not enough to consume it. You have to absorb it. Practice it. Live it. No self-help book will change your life. Nor will a single keynote speech or conference. Many of these resources promise to change your life forever! To unlock your potential! To 10X your growth! But the truth is that none of it matters unless you take action. There’s no silver bullet. Even with all the information out there, it’s up to you to implement and learn. If you do, it’ll go a long way in impressing employers. It’ll show that you’re a self-starter who is willing to learn independently.
4. Give Yourself Permission To Be Terrible
To get great you have to be terrible first. Consider how legendary comedian Chris Rock comes up with his jokes. It doesn’t magically hit him like lightning. Instead, he makes surprise appearances at local comedy clubs and tries a bunch of jokes. Most fail so horribly that he asks people to put away their phones so they can’t film it. But a few jokes click. The crowd roars. He makes a note and keeps them. He repeats this process 5 nights a week for a year. By the end, he has an hour-long HBO comedy special with only his top jokes. People see this and think it came “naturally” for Chris. But the truth is: he only succeeded because he had the courage to start failing. The same is true for job hunting. Every expert was once a rookie. You need to start somewhere to gain experience.
5. Be Sincere, Even At Networking Events
I illustrated this cartoon to show what most networking events feel like: fake and forced. I encourage you to go against that trend. Find ways to help others. Be selfless. Add value. When a job opportunity comes up, others will be more willing to reach out to you.
How much of a difference can genuine networking make? Surveys reported that 70% to 85% of all jobs are filled through referrals and networking. A perfect example is Benjamin Harris of Nickel & Dime Supplement Club, who met his founder through networking. “We started our company thanks to our friendship and common interests in health supplements,” Benjamin explained. “We were friends first and founders second. Without that initial connection, we never would have started our company together.” Authenticity goes a long way. Form friendships, not just connections. Trade life stories, not just business cards. These relationships will ultimately bring you opportunities you may not see at the moment.
6. Prepare For Tons Of Rejection
The first time I applied to Google, I was rejected. I was so distraught that I almost didn’t apply again. But I’m glad I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have ultimately got the job. It made me realize: if you’re not getting rejected then you’re not trying hard enough. It’s part of the process. Don’t take it personally. Even as you network and improve your skills, there’s no guarantee that you’ll land your most desired job.
Don’t be picky. Your first job in a new industry doesn’t have to be your dream job. It just has to get your foot in the door. When I started work at Google, I expected to stroll in and manage the sexiest projects. But reality slapped me in the face. Hard. I quickly realized: your resume may get you the job, but it doesn’t mean much afterwards. As my boss said, “You must prove yourself all over again.” So I did the dirty work. Nothing was beneath me. Three years later, I find myself leading projects meant for much older employees. So when recent graduates ask for advice, I tell them: stop dwelling on past accomplishments. Just show them. Kick ass on the task no matter how small. And soon, you’ll get to lead the bigger stuff.
It takes time and effort to find a job without industry experience. But as you use these tactics to stand out from the crowd and find new opportunities, you will land an amazing job that will help you start your career.
Originally published at forbes.com – How To Get An Amazing Job Without Much Experience by Jon Youshaei.