I was speaking with a friend recently. He interns for a law firm and recently finished school. Passing the bar is the “next step” then he’s supposed to get hired by this form, or another. Problem is… this firm needs someone with more experience. That seems to be the case a lot.
Company: I’m looking for someone with more experience
Applicant: I’m trying to get experience but you won’t hire me
Company: Yea… still need someone with more experience
The company is in the better position than the applicant because there’s a billion applicants. So how do you become the one applicant out of 1000 that gets the job? The answer is of course, NOT doing what everyone else is doing. You have to stand out among 1000 people. So how do you do that? Here’s a few ideas…
Give up “education” and get experience instead.
Since they want experience, give them what they want. It seems simple but it’s AMAZING how many people in their mid 20’s use grad school as a way to hide. If the employer is saying “we need someone with more experience,” then why are you going back to school? If we go to grad school and it still doesn’t work, we’ll have someone else to blame. Maybe still not be where we want to be, but at least it’s not our fault. If I gave advice to an 18 year old graduating high school right now, go to college would likely last on the list. Get experience, travel, read, write. Those are probably at the top.
Do free work
This might be the best way to stand out. If they won’t pay you, then do it for free. Offer to work free for 1 month, and do all the shit work no one wants to do. At the end of the month when it’s time for you to leave, they’ll say “Shit, I don’t want to start doing this again. Why don’t I pay you $15 an hour to keep going?” Now you’ve got your start 🙂
Be of value to the person making the decision
One mistake people make is providing value to all the wrong people when they’re trying to get into a company. The only person that you really need to prove your worth to is the decision maker. My friend at the law firm told me he’s been killing it for all these associates, and they all love him. Then the partner said “we’re looking for someone with more experience.” He was pleasing all the wrong people.
Stop doing what you’re told
This is by far the most difficult. But also the most valuable. To put it another way, solve problems that haven’t been solved. If you’re taking instructions on what you need to do next each week, then you are not valuable. Anyone can take instructions and execute, especially computers. Value is created by the people who make the instructions, not the ones who follow them. This, ironically, is what more school sucks away from us, our ability to creatively solve problems.