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Experience Overrated?

   By: Jonathan R Taylor

I often hear people who want to transition into another career downplay their chances because of their lack of credentials. They often believe that they have locked themselves into one particular field because of their past work experience. A few years ago, before I made my transition into the field of sales, I held this same paradigm. With a background in social work, why would any company take a chance on me? I had no business degree and no formal experience in outside sales. I then discovered something very important—what separates success from failure has less to do with your experience and qualification than how you conduct the job search process itself.

I find that people with experience tend to lean on their credentials a little too much when it comes to seeking a job change. People with little experience in their desired field realize they must market and sell themselves just as if they were selling any other product. This means that instead of focusing on “work experience”, a person should focus more on the skills that he or she can offer to the organization they are targeting.

I have recently worked with a client who after being self-employed for the last two years was interested in going into sales. He was discouraged at his chances before he even started because he lacked experience as a sales representative and had no college degree. Now, while it is true that some large companies will not hire sales reps without college degrees, the fact is that there are many small companies who are very willing to hire someone without a college education if they see strong skills and abilities in other areas. Together, my client and I have put together a resume that highlighted the sales and marketing skills that he had developed during the time that he owned his own business as well as a strong action plan which targets small businesses.

The key to success in this process ultimately comes down to thinking outside the box that we tend to place ourselves in at times, positioning ourselves to highlight what we bring to the table, and ultimately getting incredibly proactive.

About the Author

Jonathan R. Taylor, specializes in helping people in every stage of their lives to find more meaning and purpose in their work. He believes that to find that purpose and meaning, a person's interests, skills, passions, and goals must integrate seamlessly with their work. To get more great advice, subscribe to Jonathan's newsletter at!

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