Does Your Previous Work Experience Turn Employers Off?
Have you ever wondered how to apply for jobs that are related to your major but don’t have anything to do with your previous work experience?
If so, you’re not alone. I’m going to teach you a concept that’ll not only help you gain more control and popularity in your job interviews, but it will also help you avoid looking like every other clueless candidate that walks in through their door.
I call this concept, “Experience Alignment”.
So first things first, what is Alignment anyway? If you visit Wikipedia.org, it’ll define Alignment as the adjustment of an object in relation with other objects. So in other words Alignment means to “line up”.
Well in the context of interviewing and getting hired, “Experience Alignment” means to align your previous work experience with the kind of relevant experience that your prospective employer is looking for.
For example, if you want to work for a marketing firm, and your studying sales and marketing in college, but the only kind of experience you have is a part-time job being an insurance intern for 2 years, what do you think would be going on in the head of the hiring manager who’s interviewing you?
Do you think they’re going to see you as being very aligned with wanting to be in the marketing industry? What do you think you’d ideally like to see from a candidate?
Maybe someone who’s had some work experience in the field of marketing perhaps? Even if the position was an unpaid volunteer position for a non-profit marketing organization, wouldn’t you think that would look better than having work experience in a totally unrelated field? Or even worse, no experience at all?
“So how can I get my experience Aligned?
STEP 1: Take a look at your past experience and ask yourself, “Is there anything I can salvage from my already existing work experience?”
So if we take the example above, and lets say you happened to help your insurance employer hand out some flyers to unsuspecting people at a busy intersection to build a little local brand awareness. On your resume, you may want to consider putting an emphasis on the ”marketing” experience you gained instead of talking about answering phones or pushing insurance papers…
Are you following me?
You want to stay in alignment. Once you’ve broken down all of your existing previous work experience, and sucked all of your relevant experience dry, you’ll want to move on to the next step…
STEP 2: Focus on GETTING MORE EXPERIENCE… in your field of study.
I know. Painfully obvious isn’t it? But why don’t people ever do anything about this? Well for one, people will always gravitate towards the path of least resistance. Its just human nature. On one hand it might SEEM like it requires a lot of effort. But in reality its not all that difficult. It just requires a little WILL POWER and MOTIVATION.
I remember a few years ago, I had a friend in college who I gave this advice to and he was like, “Yeah, but that sounds like a lot of work… Maybe I’ll get to it someday in the future…” And low and behold, a few house parties later, he had completely drank away any memory about this advice and never did anything different. He just continued on with his life, totally unaware that his experience wasn’t aligned, and he dug himself deeper and deeper until one day he found out he’d have to move back in with his parents and give up his freedom for an entire year all because he didn’t have any relevant experience regardless of his major.
So if you don’t want that kind of future for yourself, ask yourself this, “What can I do to start getting more relevant experience?”
If you’re drawing a blank, how about switching part-time jobs if you’re currently employed? There’s some food for thought… Other things you might want to try are volunteering at industry-held charities or attending an event held by industry associations.
Think for a moment and try to come up with a list of some of your own ideas.
Once you’ve made your list, you can move onto the final step…
STEP 3: Get off your butt and TAKE ACTION.
Depending on how bad you want the job… this can be a walk in the park, or it can be like pulling teeth with pliers if you’re not 100% committed to getting a job RIGHT NOW. My advice? Get outside of your comfort zone and implement at least 1 item from your list TODAY! If you start CHANGING YOUR BEHAVIORS by actually doing something different than what you’ve been doing in the past, I guarantee you’ll start seeing result IMMEDIATELY.
So in the comments area below, let everyone know what YOUR experience has been, and maybe we can all help each other get some Alignment on our job search.