I get this question a lot.
"Where do I start? If I have no experience in ________ field how will I ever find a job or career in that industry?"
Whether you're a first-year student, senior, changing majors, or finished school altogether, these 5 steps will help you get started.
1) Informational Interviews
An informational interview is a one-on-one, Q&A session between you, the interviewer, and someone who currently works in your desired industry. These are gems. They're relatively easy set up and allow you to get access to industry insights, while networking with people already in the field. Informational Interviews can take place in person or by phone and usually last less than an hour. Be sure to have your questions ready before the interview and to focus on gathering information and not asking for a job or internship.
2) Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer
Find an organization doing similar or related work, in need of your skills. Volunteer the skills or labor you possess in exchange for the skills and knowledge you would like to learn.
3) Do Your Research!!
Whatever field you're trying to get in to, throw yourself into learning everything you can about that industry. Follow relevant blogs, companies, and leaders in that field. Subscribe to their platforms, read their books, go to their conferences and events. Learn about trends in the industry and get a sense of where your interests lie within that field.
If awkwardly milling around in a room full of strangers, hoping to make a connection, makes you sweat. Congratulations, you're not alone. For many people connecting to others through formal networking events is a bit of a challenge. While these are still necessary at times, try working on building relationships. Focus less building transactional relationships and more on building authentic connections. This can be engaging in group activities with folks with similar interests; meeting for lunch or coffee with a co-worker or classmate; volunteering, or offering your skills or expertise to help someone else on their goals.
5) Use LinkedIn
I still have a hard time convincing some students why they need to be on LinkedIn. For the previous steps that I've mentioned LinkedIn is HUGE! LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to connect to other practitioners in the field, find volunteer opportunities, learn more about your chosen industry, and build connections with other like-minded individuals. They have tons of resources available on how to get started.
Have you had to break into an industry with no experience? Leave your comments below and let us know how you did it. You can also head over to our Facebook page.
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