I noticed you help MBA’s who are frustrated with their job search. I’m not at that point yet, but I have dilemma. Although I earned an Executive MBA, I’ve worked in an operations environment for the past ten years. Most of the jobs that require an MBA ask you have 1-2 years experience in accounting/finance/P&L. I don’t have experience in either of those. I am contemplating going back to get a graduate certificate in accounting and also considering the health care industry.
However, I’m afraid if I earn a certificate or degree, I still won’t be considered because I don’t have the experience. What would you suggest?
I totally understand this dilemma. Experience or education? It’s a catch 22. I don’t qualify for the industry I would like to work in, so I need an education. After I get an education, I still don’t have the experience…so did I even need the education?
I would like to offer a few things to consider when making your decision about this. Let me preface this with a statement from the core of my values, I believe there is no higher pursuit then education. However, I do NOT think education is the only factor in having a successful career.
Here’s why. The quantitative parts of our resume, such as years of experience, level of competence in certain skills and the level of our education fall into a category I call “commodity.” As you already know, a commodity has no unique qualities. It is traded at a price the market will bear, no more and no less.
Commodity trading is an economic indicator because it has NO surprises. “I can trade candidate 1 with candidate 2 because this one has one more year of education than the other,” is a common thinking pattern for hiring managers. Plugging into this mindset is the surest way to the middle of the resume pile. At the very least, it get’s you a 30 second glance at your resume.
At the very best, it get’s you an occasional interview.
The Cult of Personality
In contrast, let’s look at why hiring managers make the decisions they make. Accept the fact no matter how professional we pretend to be, we are all humans. And humans make emotional decisions.
Repeat, EVERY decision anyone makes is emotional.
We aren’t looked over because we are not qualified (within reason of course), we are looked over because we have failed to make an emotional connection with another human.
When we look at our career from the standpoint of relationships, we move ourselves from “commodity” to “personality.”
The question become less about “can you do the job” and more about “who are you, as a person” and what value can you bring to the table.
Now, with this framework, let’s look at your question one more time. I believe you may be limiting your options by only giving yourself two options, education/experience.
Let’s introduce a third and fourth and see what new possibilities that opens up for you.
First, let me introduce the dimension of relationship. Who do you know in the health care industry? Do your contacts, having known you for you, agree with that written requirement to have 1-2 years in accounting/finance/P&L? Do they see the value you can bring by having 10 years experience in operations?
If you don’t have these relationships, what can you do to form them?
Second, let me introduce you to Mr. You. Mr. You is an expert in your field. You take your assets, 10 years in operations and MBA, and apply that to health care. You begin to write articles sharing how you think health care operations could improve.
You begin to comment on NY-Times articles that have it all wrong.
You have something to say, and you say it to the right people.
By leveraging LinkedIn and other social media tools you slowly become an “obvious expert.” Soon, you’ll find people beginning to ask you for advice.
And these people will remember your name when a job opening comes up. And THEY want YOU, not the other way around.
Jump-start Your Online Reputation
I strongly urge you to have your online reputation professionally audited. You will find you will be able to generate new and powerful relationships through online referrals. And pretty soon, the question of how many years P&L experience you have will become irrelevant.
Joshua Waldman helps frustrated job seekers leverage social media to find work FAST! He is the founder of CareerEnlightenment.com and the author of the new book, “Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies.” Sign-up for his newsletter today and get access to his exclusive training videos for FREE.
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