I was in a seminar a few months ago sharing interview tips with a group of mature, not so competitive job seekers. Many of them were out of a job. Their skill sets that helped them to keep a job were no longer highly demanded in the job market. They needed to secure a job that they did not know if they are qualified or not. When they knew that I had changed industry and roles several times in my career, many of them asked what made my previous employer hired me when I was new and often did not possess the relevant experience and qualification. There were so many reasons I could think of but I wanted to say one point where it will apply to everybody. After a moment, I gave them the following point:
I was bold.
To say it more eloquently, I was confident about myself and took the initiative to take on the challenge. To say it more frankly, I wanted it bad enough that, like a naughty kid, I was willing to do whatever I could to secure the toy.
Let’s put it this way, if you want to secure a job that you have no experience and qualification, you need to make it to look like you have! At least you need to project the confident that you can do it and you are committed to make it happen. I know it sounds a bit too easy. Let’s take it down in more detailed steps.
- Preparation: despite that I don’t know the industry. I could research more about it. Now in hindsight, I was pretty quick in summarizing the “major requirements and deliverable” the job requires from the job seeker. This is important as it will affect your cover letter, your cv and even your confident in the subsequent action.
- Make the Sales Flyer: Once I knew about what was needed in the potential job, it was natural that I made promise in my cover letter that I would deliver certain deliverable. Once I have written down the promise it was natural that I need to write some reasons to support my promise. In doing so I was forced to think of my own advantage and strength and how to apply them to deliver my promise. So I wrote how I could achieve those with my strength and current skill sets. I would tailor made my resume to go with the flow of my cover letter. So my resume became the technical specification or appendix of the sales flyer.
- Rehearse to close deal: I often talk to myself and imagine (like of like a drama rehearsal) how good I look and act in the interview. Now, again in hindsight after many years of being a sales person, this was the very important step to win a deal.
I just said one point, didn’t I? But I have just expanded it into three points. Well, I wasn’t kidding about the one point. The three steps that I have just written all converge to one single winning element: They made me confident (or they made me bold! grin...)
The preparation forced me to think about the job and the real meaning of the job behind the fancy titles. This analytical process not only to help me to find out what’s needed to win but also helped me to keep clear about if the job was something that I really wanted. If I still had the motivation to go on to the second step, I was pretty sure that it was what I wanted. I had no doubt that I wanted the job and it was meant for me. This has a profound impact on my “boldness”.
The sales flyer preparation (the process of writing cover letter and resume) was important too. Since I did not use just one standard cover letter and resume, I had to make sure every single word aligned to the winning point (that I was the best person for the job). The rehearse step was important as I had to pretend that I was the employer to play the role of my counter part in the drama. That forced me to think of potential questions and challenges. That also forced me to see it from the recruiter’s perspective and not from the job seeker perspective.
I recall that whenever I went on interview, I was never scared. I was never really trying to win a job but to discussed how I would have worked the job and deliver my deliverables. I believe that it was these style of interview that help draw the recruiter to sometimes even think about thing that he has not thought about in relation to the job. That made me a special job seeker.
Frankly, I was not only bold but I was naïve. But it certainly help me to focus being naïve. It gave me the energy to glow in front of the recruiter.
If you are looking for a change in your career and you have no idea how to land a job that you have no relevant experience, try to follow what I have done at the time. It will help you to channel your energy from spending it on worrying to step by step building your strategy plan to win.
I wouldn’t say this is the best advice in the word about landing a job you don’t know but it’s certain one of the best that I could offer from my own experience. Hope this will help. Just sharing my two cents.