How do you start a new career in a field you have no experience or connections in and didn’t go to college for?

How do you reach a goal when you don’t know how to start? It feels impossible to accomplish something you don’t know how to do. Getting a job in a new field is like that. 

This article breaks down the tactics I, and others I’ve helped, used to start new careers and get their first job. 

If you:

  1. Want to learn a high-paying skill without going to college and taking on student loans.
  2. Want to find a job that will set you up for future success.
  3. Want employers to compete for your work, instead of you competing with other applicants.
  4. Are feeling lucky, punk.

Then you are at the right place. 

These tactics are the ones I used to get a career-building job as a college dropout. That said, I’ve scoured the internet advice on this topic and have to say I’m disappointed. 

Their titles are things like “9 tips for getting a job without experience.” And while they were generally good tips, they provide no depth. Nothing gives you a clear path to getting a job with no experience like this article will. 

Why take my job advice? Because I have used this process to get a great job without experience. I was 20 when I did it. I didn’t have a degree, experience, connections, or formal training working in the field.

The company that hired me was K&J Growth Hackers. They are a marketing agency that specializes in performance digital marketing. Four years later, I’m a partner at the company, and we’ve been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies. 

Since then, I have helped a few other people use the same strategy to get a great job without any prior experience. Now, this strategy is down on paper for you to use however you’d like. 


A College Level Education For Less Than $1,000

How well do you have to be at something for someone to happily pay you for that skill?

To be hirable, conventional wisdom may tell you to spend four years in classrooms and thousands in tuition. Obviously, some jobs require a degree bar none: medicine, law, financial planning, etc… 

In most other cases, the risks are not so high that someone will die by your hand if you’re still learning. So it’s important that we reframe what’s expected of someone coming in at an entry-level position. You don’t need 4 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in education to get started. 

A realistic benchmark for education and practice is more like 6 months of full-time effort to become effective at a skill. We can define “effective” as good enough to get the desired job done.

Why is there such a big difference between the level of training and effort I’m telling you are needed versus the level of training, effort, and cost the broader society is telling you you need?

The short answer is simple: waste. 

How To Educate Yourself Fast

To show how time is wasted in schools, I’ll use an example from a school teacher that I know. 

It’s important to know that this is not a normal school teacher. This is Robin Theiss. She is undoubtedly a master of her craft. She’s been teaching in private schools for 20 years, has published two Amazon Bestseller books, and is asked to speak on education at conferences around the world. 

When she does private schooling for a child, she can get through the entire 7th-grade year with a child in about three months. How? It’s simple math, really (pun intended). You can teach one focused child, at the very least, 30 times faster than you can teach 30.

This is helpful to know because it means you can teach yourself something much faster than someone can teach it to you in a classroom full of other people. 

The question then becomes, how do you teach yourself something? 

In this section, we are going to break down how to find the fundamental aspects of a skill, get the education you need on those fundamentals, then practice them until you are in the top 20th or 10th percentile of people with that skill. 

Finding The Right Resources To Get Started

When learning a new skill, it’s best to start with the obvious, the basics. The best advice I can give is never to leave the basics. 

“The basics are your greatest weapons.” – Uncle Iroh.

The fundamentals are the first principles of a skill. And you can apply the first principles in any situation.

Let me give you an example that I know well, marketing. 

Learning something like digital marketing sounds complicated, and it can be. But if you distill it down to the fundamental skills that make up 80% of marketing situations, then you are already a dangerous and versatile marketer. 

Conceptually, the marketing framework is already broken down. The 4 Ps of marketing – Place, Promotion, Product, & Price – give you boundaries that you can put any marketing goal inside of. You can plan any campaign by just focusing on those four pieces.

The goal is to break a skill down into the few sub-skills that cover the most territory. For marketing, those skills are writing sales copy and using marketing analytics to make decisions. 

Of course, there is a lot of potential depth in those two skills, but with 80% proficiency in those subskills, you can very easily pick up on the variety of situations that come your way. 

This is called The Minimum Effective Dose

In this section, we are going to break down how to find the fundamental aspects of a skill, get the education you need on those fundamentals, then practice them until you are in the top 20th or 10th percentile of people with that skill. 

So how do you find the fundamental concepts and skills for your field of study, then learn and practice them?

This part of the process is fun. In no small part because I know people are paying tens of thousands for the education I’m going to show you how to get for less than $1,000 all together or free. 

Step 1 is research. We’re going to scour the available resources to figure out what the fundamentals of a skill actually are, using nothing but what we can find with some easy Google searches.

I’ll keep the digital marketing example here, but this process can be applied to any skill. 

There are millions of hours of courses, millions of “how to” blog posts, and billions of hours of youtube videos on the internet. The odds are that whatever you want to learn is readily available for cheap or free. 

Now that we’ve figured out how not to waste money, we have to learn how not to waste time. 

Let’s start with courses. There are tons of course platforms out there for us to take advantage of.


The photo above is LinkedIn Learning, a course platform for professional skills. I did a quick search for marketing, and what do you know, the search is loaded with courses that have the word “Foundations.” That’s an indication the course will have the fundamental knowledge we are looking for.

Open up the course, and we find a course content section that breaks down the different pieces that go into digital marketing. 

Because this is a fundamentals course, our guy “Brad” is not going into these different aspects in any real depth. 

The fact that these course videos average 3 minutes tells you that pretty straightforwardly.

But that’s not the point here. We are taking the time to watch this course yet. What we are doing is building a map of the concepts included in fundamental courses. 

I’ll drop the section titles here for future reference. 

  1. The Digital Marketing Framework
  2. Digital Marketing First Steps
  3. Digital Marketing Key Concepts
  4. Digital Marketing Hub and Spokes
  5. Digital Marketing with Your Website
  6. Digital Marketing with SEO 
  7. Digital Marketing with Paid Channels
  8. Digital Marketing with Social Media
  9. Digital Marketing with Email
  10. Digital Marketing with Video
  11. Analytics Skills
  12. Additional Marketing Channels
  13. Trends to Watch

Those will come back into the picture as we look through more courses. To me, these look more like concepts than skills, but sometimes the skills take a little more digging. Let’s check out some more courses on a different platform and look for similarities.

Here is a course I found on Udemy. Already I can see there is a lot more depth in this course and a lot more sections. The key here is to look for similarities in the curriculum to understand the concepts that the practitioners agree are fundamental to the skill. 

Here are the section titles of the second course, and bolded are the sections found in both this course and the first one. 

    1. Market Research
    2. Make a Website
    3. Email Marketing
    4. Copywriting
    5. SEO
    6. Youtube Marketing
    7. Facebook Marketing
    8. Twitter Marketing
    9. Quora Marketing
    10. Google AdWords/Ads
    11. Google Analytics
    12. Instagram Marketing
    13. Pinterest Marketing
    14. LinkedIn Marketing
    15. Facebook Ads
    16. App Marketing

As you can see, they have most of their course topics in common. There are subtle differences though. The first course used broader sections like “Digital Marketing with Social Media” while the second course broke out the social media platforms into different sections.

Let’s keep going and see what else we can find. But this time let’s try a book instead of a course. 

For Dummies, although a little mean, is a good place to start. 

To reiterate what we said before, it’s important to focus on beginners-style materials because they focus on more fundamental concepts. 

A lot of people make the mistake of going for the masterclass because the name implies it leads to mastery. But master classes like the ones produced by MasterClass are for really advanced people to refine their skills. Not for developing fundamental knowledge. 

Let’s look inside Digital Marketing for dummies.

In this book, like the courses we looked at, we find:

  1. The first part is all about marketing strategy
  2. More blogging and social media. Starting to look pretty important.
  3. Your website is your business home base on the internet. 
  4. Analytics is mentioned across all three and generally comes up at the end of each resource.

Now that we’ve looked at three different places, we see patterns.

You can think of the different sections we’ve found in the courses and books as subskill.

Now comes the more boring part. Doing your fucking homework.

Although it’s less than glamorous, this is the part that really matters. 

The three educational resources we looked at showed us what the patterns are, but they won’t help much in actually learning how to become great at any skills. 

They are just starting points, but still worth going through.

The first course we found was free.

The second was about $20.

The book was also $20. 

Of course you can easily find more free courses on the subject. But once you understand the different pieces that go into the larger skill, you won’t need to keep watching fundamental courses and reading For Dummy books. 

Next, you’re going to go a level deeper. 

In each one of those subcategories, we can go through the same research process to understand what its subskills are. 

For example digital marketing is a subskill of marketing, social media marketing is a subskill of digital marketing, Instagram marketing is a subskill of social media marketing, and on and on you can go in either direction.

There are experts in analytics, strategy, Instagram, SEO, media buying, etc.

In other words, each one of these subskills can get extremely deep. And deep is where we are going. 

To get deep, we use practice as a vehicle for learning. 

Create a Practice Environment – Divide & Conquer

The goal of the next phase of learning is to create a project that you can use to practice your new skill in a low-risk environment. 

What do I mean by low-risk environment?

Well, at the beginning of your learning journey, you are going to suck. There’s really no way around that, and it’s a lot easier if you accept that first and take on the mindset that you will keep making attempts until you suck less.

Let’s take investing as an example. Investing is a high-risk skill to acquire. If you are practicing investing and rack up too many failures, you might run your finances into the ground. Knocking yourself out of the game before you have a chance to develop the skill.

Creating a low-risk practice environment is the answer. In the investment scenario, people make paper trades so they can practice picking stocks or investments without actually putting in their own money. 

This way, they can develop the skill while minimizing the effects of failure. 

Franklin’s Journey to Greatness

Benjamin Franklin was, during his time, the greatest writer in America, and he was a believer in creating low-risk practice environments. 

As an uneducated 14-year-old, he got his hands on any piece of writing that he could find or borrow, read it, then a week later try to rewrite it in his own words from memory. 

Then, he would take his work and compare it to the original. Criticizing it as much as he could to improve his own form.

To take it even further, when he wanted to publish something, instead of using his own name, he would use a pseudonym (fake name) and slip it under the door of the local paper at night. 

That way, when the paper was published, if it was bad, it didn’t reflect poorly on his reputation. Taking out the risk of embarrassment altogether. 

Rockefeller’s Journey to Wealth

John D. Rockafeller was the richest man in the world when he was alive. And that was mainly due to his very strict focus on clean accounting. 

Back in his day, there wasn’t accounting software that automatically tracked the transactions coming out of your bank accounts. All the tracking of dollars, math, and reconciliations had to be done by hand. Clean accounting was a rare occurrence in the business world back then. 

His dad forced him to carry a ledger around at an early age and track every penny of his allowance spent. If his books were clean by the end of the week, he got a nickel.

The point is that practice matters. 

Unfortunately, the practice environment for every skill isn’t self-evident. Something like learning an instrument is self-evident. Just sit in a room and practice on the instrument. 

But what about something like sales? How do you practice sales if you have nothing to sell?

Well, not to skip the research, but one of the main aspects of sales is called discovery. It’s generally the first part of a sales conversation where the goal is to learn as much as possible about the prospect’s problems as they relate to the product you are selling. 

You can practice this on your friends without telling them and have zero chance of failure. To them, it will just feel like you are curious and listening intently. But to you, it’s practice. 

It might seem like you can’t create a low-risk practice environment with certain skills, but there is a way to break a skill down and make it digestible.

Find the Sub-Skills

Generally, a skill is not just one skill, but multiple skills put into a sequence.

For example, sales can be broken down into 5 pieces:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Discovery
  3. Pitching
  4. Objection Handling
  5. Closing

Instead of trying to practice the whole sales process, where there are many moving parts, you should focus on one sub-skill at a time.

To practice prospecting, you can reach out to a hundred people you don’t know and try to convince them just to have a conversation with you. 

To practice discovery, you can start asking questions and then questioning their answers to dig up more details.

To practice pitching, you can present an idea to your friends and see how well they take to it. 

To practice objection handling, you can go up to people at a bar and ask for their phone number, and after they say no, see if you can figure out why they said no and overcome it. Of course, to close the deal, you will have to handle their objections in a way that doesn’t turn them off. 

To practice closing, go to a coffee shop and ask them for a 50% discount when you order your coffee. You can do this anytime you buy anything really, and the skill will translate to closing a deal when the time comes. 

By breaking a skill down into its pieces, you give yourself the chance to focus on a much smaller problem and master that area. 

There are a couple of rules or principles that will help you in creating a practice environment for yourself. 

The first rule is that you must be able to collect feedback. 

This doesn’t mean that someone has to critique how you are doing, but that does help. Feedback is anything that gives you a gage on how you are performing. The best feedback is whether or not your practice has achieved the result you wanted to achieve.

If, for example, you want to learn how to spin pots out of clay, some feedback that you can use is trying to sell the pot at a farmers market. Is no one willing to buy it? Well, that’s the feedback that you should keep practicing. 

Another example, are you trying to become a better writer? Maybe you are practicing writing headlines. Twitter is the perfect platform for practicing writing headlines because of its limited character count. The feedback mechanism might be how many people like, share, or comment on your tweet.

The feedback won’t be perfect. But it will steer you in the right direction. 

The second rule is to always measure your inputs and output over time. In the headline example, let’s say you’re going to practice writing tweets for 30 minutes a day (input) and will use engagement on your tweets as the core feedback mechanism (output). 

Track your inputs and outputs in a journal or spreadsheet so you can clearly see your improvement over time. Otherwise, there is no way to tell if you are actually getting better at something, and you will likely either assume you’re improving in areas that you aren’t, or worse, not see that you are improving and get discouraged. 

What does done look like?

The last question is how do you know when you are good enough at a particular skill get a job in that field?

A general rule is when you hit a point of diminishing returns on your improvement. 

It may seem like the more you practice a skill, the more you improve during practice. And during the beginning, that’s true. 

But over a longer period, the more you practice, the less you improve each time. You’ve probably heard people reference something called the learning curve. 

The graph above shows performance improvement on the vertical (Y) axis and the amount of effort put into practice or learning on the horizontal (X) axis. 

At the beginning of learning a new skill, when it’s uncomfortable, confusing, and overwhelming, is actually when you improve the most at the skill. 

In other words, when you start at zero, there is nowhere to go but up. Then it begins to get harder and harder to make incremental improvements to your performance. 

Every skill is different but if you put in 20 hours on each subskill – totaling 80 to a hundred hours of practice, you’ll reach the point in the learning curve where the amount of improvement earned by each hour of practice begins to diminish. 

At that point, it’s time to start getting paid. 

Picking your first position like a master strategist

A strategist doesn’t just think about the next move. They think about how there next move sets up the move after that, and so on. And most importantly they want to keep desirable options open to them. 

That’s also how you should think about picking the place to launch your new career. Not only what options are open to you, but what options does that open to you next?

In this section we will go over why it is important to be very clear about your goal, why you should strive for practice over titles, and what size company is going to present you with the best opportunity. 

Be Very Clear About Your Goal

During your development in your skill, you can think of yourself as embodying two states somewhat interchangeably. 

The first state is one of open discovery. 

In this state, your path looks a bit foggy. You can’t see too many steps in front of you. In this state, you are practicing what feels like experimentation. The goal is to keep moving forward to discover the path in front of you. It’s hard to establish before hand what you goal or destination is because your visibility is limited. 

The second state is one of committed direction. 

After you’ve gone through open discovery, in this state you can map out in your head a rough outline of the path you will go down. You’ve committed to a direction and now it’s a matter of moving forward with purpose and intention. 

Some people will debate which of these states is ideal for a person. The truth is that you need both. It’s impossible to chart a course without a map. But once you have a map, charting your course is much more preferable. 

When you were doing your self-learning from the first section, that’s that open discovery phase. But now, at this stage, you are practiced. You’ve developed your skills in a methodical way and have at least a basic map of the work infront of you. 

A map tells you what to say no to and why. Without it you will be pulled into situations you think are good but take you off track, or that you flat out don’t want to be in, but assume it’s necessary because you don’t have other options. 

How often do you think people feel stuck at their jobs doing work they don’t like or want to do because they can’t say no? 

It happens a lot. It’s happens to me and will happen to you too. 

We assume saying no to what you don’t want requires bravery. But in reality saying no does not just require bravery but also practical options in front of you. 

When you have options, it becomes much easier to get out of a situation you don’t want to be in.

In other words, freedom is having good options. And good options are something you strategize for from the beginning. 

That’s why it’s extremely important to be clear on what your end goal is. Without that, you can’t work backwards to map out a strategy. You’ll just go where the wind blows you.

Big Fish in a Small Pond

It might seem like the best course of action is to find the biggest, baddest company that you can work for and try to get a starting job there. But when you join those companies, you immediately become a small fish in a massive system.

Don’t get me wrong. There are benefits to working at a large company. They pay more and look good on your resume. That being said there are also negatives that most people miss. 

At a big company, you will have to follow their procedures on getting promotions and raises. Raises happen once a year. Promotions are scheduled and based on performance reviews that can be tampered by your manager’s affection toward you. 

The biggest negative is that those companies also have the fiercest competition. And look, competition can be a good thing. It might push you to improve and work harder. 

But in that situation, the company is the one with all the options, not you. And that’s a poor strategic position to be in. When competition is fierce, you become dispensable. 

Because you are new and don’t yet have job experience, you are likely to be the small fish wherever you go. For that reason, you want to find a pond that is going to be easier to grow in.

Why medium and not big? Big is the ultimate goal, but in the meantime, you need an environment that is easy to grow in. And that means having people around who can help you grow faster than you can on your own. 

What does this look like for an actual employer? 

The right entry-level employer may be different based on the skill you’re getting a job for. 

You’ll want to work somewhere where the actual team you will be working on is big enough that you will be working on serious projects but small enough that you can have a big impact. 

Suppose the skill you’re working on is engineering in some capacity. In that case, you may not evaluate the opportunity based on the size of the company but on the actual engineering team. Five to ten people on the team is ideal. 

Working in a startup environment allows for a lot of growth. But if you join a startup too early, then you might get caught on a sinking ship. A startup with momentum is a good place to be. 

When I was looking for a job in digital marketing, the best place I found was a young marketing agency run by its two founders, a few employees, and about 10 contractors who filled in for different skills. 

I came in as an intern who wanted to learn digital marketing strategy. That allowed me to play assistant for the two founders and eventually become a partner because I understood the company from the founders’ perspective. 

You may want to become a digital creator or build an eCommerce business. In those cases, I think it’s best to find a situation where you can work under the entrepreneur directly or with only a few degrees of separation. 

The Most Important Criteria

Besides the size of the company being important like we talked about above. There is another factor that’s an even higher priority.  

That’s right, if an opportunity meets this criteria but doesn’t meet the criteria mentioned above, then this takes precedence and you should go anyway. 

The main priority is that this employer can help you become extremely competent at your job.

In other words, you are choosing your place of work based on the learning opportunity instead of the earning opportunity. 

Working at a well-known company, and having a fancy title may play a role in getting you lots of money later on. But there is nothing that will make you more money than actually being really fucking good at what you do. 

Opportunity to learn and practice is the most important aspect of picking your first place of work. 

For me, that’s what I appreciated about working at a marketing agency. If I was working on an in house marketing team I would have different challenges but I would be working on the same companies marketing for multiple years. 

There are advantages with that level of depth on a single project, but because I work at an agency I’ve built ten times the amount of marketing campaigns then I would have working on a single company.

In his book Mastery, Robert Greene explains that repetition is the most essential aspect of learning a new skill. Repetition under the guidance of a master is ideal. 

In his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport describes why undeniable talent is the best recipe for success.

Robert Kiyosaki famously says work to learn, not to earn, because high earnings are often used as a distraction to keep you from noticing that your job may not be the best path for growth. 

Getting The Job

Now it’s time to actually get a job. In this section, you are going to learn how to find the right companies/people to work for, how to reach out to the right person with your ask, and how to get them to want to offer you a job.

Before we dig in, I want to share a dirty little secret with you. 

Most getting a job advice makes a fatal assumption at the very beginning. It assumes you will go through the standard process of looking through job applications and sending your resume. 

We aren’t going to touch that shit. 

The problem with that method is that once a company puts out a job application, your competition has flooded in. You’re chances of actually talking to someone and selling yourself have already gone down dramatically.

Instead, we want to find companies before they ever put out a job application. 

Making Yourself Approachable, Online. 

The first step in the process is to go on LinkedIn and build a short list of companies.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, go ahead and make one. 

If you are just putting together your LinkedIn profile, here are some guidelines for putting it together to land a job.

  1. Make sure your profile picture is high quality, has good lighting, and clearly shows your face

  2. In your Headline, put “Self-taught (fill in the blank) looking to help a company (the end result to your future employer of utilizing your skill).” Here’s an example: “Self-taught digital marketer looking to help a company reduce their cost per customer with content marketing.” The thinking behind a headline is to clearly express what you can do for someone else, as opposed to why you are special.
  3. In your about section, here is the structure you should follow.
    1. Reiterate your headline like a conversation.

      “Hi! Thanks for checking out my profile. Are you looking for someone who can get (results) for you or your company?”
    2. Then walk them through a bit of the crazy approach you’ve taken to get good at the skill you’ve been working on.

      “For the past X months, I’ve been diligently working full-time on developing my skills at (skill). Not because someone asked me to, but because I’m interested in it and decided not to ask for permission to start learning and practicing. Now it’s time to put these hours of practice to good use!

      If you’re wondering how I’ll go about getting (result) for you, here is a little breakdown of the process.”

      Many people won’t know what goes into the work you are suggesting they pay you to do, but breaking it down in a way that’s easy to understand shows that you know your stuff.
    3. Number the steps you will take to get the result. Here is a social media marketing example. 
      1. 1. Do a short audit of your business and your customer to create a cohesive social media strategy.
      2. 2. Create 10-20 social media posts a week, depending on what fits your business.
      3. 3. Develop automation systems for your social marketing to create exponential growth
      4. 4. Study the data and feedback from posting to optimize your social strategy and grow faster.
      5. 5. Implement a simple customer journey, so followers turn into customers.
    4. The key to that last step is just listing out the sub-skills you learned in learning the core skill, but sequentially so it looks like a process.
  4. That’s it for your about section! Nice job. 


If necessary, you can take the same content you wrote here and sprinkle it across your other social media accounts. The format on other accounts are different so you may have to make adjustments here and there.

Then go on LinkedIn and begin your search for the right company. 

When you go to LinkedIn, search for the type of company you are looking for. 

Then click on the companies tab.

Once you get to the companies list, click the “all filters” button to filter down to the companies closer to your criteria.

Then fill in your criteria. 

If you want a local company, put in the locations you’re interested in working in. If you want something remote, keep the search broad. 

Now comes the fun part. Once you have the search parameters you’re looking for; it’s time to get to know the companies on this list. 

Even though we put in basic filters, some of the companies aren’t going to match what you are looking for or will frankly just be garbage. So keep that in mind as you look through this list. 

Don’t be afraid to dig around and see what companies are a good fit for you. It’s ok to be picky here. 

Once you find a few decent fits, go to their company page and toggle to the People section. 

Scroll down a bit, and you should see this:

Now, it’s important to understand who you are looking for. 

If it’s a relatively small company, go to the person with the biggest title. They are going to be the ones capable of making hiring decisions. If the company is larger, with 20+ employees, you’ll also want to look for the heads of departments. Particularly the department you are interested in working in. 

Your first outreach

After you’ve made a shortlist of the people capable of making a hiring decision and bringing you on their team, it’s time to make contact. 

When reaching out, you don’t want to make interacting with you feel like work. In other words, don’t outright ask for a job, a chance, an interview, or a few minutes of their time. 

Immediately asking for a favor is an excellent way to get ignored. That said, keep in mind that many of the people you reach out to will ignore you. 

Instead, we want to reach out in an inviting way, so there is no reason to be defensive.

Once you press the connect button on LinkedIn, it gives the option to add a note. 

Here is the key. The profile you set up on LinkedIn should clearly show your intentions and do a portion of the selling. The note that you will send with your connection request should feel more like you are making friends than asking for anything in particular. 

Something along the lines of “Hi (person’s name). I’m reaching out because I’ve been learning how to (new skills) over the past few months and want to connect with people like you who are veterans in this area.”

It’s short, non-assertive, and flattering. 

If you’ve done everything right up until now, you can expect 10-30% of people you connect with to accept your connection request. So keep in mind as you do this, that it’s a numbers game. 

Once you’ve made connections, it’s time to open up a conversation. Now, for the goal of opening up a conversation, it’s time to make a small ask of them. The best ask to make at this point is a little bit of advice.

“Hey (name)! Thanks for accepting the connection. I hope you’re doing well. I’m sure your time is valuable so I don’t want to be rude, but I have a quick ask. 

I’m working on starting a career in (industry), and given that you have a lot of experience here, I was wondering if you had any quick pieces of advice around getting an entry-level position. 

Anything I can do to make myself look strong, or types of companies to avoid?”

You’re not asking for a job. You’re just asking for advice. But the message is very strategic. You’re respecting their time, making it easy for them to respond, telling them what your intention is, and asking them to tell you in their own view what would make you a hirable candidate. 

They should respond with some genuine advice. And you should just carry out the conversation naturally at this point. Eventually, when it feels natural to do so, or at least not completely out of left field, you can ask a subtle closing question.

“Hey (name) do you know anyone or company that would be interested in hiring a motivated employee that I can reach out to?”

This is a kind of wink-wink question. 

There are typically 3 ways the response will go.

  1. Actually, you might be a good candidate for a job here! Let’s set up an interview. (Congrats, go kill the interview)
  2. Yeah, actually, I do know someone you can reach out to. (Boom. Another great option. Then when you reach out to the person you reach out to, use the person who referred you as part of your outreach message.)
  3. No, sorry, I don’t know anyone. (Although this is a loss, it’s important because you give the person a way to say no, without it being harsh. They are not rejecting you outright, they just don’t have anywhere to lead you from here.)

The Kicker (Bonus Points)

One interesting thing about going after small companies is how easy it is to become famous amongst twenty people. 

You can increase your chances of getting a job at a company by doing the same outreach to all their employees. 

Once you connect with one person at a company, every connection with someone else there will show someone they work with as a mutual connection.

Make sure you change your outreach message to fit the person you’re reaching out to. For example, you wouldn’t tell their accountant that you’ve been studying marketing and, since he is a vet, would like some advice. So make sure you craft your messages for the person you are talking to. 

But if you go through the same steps and have a little conversation with as many people at the company as you can, the chances are high that they will start chatting about you inside of that company, and you’ll likely have a better shot at an interview because of it. 

Final Notes

I sincerely hope this strategy helps you get a great job. If it gives you more confidence, this is the process that I used to get the job I have. And I’ve helped many others, my sister, for one, get a job through this method as well.

In the eyes of a business owner, there is something special about someone who reaches out and is determined to work for them. It makes them feel special. Much different than someone who came through a job application. They aren’t special then. They are just a job. 

If you found this helpful, I promise I will keep working on researching and experimenting with advice that creates a tangible difference in your life. And I think you should come along for the ride.