How do you get experience without having any?

One of the biggest complaints that we hear from people who are attempting to break into a new position or industry is that it’s almost impossible to get a job without experience, but then – where is it you get that experience – exactly?

Taking a few (temporary) steps backward – unfortunately one of the most common things that individuals have to do in this type of situation is to literally take a few steps back in their career. Whether it’s moving back into an entry-level position or taking a salary lower than where you’d like to be – it’s much easier to move up in these positions to get to where you want to go than it is to shoot for the top. While we do still recommend trying to get the position that you want, it’s also important to be open if something else is available that would help you get your foot in the door.

Pointing out the connections – often times individuals who have been in a specific industry for any length of time cannot see the connections of your previous work experience to where you want to go. It’s important that you point these out to your potential new employer – state the “obvious” and how what you’ve done previously connects to where you want to go, why you are changing, and what you can bring to the position. This is a great thing to put in your cover letter and set the tone that you are willing to learn and that your previous experience does indeed relate. Be careful not to do over do it, there’s no need to convince here, but simply state it.

Learn the lingo –  if you want to be a duck, then you’ve got to talk like one too. Each industry has language unique to its people, not being familiar with this language and not utilizing it in your resume or your interview is a sure sign that you’re not experienced in that area.

Pull some strings – occasionally the only option to breakthrough into a new industry is to simply pull some strings. This could consist of utilizing staffing agencies or recruiters or using other backdoor tactics to getting your foot in the door. If you can build trust with an outside party, who has the trust of the hiring manager, it’s much easier to get an opportunity than trying to go at it alone.