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  • Brian Burns

How to get Job Experience without having the Job?


We know, everybody always comes up with the experience excuse, and it's legitimate. You don't have any experience with the thing that you want to do or the job that you want to get or that particular skill. And um, I think it's a lot more of an excuse that it is a reason. If you're going to experience, you can do it today pretty much on anything. Uh, no matter what, you got to believe that if you showed up someplace, and you said, hey, I'll come in and our work, ah, whatever amount of time for free, all I ask in return is just for some feedback, some advice, some guidance, and there, boom, you've got some experience, and that might seem crazy.


You might not have time for that, or you go and do it on your own. Get on the Internet, watch as much as she can. Maybe take an online course, maybe read some books, listen to some books, listen to some podcasts, read some blogs that the days of the experience, excuse, um, are over. I'm sorry, you know, you got to ask yourself, what's stopping me from doing that? Can't I get to believe you? You approach any business owner, and you're willing to give them a reasonable amount of time in a day, a week, uh, or every other week and exchange for just them showing you the way, giving you some advice, giving you some guidance, given you some introductions, some connections. And if you hear about all of these people in like, you know, these crazy dream jobs, they, they typically did these stupid little internships sometimes for free, and it costs them money because they had to pay to park.


They had to pay to get there. They have to eat. It's not, you know, it's free for the person getting the work and the work. They typically don't give you anything that does, that has any real great experience. But what you do get is that connection, that understanding that conversation with people that are doing it. Um, my experience, it's a story was the first time I got into a high tech job as a, you know, kind of a, nobody goes for a tester of software now. Now you've got to understand, I, I barely knew how to type A. I had, I bought a little computer way back when bought a typing an application and literally all night long I would teach myself how to type on this little radio shack color computer that I spent all the money I had on because I knew it was the future.


I knew I had no; I had no ability, I had no skill at it. I had, um, a curiosity. I had desired. I had um, ambition, right? But I wasn't like a math guy in school. I did terrible in math. I did awful in English, but I knew it was the future. I knew it was; it was all over. Um, you know, where I was growing up in Boston area, you'd open up the one ads, and there'd be, you know, 40 pages of for software engineers and one page for everybody else. So I, I knew it was a future, and I had been working as a shipping and receiving guy at a manufacturing company where I talk to programmers, became friends with programmers and they were like, yeah, you should get into it. It's cool man, you know, and I saw what they did, and I didn't understand it, and I'd, I just asked you how did you get started?

And it goes out. It's a start, you know, and I took a couple of computer courses at night school, and they were like cobol. They were like so old. They were talking the very bits and bytes, and they were semi-worthless honestly, compared to what, what is available today.


There's no excuse. But anyway, ah, then I was working as a, you know, basically, uh, uh, you know, a sales guy over the phone and going to visit businesses, selling sign material. There's the vinyl that they would cut out and make those vital signs that they put on on doors. And I was selling that material. I'm mostly door to door from business to business. I'm not business to consumer, but what I showed this first VP that I got an interview with at the first technology company where I was going to be a test or I didn't have, I showed them, you know, the, you know, I bought this color computer.


He loved that idea. He loved the initiative. He loved the sense of passion for it. And then I showed him how I came up with the strategy of selling the sign equipment material and how I beat my competition because we basically went to the same manufacturer, and it was not branded, but the identical material and I could prove this to my customers and we sold it for half the price and basically eliminated our competitors and took over the territory and it turned into a real business later on. And he just loved that idea. This guy was a Ph.D. out of MIT and Ah, you know, with a pedigree. And here I was this, you know, night school student at the time, probably only a sophomore. And I wanted this job so bad. It wasn't a good job. It was a terrible job. Was running tests on someone else's software all day and trying to figure out the bugs and stuff, but I did it, and I worked my way up, and within two years I was one of the top engineers there.

I was the guy that was like pulling apart the program, optimizing it over the weekend and it wasn't because I was, I wasn't smarter than anybody there, you know, I just, I was more creative, probably more dedicated. I put in a lot more hours, you know, there were a couple of nights where I slept at the office because I lived 50 miles away and the place I lived at wasn't much better than my office, but the experience thing, it's like you guys got to, you know, I hate the hustle and grind thing because it's not just that. It's a smart part of it. It's the cognitive, creative thinking part of it and doing it. And if you couple that with the hustle and grind because you got to run in the right direction to get there. If you're running in the wrong direction, it doesn't matter how fast you run; you're going to get there.


So it was this combination of smart and hard and that's, and not letting the experience thing getting the way because from that job I move to a better job, then I'll hop to a better job and then, then I got into sales and then it was just unbelievable. I just could not believe in. People could not think that, uh, that was possible. And it wasn't, it was a lot of timing, right? Because it was, you know, technology was taking off at the time, uh, the demand for people and then a demand for, you know, people who are willing to figure things out and do the stuff that nobody wanted to do and, and travel and learn new things and to be able to communicate ideas and differentiators was in high demand. But I, I kinda did it, you know, and when I heard other people with you know, better degrees, a better upbringings, better opportunities, and people going back to school because they haven't found themselves and, and just trying to take two more years of reading books about other people's lives, I, I, I think you just have to, if you want to experience, start and start little start consistent, do what every day.


Find a way, give and give and give, and eventually it does come back, but match up that find the right direction and then run towards that direction. Don't just run and don't wait to be discovered. Thanks for listening. I hope this has been helpful. I appreciate everybody was telling everybody about the career advice podcast. I'd love to hear some other people's questions. Anybody wants to come on, I'd like to talk about your story, either that you're going through, you've been through, or you want to start, talk to you soon. Check me out the Career Advice PodCast.


Thanks! Brian


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