We often don't pursue a job unless we have experience. So how do you get a job when you don't have the experience? It's is a classic chicken and the egg problem. How do you get the experience if you don't get the job first?
Suneel Gupta offers an excellent approach to try in his book "Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take A Chance On You." He explains what Reid Hoffman (entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author, podcaster) did early in his career to become a product manager at Apple without any experience.
Instead of competing with better-qualified candidates, Hoffman tried something different. He approached James Isaacs, the head of product management, whether he would be open to looking at his ideas presented in a document.
After completing his document, Hoffman went to see Isaacs get his feedback. Though the document was not perfect, it showed to Isaacs that Hoffman had real potential. By taking a chance on Hoffman, Isaacs was now invested in Hoffman's success. And that's how Hoffman started his career in product management.
Gupta used this lesson when he was trying to get funding for his startup. Hoffman advised Gupta that when you pitch for financing, address one to issues that are problematic right upfront. Don't wait for it to come up in Q&A. If address the issues upfront and show how you plan to address them, they may be more willing to take a risk on your startup.
It worked. Gupta received funding for his startup.
So the lesson here is that when you don't have the experience, there is a lot of uncertainty that makes it easier for someone to say no. The one way to overcome this uncertainty is to point it out upfront and then do something about it that makes you less uncertain.
That is what Hoffman did that jumpstarted his career. That is what Gupta did that got him funding for his startup. That is something we can all do to get ahead in our careers, business and life.
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