In a previous post, one of the 3 things I discussed that you need to satisfy in an interview scenario is ‘can this person do the job?’ If you want the job, and the company culture is right for you, how do you persuade the company that you’re worth the risk if you haven’t got the experience?

Every successful line manager, Director or CXO at some point was a first-time line manager, Director or CXO – the X of CXO meaning any C-Suite role, like CEO, CFO or COO. Someone had to give them their first shot.

If you’re interviewing for a sales manager role, and the company is looking for experience of having led a multi-million dollar sales team, and you don’t have it, it’s very hard to argue your case. What generally happens is that those people were top performers in that team and graduated to become the team manager, even though the skill-set required for a manager is completely different to that of a ‘sole contributor.’

When I look back at the jobs I’ve had, I’ve switched around quite a lot, and in quite a few cases my boss at the time decided I was worth the risk and – to adapt a well-known ABBA song – took a punt on me. Happily, I paid them back on their decision.

When you need someone to take a punt on you, you need to fall back on things that will make you successful in a new role, evidencing your adaptability, perseverance, commitment and enthusiasm, while drawing parallels from your career where you made similar leaps. Then, when you’ve presented your best case, relax, you’ve done all you can. They will or they won’t.

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