Experience Before Work? How To Solve Chicken or Egg Career Problems

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Here’s a question on “how to get the experience neccessary for career advancement opportunities!” from a professional who has an MBA in Information Security.

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The question … How Do I Advance My Career?

I have been in IT for a number of years.

I have a BS in Electronics Management and two years ago received my MBA in Information Security with a 3.85 GPA.

I also have several Microsoft and CompTIA certifications.

Despite my background and education, I am unable to advance or gain additional experience.

I am currently employed and there are no advancement opportunities available. Any suggestions?

The Answer … How Do I Get Experience?

Scott, this’s the classic “chicken vs. egg, which comes first” situation facing many professionals.

You want to advance to the next level in your career but you can’t find employment or career advancement opportunities because you lack the required experience!

Yes, you can’t get the required experience because no-one wants to hire you without it … what a dilemna!

How to Overcome the Classic Chicken or Egg Which Comes First Problem!

  1. Set clear and specific goals:

    First you must be clear on the goals you want to achieve in your career.

    What type of jobs or careers represent career advancement opportunities for you?

    Do you want to be a consultant, a freelancer, or a manager?

    What sort of industry or skill do you want to specialize in?

  2. Don’t be vague … specialize in an Industry:

    Clarity is critical for career advancement.

    Clarify your goals or vision by choosing specific industries to learn or master.

    Do you want to specialize in the Information Security industry or do you want to specialize in the Information Technology industry? These are two different considerations.

  3. Become a leader by solving problems:

    You’ve chosen a specific industry and now you have to choose the problems within the industry which you are interested in solving!

    That’s how you start building up your experience. You don’t really need a job to get experience and advance your career. You just need to be pro-active enough and you’ll get what you want!

Don’t Limit Yourself By Thinking In A Box

There are career advancement opportunities in every profession! If you can’t see them, then you’re probably thinking within a box!

Educational Qualifications Are Not Enough:

You’re expecting too much from your educational qualifications because your MBA, BS and IT Certifications are just enough to get you a job.

To advance in your career, you have to use your education by identifying and solving problems in your industry or profession.

That’s how you get better career advancement opportunities.

For example, if you want to become a CEO, you need to solve problems facing CEOs. You aren’t likely to get a CEO job through a certification or an MBA. You’re more likely to get a CEO job by working in roles that require CEO skills!

If you want to be an Information Security consultant, then you need to identify the sorts of problems facing Information Security professionals and start solving them. It’s really that simple!

Market your Competencies Better:

Assuming that you understand what I’ve been saying about identifying and solving industry problems proactively, the next thing you need is to tell people about them!

You need to look into using PULL vs. PUSH techniques for marketing your competencies, skills and expertise.

Work on your branding and positioning so others will recognize your value and seek you out!

I recommend that you read my post titled “Become a Leader And Get The Job You Want” for more information on solving industry problems and positioning your career using PULL vs. PUSH techniques.

Scott, I hope I answered your questions. Please let me know if you need additional clarification and I will be glad to provide it for you.

2 Responses to "Experience Before Work? How To Solve Chicken or Egg Career Problems"

  1. Dania (Istanbul, Turkey)   April 16, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I cant work in my field (business analysis) because all of the companies want experience!

    I dont have experience cause no one gives me the chance to have experience in this field

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  2. JOHANNA   November 5, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I am 33yrs old with a BSc in Real estate managament I have only 6months experience as property manager and I have been trying to get into the industry since I completed my degree last year.

    I need advice on how to get into data analysis or business analysis field relating to REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS I want to make my self an expert in this field but I am uncertain how to go about making this a reality.

    I look forward to your candid advice.

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