The old “foot in the door” can be a proverbial entry level position, a meeting with the right person, or an example of your work that really shines. Getting there today demands a different skill-set than it used to. It’s easier because the door is already wide open in many industries and fields. If we take, say, writing as an example: you don’t need anyone to give you your first job as a writer, you can just go out there and take it.
HOW TO GET YOUR PERSONALITY ACROSS
If you want to write for a living, start a blog and put some banner ads on it. You’re officially a professional writer the instant you put that first word down. You might not be drawing a big enough audience to make anything more than small change at first, but it’s a start.
There are fields where this doesn’t apply. You can’t exactly offer your skills as a doctor on website to advertise your skills and hope that people will believe you and hire you on this basis. You can’t just start designing buildings on the Internet and establish yourself as an architect that way. In some fields you’re going to need to seek out someone to mentor you, you’re going to need a degree or a license and you’re going to need someone to bring you into an exclusive group. Whether that means being voted into office or given a job in a laboratory, getting your start in any career field in this event often has to do with knowing the right people.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to cultivate your people skills as well as your technical skills. Of course, this applies even in a field where you can start with a blog or work as a freelancer. The era of the Diva is over. If you choose to be difficult to work with, then there are dozens of people out there on the web who are just as talented as you are, but who are easy to work with. The choice there is clear for any employer.
DEALING WITH FAILURE WHEN FINDING WORK
If we can be completely honest here, the reason you’re reading about getting your foot in the door is probably because you’re hoping that there’s a magic bullet or, at the very least, some way to know that you’re on the right track before you put in the work. Here’s the sad news: failure takes just as much effort as success. If you’re an artist, then you’re going to produce one lousy painting for every good one, if you’re lucky. If you’re a freelancer, dozens of people are going to look at your online profile for every one person that hires you.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED
Get used to failure and learn to enjoy it. When you fail, you learn something. When you put out a book that nobody reads, you have an opportunity to try and figure out why it didn’t take off. When you release a product that nobody buys, you have an opportunity to figure out why that is.
So if there’s one rule for getting your foot in the door, there it is: never, ever, ever be afraid to fail and try again.
Marie is a avid careers adviser and keen blogger who works for an online recruitment agency – recruitmentrevolution.com