People Get Paid to Think
People pay you to save them time, make them money, and ultimately for your thoughts. Getting an employer’s attention is the main challenge to getting any kind of job in the knowledge economy. How do you stand out amongst a sea of other competitors? How can you stand out when these candidates may be more qualified and better connected than you are?
Speaking from my experience as a marketer, I have found that the primary factor for getting a job is mainly one of presentation. The way that I approach how I present myself starts with one question, “What thoughts am I sharing that are unique to me?”
Everyone is unique and some of the ideas we have are also unique. However, that doesn’t mean that every idea we have is a good one. In order to create an impressive and presentable resume/CV/portfolio/profile that showcases your best thoughts and ideas requires experimentation. These experiments in how you present yourself can be done both in-person and online.
So let’s get specific. Let’s create a scenario for the budding marketer, which will have a lot of similarities to the average first-time knowledge worker. Suppose you are about to graduate college and you are seeking employment in an ad agency or a start-up. How do you get hired with no experience?
Finding a solution to this problem is the first challenge to tackle. The fastest solution is through using your connections. Utilize your network to find your first gig. However, this option isn’t workable for most people during the early stages of their careers. Quite often we really don’t understand the value of having a well-established network until we first start searching for our first job.
An alternative solution to, “How do you get hired with no experience?”, would be to hire yourself. Remember, as a knowledge worker you are ultimately going to get hired on your ability to think. You will be hired for your ability to use your thoughts, to save your team time and make them money. Why not try doing this for yourself first?
Now being very frank here, you shouldn’t seek to make money online or gain a million followers on a social media platform. The practice of hiring yourself is for two purposes.
- To see if you like doing the type of work that you are seeking to do.
- To get experience doing the actual work by marketing yourself, as the primary example.
The best way to measure your success when hiring yourself is by first figuring out if you are having fun. Then you must showcase what you are learning from this experiment in hiring yourself.
For the budding marketer, this can be done through content. A blog, vlog, or podcast will work. Additionally, you don’t need to make this content specifically about your craft (the job you want to be hired for). The content can be about anything.
In marketing specifically, an employer will want to see your ability to grab people’s attention. When creating something for yourself, when hiring yourself as your own marketer, consider what topics already grab your attention. As Naval Ravikant put it, “What are you obsessed with?” Start by creating content around a topic you love and then try promoting it.
You will begin to encounter the daily challenges that all businesses face. If you can figure out how to gain the attention of your own tribe, you will be able to showcase how you can do that for others.
Lastly, there is another way to gain experience when you are starting from ground zero. This approach works for anyone, especially if the idea of self-promotion puts a bad taste in your mouth. If you want to get experience, you can always become a volunteer.
Volunteering your time is the fastest way to get experience. Volunteering to do work for your local small businesses or a nonprofit, free of charge, will give you the experience you want. Also, it will show you if you like the work and it will build your network. With the three solutions mentioned: using your network, hiring yourself first, and volunteering, take note that they can also be done simultaneously!
Finding work can be hard but, it isn’t impossible. You just need to take the time to consider how your unique thoughts can make other people successful and how you can show them this, by working on your own obsession. Figure that out (or at least begin to try) and you will be well on your way to getting any job you want.
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