After searching and searching, you’ve finally found your dream job- great hours, amazing company, and the job description is EXACTLY what you want to do when you’re in the office.
You continue reading down the page, and get to the requirements section.
Experience: uh…not quite.
You immediately feel deflated and go look at other jobs. But nothing seems to match the one you found. If only it weren’t for that required experience section, you would have fit the position perfectly. Well, I’m here to tell you that the experience section doesn’t always apply, and there are ways around it.
Experience is becoming an increasingly important part of a job-seeker’s application. Employers like to see that the person they are hiring knows a little bit about what they’re doing because they’ve done it before. So what do you do if you don’t have the right type or amount of experience for your dream job?
From my experience, being proactive and reaching out is one of the best ways to overcome the experience barrier and to even get your foot in the door. Employers get tons and tons of applications for positions, so this will make you stand out for two reasons. First, it shows you really want the position. You are going above and beyond what everyone else is doing. Second, it allows them to put a face to a resume. Instead of just seeing a piece of paper with your information on it, now they see you.
There are a few different ways to go about this.
If it’s a relatively small company or startup, reach out to the CEO and Founder of the company. These people love to connect with others and mentor people. My favorite method of reaching out is by sending a message on LinkedIn. Make it brief (they are very busy people) and don’t ask for the job. Start slow. I like to start with:
I think your company is fascinating because of X,Y,Z reasons. I’m in this field and was wondering if you would sit down with me over coffee to talk about how you started the company and what led you down that path? I would love to learn more about your history and the company.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
It’s short and sweet, and shows that you’re genuinely interested in them. People love talking about themselves and their companies. Use that as a starting point to get to know them. Don’t ask for a job, or tell them straight out of the gate that you want to work there. Show your curiosity and be genuine and professional. This lets you get a sense of what the culture is like (after all, leadership typically defines the culture of an organization) as well as gets you face-to-face with the owner of the company- they carry a lot of influence in their organization.
This also shows your willingness to learn. This is a huge characteristic in any field.
Once they have accepted your request to meet, it’s time to show them who you are and subliminally make them want you as part of their company. Ask genuine questions, and learn as much as you can about them and their company. Why did they start the business or why are they in this business? Where did they start? Where were they when they were your age? What’s their vision for the company? Keep it conversational and don’t make them feel like you are only meeting with them to ask for a job.
When the conversation switches to you, and what you do, tell them about your work experience and any other interesting details about yourself. Show them how incredible you are. Don’t forget to tell them you are looking for a job switch. Describe the type of job you are looking for, and the kind of organization you want to work in. This should reflect (without directly saying it) the owner’s company. With any luck, they will ask you if you’ve thought about applying to their organization. This is your chance to explain the experience-barrier.
Since you’ve done a great job at amazing them and showing them how great of a fit you would be in their organization, it’s likely that they will pull some strings to get you in for an interview or put you in touch with the hiring manager for the job.
Now that your foot is in the door, it’s up to you to thoroughly prepare yourself to nail the interview.
What are some ways you landed your dream job without the required experience? What techniques did you use?
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, share your unique story of how you used persuasion to achieve something you weren’t qualified for. Comment below!
Dominic is a Persuasion + Business Strategist. He helps people persuade and influence other people using psychology. Get his free cheat sheet “10 influence hooks cheat sheet you can instantly use on clients, bosses, coworkers, or spouses”
Originally published at medium.com