A lot of people are stuck in their careers or have failed to establish their careers in this terrible economy. The unemployment rate has been stagnant and the competition is endless. When I first started my career, I realized very quickly that it would be hard to get my first internship, consulting gig and job without experience so I did something that I think you can all take advantage of. I turned myself into a case study and then used that case study to break in and generate new opportunities.
What does it mean to turn yourself into a case study? It simply means that you do what you would be doing for a company for yourself first. This way, you can test different strategies out on yourself, measure your success and then convince a company that you can show them similar results. This strategy works out really well when you are either just starting out in your career or you’re looking to make a career change.
If you’re in one business function and want to jump to a completely different one, it’s a challenge because you don’t have experience to bridge yourself into that new role. You can counter that by taking on personal projects that allow you to test your skills, learn from your mistakes, improve and turn yourself into a strong product that you can market to current or future employers.
For example, I was able to start a freelance web design firm in college by showcasing websites that I had designed for myself. I had a James Bond 007 website and one that I made in high school to keep in touch with my close friends. I leveraged these as case studies to secure clients. Another example was when I was hired to be EMC’s first social media employee after creating a successful blog and online magazine. They saw that I could use the tools for my own personal benefit and realized that I could leverage those same tools for their benefit.
When you have no experience or are looking to make a career change, using yourself as a case study is one strategy that can bail you out and help you form a foundation to build on.
Pre-order Dan Schawbel’s highly anticipated new book,
Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.