Posted by: Lauren Talley | August 13, 2009

How to get a job without having experience

Wait, what? How can I do that? Larry Stybel at the Harvard Business Review tells us it’s possible. You could be fresh out of college or newly unemployed, but Stybel tells us we can beat that old Catch-22: “You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job.” He says it takes a little “creativity and humility” and he even tells readers what he did (clinical psychology) to get to where he is now (business consulting).

I couldn’t get business experience without getting hired. I couldn’t get hired without business experience. What to do?

Stybel decided to help out an organizational psychologist who wanted to market a new product. The man had a solid idea but no money so Stybel offered his resources in return for a job title, a good reference and contacts. Although the business proved unsuccessful, Stybel’s experience landed him a job at a talent management-consulting firm.

Here’s what he says you can do:

1.      Look for a company with a great idea and no money to do it.

2.      Be specific about what you will provide. Stybel said he’d make calls and set up appointments. He didn’t say he’d generate sales because he didn’t think he could.

3.      Be specific about what you will receive. Stybel wanted a job title, references and introductions to potential employers.

4.      Be specific about time frame. Be sure your commitment doesn’t hinder your job search or present job performance.

In Stybel’s case, he willingly went from one financially unrewarding job to a new, better paid job. We at Hard Working know that won’t always work these days.  However, his tips can help you out, especially when you add social networking to the mix. The important part is that you put your best foot forward and be flexible and open to other markets.

Take a look at these people who changed fields. All three left their jobs to try something different and Alexandra Levit of the Wall Street Journal answered their career questions.

Did the recession take your career on a different path? Tell us. We want to know what you did and how you did it.


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