You need to make your skills official. You need to get someone to put their stamp of approval on them.
A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender, therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber stamps. (H. L. Mencken)
Today I could apply for a job as a writer and have a real chance of getting it. Four years ago it would have been much tougher. I can now prove I am an author, a writer and a man of letters. My published articles prove it. One particular article proves that I am an expert at finding IT security folks and possibly an expert at computer security.
In reality I was a writer and a recruiter before the articles were published. Yet, today I am much more marketable as both.
School did not make it official. Someone putting their reputation on the line to use my work is what made it official. Someone with a bit to gain and a lot to lose said, “We’re proud to have him write for us.”
I have seen programmers with 3 months of experience beat out programmers with years of experience. The reason is that the rookie looked more official. Someone trusted the rookie with a big role in a major project and he pulled through. He was excited, passionate and had the obvious imprimatur of his boss. The senior programmers who lost were always background support doing 40 hour weeks with no enthusiasm and no risk.
It’s official when you’ve proved it in commercial competition. Not just when the team gets the job done, but when YOU personally made it happen.
How can you make your accomplishments and knowledge undeniably official?
Something to do today
Send an idea for an article to a publication or website about your field. Submit it and see what happens. They may ask you to write it.
Later: Illegal questions
No BS interviews work
How to quit
The old boy network
Exploit the old boys
The money question