5 Steps for landing a new opportunity WITHOUT relevant experience

Starting over is hard to do…

especially when you already have income and expertise in your current work.

However, if you want more than just a career, but instead want to live out a true calling, starting over is sometimes in order.

I get asked about this topic so often that I’ve become the “get a new job” and “start over” coach for people in transition.

Here’s what to do in 5 simple (but not necessarily easy) steps…

5 Steps to landing a new opportunity

  1. Understand your customer’s biggest need. Whether it’s a freelance project that you are after or a new job, it’s important to recognize that this opportunity is attached to a person and that person is your customer.

    Your customer is NOT looking to give you an opportunity. She is, though, looking for a solution to a problem.

    And where problems exist for others, opportunities arise for you.
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  2. Take your experience and skills OUT OF context. Instead of convincing yourself that you do not have relevant experience or skills, identify what is relevant about them.

    Perhaps you’re a social worker looking to land a job as a sales rep at a technology company that is opening a new territory.

    You have experience communicating and persuading people, operating in a high-stress environment, juggling multiple clients and doing self-directed work.

    Forget about the fact that all of this experience and skill came in the context of social work.

  3. Position yourself as the solution to your customer’s need. Now that you have your customer’s need and a context-free picture of your experience and skills, put the two together.

    Describe yourself as the solution to your customer’s problem:

    Opening a new sales territory is difficult to do. It takes someone with grit and the ability to creatively get people’s attention in a noisy marketplace.

    Fortunately, my experience has made me a master persuader when faced with disillusioned clientele.

    I use both grit and creativity to open doors to oportunities that appear to be closed – even if I have to pry them open.

  4. Offer a FREE trial. It’s hard to say no to free labor. To get your foot in the door, offer to do the job (or a portion of a freelance project) for free to demonstrate that you are a fit.

    This shows that you are willing to shoulder more of the risk AND it makes it easy for them to say yes and make a small commitment to you.

    A person who has already given you one yes is far more likely to give you a second yes in the future.

  5. Upsell that mofo. After successfully completing your free trial, schedule a meeting with your customer to discuss “next steps”.

    Ask the customer for her feedback on your work and if she was satisfied. If the answer is yes, then say:

    From what you are telling me, it sounds like the best next step is to begin to work together on an on-going basis.

    If the answer is no, ask for a few specific things that you could improve on.

    Then, ask her if she’d be willing to serve as a resource and give you a bit of coaching as you look to find other opportunities. More than likely, she’ll say yes and be eager to help you find new opportunities as you have already given her free work.

Take Heart

It’s important to note that the hardest part of landing a new opportunity and starting over is NOT the strategy.

The hardest part is picking yourself up and starting over.

So before you get started, take the pressure off of the outcome by viewing this opportunity as the BEGINNING of something new – not your one and only chance to start over.

Starting over is a process, and people who successfully make the transition tend to take a “one-step at a time” approach.

As well, starting over is as much about the internal courage it takes to try something new as it is about the outcomes that you create in your life.

Who you are matters most. What you do will follow.

So take heart and know that I am rooting for you.


Do you know someone who is starting over and could use some encouragement? Send them this article.

Also, let me know your thoughts on starting over by leaving a comment.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “5 Steps for landing a new opportunity WITHOUT relevant experience

  1. Great advice Ryan! I especially like the encouragement to take a step by step approach to change. I also like knowing that your advice, and the model you suggest, comes from your wealth of experience; it makes it seem truly do-able. I’m excited to engage in this change process myself, and I’m rooting for you that your good advice continues to spread!

  2. Hey Ryan,
    Just found your site, greattness!

    Definitely like finding customer problems (or as Dane Maxwell says “find the pain”), people pay to get their problems solved/make life easier
    Exhibit A: technology