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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

Leapfrog "Experts" By Building In Public - The Break Issue 48

Updated: Mar 13



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Welcome to The Break, a weekly (video) newsletter where I provide stories and actionable insights on breaking work and building the future you want.


If you like what you’ve been reading follow along on Twitter (​@mngardon​) and ​Linkedin​ for more community and conversations about breaking work.


Today At A Glance

  • How do you build experience in a new field?

  • You need to think outside the box and demonstrate how you learn

  • Use this process to do it

I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about people needing to switch roles or career tracks. Lots of uncertainty out there that people are grappling with.


But being nimble and adaptable are key skills to living a life of resilience, and ultimately carving your own unique path to success.


Building experience in a new field is daunting.


The BREAK framework makes it incredibly simple.


So here’s how I have built experience in a new field and how I advise others do the same.


Realize Where You Are On The Chess Board


First, coming into a new field you are at a disadvantage to someone who has a lot of experience. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to recognize why —> companies are risk averse (and lazy), so they choose to take a “sure thing” over something that seems more risky.


On paper (your resume), you seem more risky.


So we’re going to play this game. We’re going to create an advantage for ourselves on a different playing field - one that even those “experienced” folks aren’t doing.


How To BREAK Into Another Field (with no experience)


Want to change careers?


You don’t need the right experience.


You need to demonstrate your previous work product, and show you are a learning machine with a unique Point Of View to cut through the noise.


A certification ain’t gonna cut it.


You don’t have to be an “expert”, but companies want to see your “work product”.


So how do you showcase that without a resume?


1. Pick a focus area


If you want to break into tech sales you should talk about tech + sales.


Web design? What is your POV on new platforms and the google algorithm?


You get the idea. Your focus should be what you want to learn


You’re going to show what you learn


2. Pick a platform


LinkedIn is an obvious choice, but it could be Medium, Substack or a portfolio site


A few must haves:

  • able to handle long form content

  • channels your creativity

  • can handle text, video, images, etc

  • has discoverablilty

3. Commit to producing 15 pieces of content about what you learn


Why?


You can cover 80% of a big topic in 15 posts. Depending on how detailed you get.


Don’t worry about the weeds - leave those for the “experts” who aren’t creating anything in public anyway. You can learn the next 20% after you get the job.


Keep it broad and simple, but show you are learning.


4. Set a deadline


You need a forcing function, and time is the greatest force.


Shoot to create 15 pieces of content in 30 days. One every other day.


Easy peasy.


5. Start creating


Just go. Your first one wont be perfect, but starting is the biggest hurdle.


Give yourself permission to learn along the way.


6. Use each piece of content as an experiment


Write a long post for one


Make a video for another


Think of the problem from another POV


Each experiment is a chance to learn a new skill and showcase your range.


7. Point your networking contacts and hiring managers to your work


If you’re already networking on LinkedIn you get it. If not, pinpoint the people you want to talk to. Craft a great message that builds connection. Share your thoughts and what you are trying to accomplish. Link to your work and ask for their thoughts.


Why this works

  1. You learn as you go - and showcase to a hiring manager that you have some courage to learn in public

  2. You get comfortable shooting first and aiming later. A valuable skill for managing change

  3. you build confidence in your ability to learn

  4. By sharing publicly you are networking without trying. Like people will discover you and help you

Here’s to investing in ourselves.


Mike


mike@careercloud.com

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P.S. My Advantage Mapping Program is all about betting on yourself and using signal to guide your decisions - giving you tools to evaluate what progress and success looks like so you can have confidence in your path. We aim to deal well with uncertainty and create a systematic, high odds approach to aligning who you are with what you do. I'd love you to check it out ​​Join the waitlist

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The Latest Conversation on THE BREAK Pod


For those of us who have zig-zagged our careers, we often feel misplaced, misunderstood, and feel like we come across as scattered. But the truth is there’s magic in our intersections, and the key is excavating the unique value that comes from your intersection.


This has worked wonders for me as I now describe my own intersection as a coach who uses principles from human-centered design, investing, and entrepreneurship to help people unlock creative career paths that make them come alive.


My next guest says instead of shunning your disparate interests, embrace them and learn to live a Portfolio Life. HMMM, that portfolio phrase is something I very much ascribe to!


A self-described “human Venn diagram”, Christina Wallace has crafted a career at the intersection of business, technology, and the arts. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School, where she teaches entrepreneurship and marketing. Her most recent book is The Portfolio Life: How to Future-Proof Your Career, Avoid Burnout, and Build a Life Bigger Than Your Business Card (Hachette, 2023).


A serial entrepreneur, Christina has built businesses in ecommerce, edtech, and media. She also co-authored New To Big: How Companies Can Create Like Entrepreneurs, Invest Like VCs, and Install a Permanent Operating System for Growth (Penguin Random House, 2019) and was the co-host of The Limit Does Not Exist, an iHeart podcast with millions of downloads over 3 seasons and 125 episodes.

In her free time, she sings with various chamber choirs, embarks on adventure travel, and is a mediocre endurance athlete. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two children.


You made it to the end! Hopefully you learned something about breaking your career today! If so, please share this with someone you care about.


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