“When inexperience is an advantage”

This was the title of a column by Richard Branson today… The article stated that you should play up your inexperience rather than turning the focus on your strengths. Of course, later they do elaborate that inexperience also means bringing in a fresh eye etc. Which basically means it is all about how you position yourself.

How important is inexperience and experience in today’s job market?

When I first applied for a job, I did not know anything about the beats I was expected to cover. Halfway through the interview, the person interviewing me asked me why I kept talking only about a couple of points. I figured I had blown the interview and might as well be upfront about what I really wanted. I really wanted the job, the opportunities it offered and I was willing to learn something new.

So I told him that I had never really focussed on the beat and most of what I was talking about was something that I had studied in the previous week. But I was a really good reporter, a super fast learner and I would easily be one of the best in 6 months. I don’t know if I convinced the person or if they basically did not care, but he gave me a run down about what they do and such.

In hindsight, I should have been a lot more well prepared for the interview, studied about the company, the profile and all the small details. It was no excuse that it was my first job interview. I always figured it was stupid to try to pretend to know something that you did not know. Except, I tripped on that very lesson a little later. When someone asked me about a particular field – a new one again this time – I said my expertise was in the other field. Which made it appear like I did not want to learn.

Arrogance kills… when you are inexperienced, you are willing to learn. To experiment. To try out new ways. Because if you fail, you are no worse than where you are. But as you gain more knowledge, you also acquire a certain degree of arrogance.

I’m in a new field yet again. I do not know much about I learn more everyday. On the job, off the job, with feedback, by looking back at my work. Someone with whom I’d been discussing photography for a while now wrote to me today stating that he has seen me grow as a photographer. “There are photographs that I do not like and there are some that I give a standing ovation to” he said… in response to my reply that some of the recent photographs I had shot were more reflections of the people and designs rather than my skill.

Inexperience, knowledge, humbleness, arrogance – these are words we face everyday in work. Particularly in a market where you have to price yourself and compete with others on pricing, it is a constant war about how much you value yourself.

“when you are dealing with prospective partners, suppliers or employees, turn their questions about your inexperience to your advantage” Branson said in the article… and I’m trying to figure out how to apply this to my own field.

Link of the day: Lex Linghorn – The man who shoots for himself and tells people pick what you want and pay for it.

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