Expertise but No Experience
You may be pivoting into a new area where you have a lot of expertise from that Master’s degree you just attained, you have life skills or maybe you have studied the topic on the side and now you want to apply it. Your problem is you have not a lot of real-world experience.
Every job description you read says it requires 3 years of experience in the topic area that you have expertise in but no experience.
So how do you demonstrate your expertise when you have no experience? How do you get hiring managers to take notice and give you a chance?
The idea for this post came from the Problogger Podcast episode #247 called 247: How To Create A Blog On A Topic You’re Not An Expert In.
The theme of this podcast aligns perfectly with how you demonstrate your expertise when you have no experience.
Note: This post was originally published in May of 2018 and then update in August of 2020.
Show Me Don’t Tell Me You Know Your Stuff
When you have minimal or no experience you will need to demonstrate in some form that you know your stuff. In my post, How Do I Know That You Know Your Stuff? I show a number of ways for you to be able to do this but this post, I am going to focus on creating a blog.
Darren Rowse aka Problogger describes are eight different kinds of content you can create but I am going to discuss six of them:
- Personal stories
- Case studies
- News items
- Curated content
- Research results
Let me take you through each category and give you some examples.
Darren asks “What can you witness to?”
For those of us in the 2nd half of life, we have a wealth of experience. Write about your personal experiences.
When I started Career Pivot I wrote a 31-part series on how I made my six career pivots. I had no credentials, formal education or training in a career change or pivoting.
I wrote about my personal experiences. By the way, I have deleted most of that series as with most bloggers, my early posts were not very good.
However, I have written a whole series of posts on my failures. Check out:
I take you on my career journey and it has not always been pleasant. My readers have told me they most relate to this kind of content.
Tell us about your journey to get to where you are today. Telling the world about your journey demonstrates your expertise.
What are other people doing? Case studies are a great way to demonstrate your expertise.
Find a topic in your area of expertise and write a critique. A gentleman in my Career Pivot online community (you can learn more about this project by clicking here), is working on making a pivot into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) industry. Just last week he contacted a VR podcaster and asked if he could help him with his podcast. Last week he was on an episode where he discussed with the podcast host the features of one of the hot new VR headsets. After I finished listening to the episode, my only reaction was “wow this guy knows his stuff.”
You could write a review of a book. Find a book in your area of expertise and write a thoughtful review. A good example of this is on this blog Prepare Now to be Healthy and Happy in Old Age [Book Review] where Pam Willenz reviewed Joy Loverde’s book, “Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age”.
Interviews to Demonstrate Expertise
I know, I know you are thinking who would let me interview them? You would be surprised at how many times I am approached for an interview of one kind or another and if it is easy enough, I usually will say ‘yes.’
Darren Rowse tells the story of Michael Stelzner who runs the mega-conference Social Media Marketing World and created the website Social Media Examiner. In the beginning, Michael would just show up at conferences with a video camera and approach speakers for a short interview. He looked polished and professional so that speakers usually said ‘yes.’ In reality, Michael did not know a lot about social media. He was still learning but he was able to produce a lot of great material that gained him credibility.
I told the story of Daniel Elizalde in the post, Changing Industries to Smart Grid about how Daniel interviewed influencers in the smart grid industry to gain credibility. Daniel has since moved on but the visibility and the knowledge he gained have proved invaluable.
He repeated his strategy with his next pivot with a podcast to demonstrate his expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena. Daniel is now a Vice President for Errisson, head of the IoT for North America. Daniel had a lot of expertise and used his IoT Product Leadership podcast.
You can listen to Daniel tell his story on the Repurpose Your Career Podcast episode How to Pivot Industries Using a Blog and a Podcast [Podcast].
Another good example is my good friend Jim Peacock with Peak Careers. Jim regularly interviews career thought leaders via video conferencing. He records the interview, uploads it to his YouTube channel, and creates blog posts with the videos embedded.
You can write about events, new products, technology innovations, or anything else that makes news in your area of expertise. Do not just write about what is happening but interject your opinions and thoughts. The point here is to demonstrate your expertise, so you will have to put yourself out there which can open you up for criticism.
One of the members of the Career Pivot community, David Jenkins, has created PLACESENSE – Information and discussion about the importance of placemaking and planning for our communities. David was insecure about his writing, which most new bloggers do. After taking Problogger’s Start a Blog course he found it easier, not easy, but easier to write about what others are writing and adding his opinion.
David started with list posts like his post – What I follow To Keep Learning! This is a classical list post where generates a list of websites and tells you why he recommends each.
He has progressed to posts like Reform – Start with Zoning where he makes a point and then links to reliable sources to back up the point he is making. This is a classical way to demonstrate your expertise when you have no experience.
Curate content from around the Internet on a regular basis and present it in a blog post. The best at this is my good friend Hannah Morgan aka the Career Sherpa. Hannah produces a Summary Sunday post every week where she curates career content.
Hannah has been doing this for years and has developed a lot of key relationships with others in the industry by sharing other people’s content. She creates good Karma and at the same time demonstrating expertise.
Darren suggests that you add your opinion or take the topic a little deeper.
Another option is adding embeddable content to a post. A classical example is to add a YouTube video to your material. I did this recently with my post Our Perceptions of Ourselves and Others and Their Impact where I used a video produced by Birkman International.
Research Results to Demonstrate Expertise
Did you write a thesis to get your new Masters’s degree? If so use that to demonstrate expertise.
Is there a topic that you would like to research? Go ahead, research the topic, and write a comprehensive blog post. A good example of this is my post – Strategic Networking Playbook – Who, How and When!
It was a topic that I wanted to research and then write a comprehensive article to demonstrate expertise.
Hard Work and Being Bold
This is going to be hard work and you will have to put yourself out there. You may get criticism but be willing to engage with your readers.
If you want to demonstrate your expertise you will have to be bold. Producing a blog to demonstrate your expertise is hard work.
Are there other ways to demonstrate your expertise? Sure!
All of these require hard work, being bold, and putting yourself out there.
Go ahead and demonstrate your expertise even if you have no experience.