So what do you do when you have no experience in the job you want? Where do you even start?
First off, whether you realize it or not, you most likely actually do have some great experience! It’s going to be the transferable stuff. The transferable skills you already do, the stuff you already know, the backbone to really any position, anywhere.
Where do you start if you're sitting there you're looking at job description that you’re crazy excited about but you've never done before? First off you’re going to need to research the job. You need to go a little deeper though, not just the job descriptions you're currently looking at, but what types of companies hire this position? What fields is this position in? What type of projects does this position work on.
You need the broader bigger picture of this particular role - more than just one description from one company. Once you’ve really researched it, you’ll know the types of places it exists and what it does.
Next, you're going to want to research the people who have the job right now because most of the job descriptions out in the world very rarely, actually convey accurately, everything that someone would do in a position so you're going to want to hit LinkedIn. It’s a great place to start researching people who have the job that you want.
You can view their background and their skills. Where did they come from? What has led them to having this job now? What is it that their job description, on LinkedIn says that they do on a day-to-day basis?
Most likely if you had five people with the same title, even in the same field, they're going to be doing different tasks - so take a look at people who are actively doing it and see what they describe their job description as because what they put out there in the world (as their description) is what they feel is the most important aspects of their job.
Now, take the job descriptions you've looked at and take the real world examples from these people's profiles and create a list of skills required for that position. Don't worry about if you have a particular skill or not, or that every single person does it, just create a big list of all the skills all the tasks all the type of work that this position entails.
This list now needs to be broken up into two sections. You’re going to break this into a list of transferable skills, things that you already have: these might be your management training, it might be your problem solving, it also might be a very technical thing that you happen to know for whatever reason, and then you’re going to be left with a list of the skills that you don’t have… yet.
Take that list of all of the skills that you need to acquire, and rank them in order of importance. If it’s just a small little piece of proprietary software that you found at one company, that's something you can learn when you get there, if it is a core functionality of the role and everyone has it except for you, that's the thing you're going to need to learn.
Maybe it is just learning some other types of software maybe it is some sort of training program you need to take. Maybe you need to get a certificate or maybe you just need to take a couple of courses. With online learning now, this does not mean you have to go back to school, really for anything.
Whatever the list is - you just need to make a plan to acquire those skills, so you want to rank them from the most important down to the small little ones and outline a plan to get the skills
At the same time you're out there acquiring the skills, you want to start networking into this job. Reach out to the people you researched and ask them to chat with you about how they got to where. Let them know that you are really interested in doing what they're doing and ask what advice they can they give you. What do they feel is most important? Start asking your network if they know anywhere that is hiring for this position or if there is any type of project work you can take on - freelance on the side.
You don't want to wait to acquire all the skills you need and then set out to network or start your job search because then you’ll be starting cold. If you network and learn at the same time, once you're ready to roll - you will have a job in hand!
What do you focus on while networking (since you don’t have the experience yet?) this is where all your transferable skills come back in to play. Remember you're not starting fresh. You worked. You gained experiences. You've gained knowledge. You know how to work with people, with teams, using skills you can take with you to your new role. This is your footing when you're networking.
You're not a complete noob - you're coming into this as a professional person who's just looking to do a new type of task.
As you acquire the other skills you need, you can start peppering those into your networking, but don't negate your past experience and full roster of transferable skills. Just to recap:
Research the job
Define the skills needed
Create a plan to learn the non-transferrable skills that you don’t have yet
When you're done with these steps you’ll have all the experience you need to get the job and get the real world experience. I've got every faith in you. If you have any other advice for people who are looking to take on a new role and feel that they have no experience, let me know in the comments. I would love for you to join the conversation!
Yours in career goodness-
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