#3 Success Principle: When It Comes To Experience, Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Part 6 of 19 in the Series: Success Principles
Beggars Can't Be Choosers
Beggars Can't Be Choosers

One of the bigger issues facing IT professionals is: “the challenge of building experience“.

This challenge exists because employers still require experience for hiring, even when you need their jobs to build experience!

It’s the classic Catch-22: “chicken or egg which came first challenge” that may be solved through internships or full-time jobs.

However, internships are getting increasingly competitive (Read More …) and employers are still insisting on handson experience before making job offers.

Why Internships Are Hard To Get

For a while, internships helped provide the missing handson experience to IT professionals learning new skills or transitioning careers.

Now internships are hard to come by because employers are refusing the burden of hiring or managing interns. And here is the reason why:

  1. Productivity: interns need to be managed by experienced employees meaning that productive time will be lost to employers.

    Productive time is lost when experienced workers have to show interns the ropes, supervise or assign work to them.

  2. Risk: employers are unwilling to invest in interns because they are more likely to fail at completing their assigned tasks or duties.

    There is also the added risk of redoing the work done by interns when it fails to meet expectations!

  3. Money: employers hesitate to pay interns because there aren’t sure of the immediate economic benefits and they refuse to hire unpaid interns because unpaid interns also cost money and time to supervise or train!

How To Build Experience From Scratch … Without A Job

The challenge facing those that fixate on getting experience through internship programs or full time jobs is that of becoming stumped … when they can’t get either.

Really, when it comes to getting experience, the key is to stay flexible, creative or open minded because full-time jobs and internship programs are getting harder to come by.

How To Build Experience From Scratch By Keeping An Open Mind

  • Focus on Smaller Projects: don’t fixate on finding big projects because you are more unlikely to get big project exposure with little or no experience.

    Start with smaller projects first, because that is where your current background, skills or experience is likely to be needed or appreciated.

  • Build Up Experience Gradually: don’t expect to get a ton of experience in a short time. Instead, spread your efforts at building experience over a longer period of time.

    Overtime, the cumulative effect of all your project based work will begin to show and you will be rewarded for your hard work.

  • Don’t Fixate on Money: don’t be too picky about your income when you’re still building up your experience because the ticket to getting paid more money is more experience!

    Start by building your experience first and then work towards a better compensation afterwards!

  • Don’t Think Too Highly of Yourself: don’t be looking down on smaller projects because you’re thinking they’re beneath you and don’t be fretting over the size of your role, task or opportunity either!

    Always put your best foot forward and build up your experience at every turn. Because that is how to ensure that you qualify for bigger projects or even a full time job!

  • Stay Flexible, Creative and Open Minded: be on the lookout for experience building opportunities that don’t fall under traditional internship or full-time jobs.

    For example, you may signup for unpaid, volunteer work or start your own consulting business (yes, you can consult on almost any subject) or register for Hands On IT Career Training (click here for more information)

Expect that you will always be learning new skills or transitioning careers because of the constantly changing face of technology.

Understand that staying open minded will help you discover more ways to build handson experience without a job or an internship program.




One Response to "#3 Success Principle: When It Comes To Experience, Beggars Can’t Be Choosers"

  1. Paul Sheffer   January 8, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Productivity: interns need to be managed by experienced employees meaning that productive time will be lost to employers.
    Productive time is lost when experienced workers have to show interns the ropes, supervise or assign work to them.

    This is only very partially explained because the return for invested effort is greater than the sum of the combined effort to train vs reward to be gained. “P Sheffer”

    Productive time is not lost when wisely invested in training interns to perform rudimentary tasks. An ongoing training model ensures that from the first moment the intern finds a channel along which to contribute productive energy.

    Models exist to manage the time of the senior executive to ensure optimal delivery of content and training to fresh interns.

    Any group of people experiences four stages of coming together as a productive work group. Forming, Storming, Norming and Conforming. ref… elsewhere, to quote as for reference.

    As a new intern is inducted to the team they must be instructed appropriately for a managed period of time.. for example 20 minutes a day every hour and forty minutes for the first 3 days. This addresses the ‘storming’ stage: a short intense period where lines of communication are established, work roles clarified, work tasks allocated, assigned or commissioned – depending on the organisation’s policy for information forwarding… paraphrased PDS.

    Each work period following a structured Role Education Program (REP) is succeeded by a period of activity by the intern starting with the last instruction from the senior. For example, the senior instructs on the filing system in use in the file office and how to cross-reference one card with another. Immediately before terminating the meeting the senior instructs the intern to process a pile of unsorted cards.

    Whether or not the task is completed the intern returns to the senior for further instruction and either opts to accept a new assignment or continue with the previous task. The intern also may be required to multi-task or prioritise the tasks to hand to address a more important though lesser duration activity.

    Naturally the text would continue and having come this far you may be interested in making me an offer…

    Kind regards,
    Paul Sheffer

    P.S. In case you missed it, read the last line before the salutation! That’s the P.S.

    P.P.S. To receive the intended message of this email, read it word for word.. there’s only 723 words not including this PPS or what most readers would need about 3 minutes to fully understand. It’s worth it.

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