How to get experience before you have it

Experience is that marvelous thing that allows you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. (Franklin P. Jones)

You can’t get in the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) unless you have a job acting in a movie that is going to use union actors.  You can’t get a job in a union movie unless you have a SAG membership.  So how does anyone ever become a SAG member?  Here’s the trick. Someone puts together a movie company, gets a bunch of actors who want a SAG card to sign a contract, then goes to SAG and says I want this to be a union picture, so give all these actors a SAG card.  It happens all the time.  Those films are rarely made.  They exist only for experience.

I talked to a guy who wants to be a programmer.  The trouble is that he has no experience, just some education.  He and some friends are building a website with a game.  It is not a simple task.  It will take the 3 of them about 6 months to complete. He is still going to school.

How do they make a hobby programming project look great on their resume?

They form a company to do it.  Just like the SAG actors.

In Pennsylvania, and most states, you can register a company with the state for a few bucks.  You don’t have to incorporate, just register a name and an owner.  Now the three of them have a company, a project they can use to show off their skills, and six months of programming experience that looks good on a resume.

If you are in school an internship is incredibly useful for getting a job after school.  It is just as useful to create a job with some friends.  Put together a real product and a real company.  If it fails, no big deal.  You still have experience on your resume.

You can also do this if you are 50 years old and want to switch careers.

Think about it.  What can you do to get the experience for the job you want.  Is there an alternative?  Can you get some friends to form a part time company that will give all of you the experience you want?  Make sure it really does give you the experience, and you will have a great line on your resume.  Who knows, you may even start making real money and not need someone else to give you a job.

How do you get experience before you have it?  Do it yourself.

Something To Do Today

Sit down with a pad of paper and a pencil.  Make a list of 20 companies you could start to give yourself the experience you want.

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