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Why you actually have more experience than you think



“So many people are already doing this and they have years of experience. Why would anyone pay me? Maybe I should get another degree first.”

Marianne Cantwell, Be a Free Range Human


Actually, says Marianne, most of the time there’s a way around this, and traditional qualifications aren’t always necessary.


Obviously, in some professions e.g. medicine, qualifications are vital. But for other industries, instead of worrying about what we don’t have, how about thinking what we do? Sometimes that outsider’s viewpoint that comes with a lack of experience can be an advantage.


Try this exercise (we tried this in our session at Career Change Book Club)

  • Think of two different aspects of your life – perhaps something that you’ve done in the past and your current role, or your current role and a side project.

  • What skills from each can you apply to the other?


By doing this, you’ll see that you already have a set of skills that you’ve already proven are transferrable. So now think of a current aspect of your life, and something that you’d like to do in the future. What skills do you have that you can apply to this future role?

Of course, you may still find that there are skills that you are lacking. But hopefully you’ll also see that these may not be as significant as you first thought, and that you do have a solid skillset that you can take with you. It’s also worth thinking laterally – are there any ways that you can get in to this industry without following the traditional path?



What are your Reasons Why Not?

“Sure, these stories [of people living exciting lives] are nice, but there are a lot of reasons why I can’t do this. They had an advantage that I don’t have - it’s nice to dream but my situation is different; I have so many Reasons Why Not”.

Marianne Cantwell, Be a Free Range Human


Isn’t it true how we often discount the achievements of those doing what we would like to do by looking for their unfair advantages? Perhaps they have connections, or wealth. Maybe they are younger than us and have more freedom, or older than us and more experience. Perhaps they have skills that we don’t have, or maybe they don’t have the financial commitments that we do.


This way of thinking isn’t that helpful, says Marianne. Try to get in the habit of looking at what we have in common with those people that we admire, rather than our differences. What excuses they could have given themselves before they made a change? How could they have persuaded themselves that they were at a disadvantage?


Thinking in this way makes what they have done suddenly feel a bit more realistic to us, rather than something that we could never hope to achieve. And remember, she says, once you achieve your goals, people will come up with loads of unfair advantages that you had!

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