Sandy has always worked for small and mid-sized companies. Now she wants to land a job with a large company that is a household name. But Sandy said “most of the larger companies I’ve interviewed with look down on me because I don’t have “corporate” experience. How do I make the jump from a smaller company to a Fortune 500 firm?”
First, challenge that thought. Do they really look down on you because you don’t have corporate experience? Do you have any specific examples of things they said or did? Many job seekers make up mental stories that erode their confidence. Change that story: you can secure a great job once you prove that you have the skills and experience for their specific needs.
Most important, by far, is to demonstrate that you are a fit for their unique position. Dissect the job description and match your skills and experiences to each one of their needs. More often than not, candidates are passed over because they are missing too many critical requirements, NOT because they don’t have corporate experience.
IF you still believe they are rejecting you due to lack of corporate experience, then what are the attributes you need to demonstrate? These are key:
- How to navigate complex, matrixed organizations.
- How to lead cross-functional teams and collaborate across multiple organizations.
- How to understand the corporate politics around you.
Pick one or two of these attributes, then address the issue up front in your interview. “Mr. Smith, you may be questioning my ability to navigate around a corporate environment. Well, at my role at XYZ company, I dealt with large…” Be proactive yet concise, over-doing this can sound defensive.
On a higher level, everybody is feeling some sort of discrimination or bias against them during their job search. Ageism, gender, lacking experience, too young, and much more. Yet many job seekers are getting jobs today in spite of their perceived gaps.
The magic: you need to study the job description in great detail and the company, too. Then, spend hours and hours preparing for the application and the interview. Most job seekers put in far too little effort to compete in this new era. Are you seriously committed to your job search? If you need help, just ask!