You can't get the job without the experience, but you can't get the experience without the job!

From James Citrin, Leader, CEO Practice at Spencer Stuart and Author, The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers

How to Get the Job When You Don't Have the Experience

"The Permission Paradox" - You can’t get the job without the experience but you can’t get the experience without the job - is one of the great career Catch-22s. This challenge will confront you over the lifetime of your career, whether you’re trying to break into the work force or you're to become a CEO for the first time. While the phenomenon can be frustrating no matter what your level, the Permission Paradox is especially challenging for today's aspiring young professional and recent graduates.

The Permission Paradox can be a paralyzing obstacle and can often be a self-fulfilling prophecy. A distinguishing characteristic of the most successful professionals - at every stage - is that they find ways to gain access to attractive opportunities. And when they do, they deliver and make good on that leap of faith that someone took on them. One of the keys to overcoming the Permission Paradox is recognizing that when you apply for any job you will be evaluated along two different dimensions: your potential to add value in the future and your track record in the area most central to the job. Depending on the seniority of the position, these two sources of value – your potential and your experience – will be weighted in different proportions, like the scales of justice. As a general rule, the earlier you are in your career, the greater the importance of your potential value.

Five Permission Strategies

  1. Get Credentials. 
  2. Get Creative. 
  3. Be Willing to Start at the Bottom. 
  4. Barter.
  5. Re-imagine Your Experience. 

To read the complete article, and I highly recommend it, go to