About three years ago after suffering through ten years of miserable dead end jobs I decided to make a change. I have always been a “dreamer” and wanted more for myself. I spent the majority of my working years in the restaurant business when I fell in love with marketing and public relations. Unfortunately, how do you get started in your dream career with no experience and no degree? Here are my 4 easy tips for getting into your dream career field with no formal education or experience.
1. Work for Free
This is possibly the most important and most fruitful thing that you can do when wanting a career change. A lot of people argue that working for free is a bad idea and you are devaluing yourself. I strongly believe that if you have no experience (but you know what you are doing) this is the best way to gain experience (and references) to add to your resume. Reach out to small business owners in your community and see if they are in need of your services or check out Catchafire.org, a website that connects organizations in need with professionals looking for pro bono work. Be clear up front about what kind of work you are willing to do and the fact that you will want a reference after. Even if you are working for free you might want to consider some kind of contract.
Just because you don’t have an official degree from a university that shouldn’t hold you back! I do believe that getting a degree should be a goal for everyone but if you can’t do it now, you can use the vast free resources available online to educate yourself in your preferred field. Skillshare, Udemy, blogs, the resources of information are endless and for many careers you can learn enough on your own to get started.
Networking is the absolute best way to score a job in your desired field. If you have educated yourself, gained some experience, and have references, make sure sure that everyone around you knows your career intentions. For me personally, this is how I’ve scored most of my clients. Attend professional networking events and always have the intention of helping others. When you put this kind of energy into the world and treat people well it will always pay off and come back to you!
4. Always be on the lookout
As you are building your career, learning everything you can, and making contacts always be looking for new opportunities. For example, I work in marketing and have specialized in helping nonprofits specifically. So when I see a new local nonprofit struggling to get their website under control or not knowing what to do with Facebook I always reach out and offer to help. In another situation, I saw a small business owner complaining on Instagram about having to transcribe her podcasts so I reached out and she paid me to do it for her! Maybe they can’t afford to pay me “right now” but down the road when they get a big grant or more sales they will be sure to call me first!
I really hope these tips help you “fake it till you make it.” As long as you aren’t trying to be a brain surgeon and you aren’t lying to potential clients or employers, dream big and follow your passions! If you are working hard towards your goal and helping others, you will get your “big break” and doors will begin opening all around you.
Have you ever worked in a job you weren’t technically qualified for? What is your big dream and how will you achieve it?