So you want to land your first 100K Job Without Student Loans?
PSSST… Come here.. I’ve got a job opportunity for you. For the next four years you’re going to work for me. You’re going to pay me to work for me and the cost is $20,000 per year.
At the end of the four years I’ll give you a fancy piece of paper that cost me $6.50 to print on some nice paper that says you’re now experienced enough to start getting paid to do what you’ve been doing for me for the last four years.
Sounds great right? Don’t worry about the money, i’ll give you a loan for that and you can pay me back (at interest). It will probably be more like $100,000 in four years time but you are getting a ‘Higher Education’ and there is no price you can put on that.
The tired and old lie that you ‘need a degree’ to get a good job which is passed down from generation to generation must be put down.
Americans and much of the western world are drowning in student debt; is the cost really worth the benefit? how good is the ‘education’? While there are exceptions (few), most of it is a waste of time and money.
The most common rationale for getting a degree is that you do it because it’s supposed to give you a leg-up. If this is no longer happening its time to re-evaluate it’s worth (ahem: enormous cost).
Assuming you’re cognizant of this or you are starting to wake up let’s look at how you can land your first 100K job without a degree.
Jobs that will earn you 100K or more are classified by a few characteristics.
Generally have most or all of the following, they:
1) Involve managing people (staff, large customer accounts, clients or all of the above)
2) Have opportunities for development
3) Are within a growth sector
4) Are within an organisation that provides vital, niche or monopoly goods and services.
Monopoly services would include Government Agencies (State or Federal) and arguably the very high barrier to entry (for competition) tech industries: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM + similar large corporations.
Now these kinds of jobs are abundant
But you don’t have one because your missing some ingredients and know how.
So what are you missing and how do you get it?
Here is where people hit their first snag. You’re not going to go from budging on the couch and stuffing your face with Uber Eats at the expense of your parents without some experience that is relevant.
You don’t need to be doing the exact job you’re applying for but you need some skills developed in a similar environment that are ‘transferable’.
Examples of transferable experience include:
A) Telephony skills (ability to make and receive phone calls)
How do you get experience?
Start a low level paid job as a telephone salesman or any salesman where you use and interact with phones. A job at your local Telco will do fine or perhaps the dreaded call centre. These are stepping stone jobs.
B) Sales skills (good sales skills are VITAL in the modern world learn to love it)
How do you get experience?
Start selling something, do a sales course or listen to sales audio books. Theory is no match for practical experience so get out and start selling. Start with Grant Cardone Sell or Be Sold. Grant will sell you so hard on sales skills you’ll be dying to sell something mid way though.
C) Basic computer & office equipment skills (the ability to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Printers, Scanners etcetera).
You want to know how to use ‘track changes’ in word, basic formulas and functions in Excel and how to put together a presentation in PowerPoint. If you can do this you can demonstrate to an organisation that you can easily learn to use their Customer Management Software (CMS) or any other in house software you’ll need to learn on the job.
How do you get this experience?
You can get this in an office as part of a stepping stone job, put your hand up for short-courses on the MS Office suite if they are offered. If you aren’t able to organize this then find a course for yourself and complete it then add it to your resume. Start volunteering to fix or create spreadsheets, documents and presentations.
D) Interpersonal skills (people skills)
How do you get this experience?
I’m NOT talking about being popular (this isn’t high school or the weekend). Nor do you want to be unpopular. Your simply want to be pleasant, friendly and easy to communicate with.
Some people just don’t know how to interact well with other people. Some of this can be learned and some of this is innate.
Start thinking about how other people perceive you then think about how you want them to perceive you and make a shift towards behaving like that. Again, you want to be pleasant to work with.
Keep your cool and show other people respect (even if they don’t deserve it). In time you’ll learn how to deal with idiots in an intelligent manner that won’t jeopardize you in front of others.
Learn how to be good with the opposite sex. If you’re attractive you’ll be offered opportunists faster and you’ll be able get your way more often. You can work on how to be attractive – anyone can become more attractive.
Constantly Improve Your ‘Soft Skills’
Soft Skills? What are soft skills? Soft Skills are the most important dam skills.
While the University and society are telling you to get specialized so you can ‘add value’ and keep a cornered part of the business that can’t be replaced so your ‘job is safe’ the executive and smart people are doing the EXACT OPPOSITE.
Your stupid specialization will disappear when that technology or procedure is blown out of the water by a new technology or disruption to the industry.
The ONLY exception to this rule is if the specialized skill you are learning is something that will last (like programming/coding) and you can use it to build or create your own business down the track. This is also acceptable if the skill can be used as part of a skill-stack that will open doors later.
The higher you get in an organisation the more important your people skills and soft skills become so start cultivating them now.
These skills are always being refined and you NEVER stop learning more about them. Here is what you want to be developing:
You need to learn how to tailor your communication to your audience. You talk, write and interact differently with seniors than you would with customers. Likewise you tailor your communication to different personality types and peoples preferred communication method. There is a wide variety of ways to communicate – some people want it short and to the point (executive) while others want long stories and ‘connection’, others want the facts and figures and the emotional stuff makes them uncomfortable. You need to learn who you are dealing with so you can characterize them (yes judge them) and prepare appropriate actions to suit.
Positive attitude, initiative and the ability to work unsupervised are CRITICAL. Your colleagues and superiors need to be able to trust and rely on you to get the job done. This will demonstrate commitment and enable you to be mentally categorized by decision makers as a ‘good one’.
You don’t need to be managing others to be a leader. I know this is cliche corporate talk but its true. By being positive, motivated and showing initiative you are showing leadership. You are leading by example, people tend to imitate one another and follow social protocols, if you are setting or maintaining the professional tone you are leading others to do the same. Of course there is leadership of people which is a set of skills in and of its self – learn how to lead others by gaining opportunities to do so and studying resources learning how to do it better i.e. Audible books on people leadership.
To lead you must follow, you cannot be a good leader if you haven’t first been a good follower. You need to understand what makes a good leader by working for a range of leaders and learning who is effective and why. A good leader will not let you have it easy and muck around; they will motivate you to perform and engender a sense of we’re in this together. They will set clear direction and expectations and leave no room for ambiguity. When challenges arise they will lead by example and assist the team to overcome the obstacle through a variety of means.
5) Ability to work under pressure and time management
Sometimes things need to be done and soon. You need to know how to priorities a set of tasks, understand the inter dependencies and sequence of events that are the most direct way to achieving an outcome (the critical path). Then you must execute those sequence of events or co-ordinate others to execute them. High achievers and senior executive in all organisations share 2 things in common. 1) Their personal productivity is very high and 2) they have a set of heuristics (rules of thumb) they use for fast and effective decision making. This helps them leverage their time. Learn to think, act and execute quickly to produce a quality result.
Sometimes you’ll be given a task. You’ll put a lot of time and effort into that task, you’ll be proud of your work and then you’ll submit it up the chain. Then you will find out now the decision maker wants something different. Do not groan and complain about this accept that this will happen and likely happen often; get your head around the new task and adjust your actions toward completing it quickly. You can keep the other word for a rainy day should it come in handy again. Also priorities will change, departments will be restructured, you might be placed in a completely different job or team; embrace the change and run with it. The sooner you accept the new reality the more effective you will operate within it.
7) Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
You must learn how to set terms and ask for what you want. You must learn how to have difficult and awkward conversations. You must learn how to be persuasive and how to get others on board. Listen to an Audible book about negotiation and persuasion – that will get you started.
Genuinely accept responsibility for your mistakes and vow not to repeat them. Understand how others may perceive you and how your behavior might impact your working life. Look after your body and your brain and ensure you can be effective at work for the vast vast majority of the time. Everyone has sick days but if you look after your own health and pay attention to your own behaviors you’ll be much more effective in the work place.
Consistency is key. You can be a great employee for 2 years straight and then drop the ball; how long do you think your good reputation built up over the past 2 years will last after all that hard work? The answer is not long at all. There is no point in working hard one week and slacking the next. Its much better to operate at a productive or slightly above average level and keep it as consistent as possible. Consistency is the foundation of reliability.
Removal Your Mental Barriers
Let me guess.. This will never work because of XYZ. You can’t do that because you ‘don’t have a degree’ and ‘qualified applicants’ will have a degree and they will be ‘competing’ with you.
You might as well quit now and submit your application for Uber or McDonald’s. If you don’t believe in yourself don’t expect any interview panel to believe in you.
It’s time to ditch the internal bogeyman and start having a positive attitude – a very positive attitude. Its not what you cant do its what you can do and what you will do. If you need help with this listen to Grand Cardone – Be Obsessed or Be Average.
Learn to Sell Yourself
Sell or be sold – Grant Cardone said it the best. Though The way I think about his best seller sales book title is not ‘If you don’t sell me something i’ll sell you something’ the true meaning is that if you don’t know how to sell and sell yourself you’ll be sold into slavery by someone else. That’s right YOU are the property being SOLD. Welcome to America.
Sales skills are the modern day gentlemen’s sword carried around their belt. Learn to use your sword or you’ll run into trouble.
You must learn how to describe your strengths & capabilities in a confident and unapologetic way. Even better do it with some humor – if you make a job panel laugh (genuinely) and get them nodding they will do half of your own interview for you – they will literally put the words in your mouth because they WANT to hire you already.
Write Many Job Applications and Sit Many Interviews
Nobody is going to hand you a 100K job on a silver platter. Let’s say you’re earning 40K and you want to jump to 60K; but hang on you don’t want to put much effort into writing and refining your job application and your interview for a few weeks? Why the hell would I think you’re worth an extra $20,000 pay rise per year if you cant even be bothered to pull together a good application? Your actions communicate more about who you are than anything else.
If you’re new to applications and interviews you will have a lot to learn. The best way to learn is through hands on experience. Start applying now. Read a book or consult an expert (or successful person) on how to do this well. In the beginning you will be rejected, you’ll be rejected a lot. This is a good thing; your application skills suck and you wont be landing a 100K job until you have these skills sharpened like a fine blade. They need to be fresh, up to date and constantly improving. I cannot stress how vital these skills are to your career and future.
It’s very unlikely you’ll go from highschool to a 100K job. You need to take stepping stones. Instead of wasting your time on the student slavery route. Start working and earning in the real world – this is your education and it is FAR superior.
In the same amount of time as college/university takes you can build your early working career and CV while earning money. Start at the bottom its a good place to learn the ropes of office politics, human psychology and basic soft skills. Then you’ll need to move your way up, sideways and across your organisation and other organisations so you can build a breath of experience that shows you are ready to earn 100K.
You must learn how to interact in an office in a way that’s friendly, nonthreatening, professional and CONSISTENT. This is the 101 of how to navigate people and politics in the office:
Network and hangout with people who out rank you in the office
Always Be Learning – Readers Are Leaders
As you progress you’ll learn by experience but you must always to strive to learn and grow in your own time. “insert true meaning of Educated”
Your education is VITAL to your career but more importantly to your entire life and the decisions you make within it. Indeed I have taken an unfavorable view of College however this may not the be case in different times.
You need to contextualize the circumstances around you into your own life. The ages will roll by and civilization and society will always be changing, education is a wonderful thing and extremely valuable. The best kind of education will always be self-education.
Summary: How To Land Your First 100K Job Without Student Loans
You will learn and add the above mentioned skills and traits over the next 4 years assuming you are starting from scratch.
If you have many of these or are already experienced in many of them you will supplement and update your current arsenal with what you are missing.
Your stepping stone career trajectory will look something like this:
Low-level job at local telco, retail outlet, office or corporation. Learning the ropes and learning softskills, networking with others.
Some temporary acting in a higher position to cover someone on leave or to help manage large workloads.
Sometimes applying for better positions inside and outside of the organisation.
Gaining permanency in the position you were acting in or gaining a small promotion, using this momentum to network with others and learn new skills which can be added to your CV.
Applying for better positions inside and outside of the organisation at least once a quarter.
Negotiating or receiving an offer to act at yet another higher level with more responsibility. This time you manage people or you are personally responsible for a business operation, budget or all of the above.
You demonstrate reliability, consistency and initiative in achieving desired outcomes. You are known for being an effective yet fair manager and people welcome the opportunity to work with you and learn from you.
Applying for better or permanent positions inside and outside of the organisation at least twice a quarter.
You have a well rounded set of soft skills and an extensive network of other professionals within your industry, organisation or professional life. People want you to mentor them, management regularly praise you and people think of you as someone who is going places.
You lead by example and regularly surprise those more senior to you of how effective, intelligent or appropriate your actions are. You might be receiving job offers from competitors or other parts of your organisation. You are valued because you learn quickly and you adapt to change. You are effective and you can be thrown challenges, management have confidence in your ability to deliver.
Since you are receiving job offers you are in a position to dictate some terms, you can play offers off against each other and raise your own personal worth my making it known you are frequently receiving such offers.
Now you are in a position of power because you have options.
You take the option that is most likely to give you the salary and opportunities you need and you negotiate your 100K + income.
Even though you are receiving job-offers you are still applying for better or permanent positions inside and outside the organisation at least twice a quarter. You are an expert at applications and interviews since you have done so many. You almost feel like you can dictate the outcome through your personal actions during the process.