Here’s a verifiable fact: YouTube commenters are some of the worst human beings on the planet.
One of my favorite channels to watch is SimplePickup – a couple of dudes who go around trying to get girls’ phone numbers while doing crazy things (like wearing a dog shock collar, talking obsessively about Starcraft, you name it).
It’s funny, and all the guys and girls involved have a good laugh.
Except, of course, 99% of the comments section.
They say things like “they only get girls because they look good.” “Try being average looking, bet it won’t work THEN!”
Seriously?! They’re wearing a shock collar!
But I kind of understand where they’re coming from.
Have you ever asked a guy or girl what they want their ideal partner to be like? They’ll first say things like “smart, funny, etc” but almost ALWAYS follow it up with “and tall, attractive” and other physical traits.
But when it comes to actually settling down, who do they end up choosing?
Usually not someone with those exact qualities. But someone who gave them what they valued. Maybe it’s something about their personality, or little things they do everyday. Something substantial that makes them feel good.
But most people are horrible at articulating what they really want, so they just resort to rattling off the default criteria.
What they’re really saying is “someone who’s tall, fit, attractive, smart, and accomplished checks off a lot of boxes, so I’m pretty sure they’d also give me what I value.”
In other words, they’re using a set of criteria as a proxy for what they ACTUALLY care about.
It’s not that height, fitness, and attractiveness is all they value, or even what they value most. But it’s a decent way of screening out all the weirdos.
This is more or less the EXACT approach hiring managers take when reviewing applications.
When a company advertises a job online, they get TONS of applications – especially when all it takes is a resume submission to apply.
So they say things like “Masters degree required”, “5+ years of experience required”, etc to screen out people who don’t know what they’re doing.
But in reality, they’re using these requirements as a proxy for two things: 1) credibility, and 2) proficiency.
Most people spend years of time in school or working in jobs they’re not excited about just so they can have the “right” credibility markers (i.e. more degrees and credentials that cost thousands of dollars), or proficiency triggers (i.e. WAY more years of experience than they ever need to actually do a good job).
But what if I told you there was a way to build huge amounts of credibility and proficiency in ANY field, in record time?
Without having to spend thousands of dollars going back to school. Without having to spend YEARS dragging yourself out of bed everyday to a job you don’t care about, and “living for the weekend”.
Today, I want to peel back the curtain and show you how.
How to accelerate your career in months instead of years
The biggest stamp of credibility you can get is not a Harvard degree.
It’s a referral from a powerful person in your industry.
Of course, you have to actually be able to do the job – but if you have this ONE thing, you can bypass many of the so called “requirements” on a job description.
And because successful people in an industry know other successful people in that industry, they knew the executives at many of the companies I was interested in.
They knew I could do good work, so they were MORE than happy to introduce me to the powerhouses in their network.
Whether that meant connecting me with CEOs of some of the biggest online marketing companies in the world…
Or getting generation-defining authors like Neil Strauss to want to work with me…
I could go on and on.
In fact, I’m actually able to get access to MORE opportunities than my friends who worked at McKinsey, Google, and other household company names. Because I built a more powerful network.
Getting a referral from a successful person in your industry is a MASSIVE stamp of credibility – if you have that, then the hiring manager at the other end will say “ok, this person’s legit” and almost always put your resume on top of the pile.
The “criteria” they had in mind originally becomes practically irrelevant.
Imagine being able to send a few emails in the morning – sip your coffee and go about your day – and have job interviews at top tier companies scheduled on your calendar in a matter of hours.
This is how top performers get recruited.
People cry and complain about how it’s all about “who you know” – but they don’t even think about how simple it really is to make these connections.
But it’s not just the referrals – it’s the rapid pace at which you learn.
There’s a saying that goes “you’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with”. If you work with successful people in your industry, you’ll have insanely rapid growth.
Personally, I’ve learned more about marketing in a few months of working with some of the best in the game than most marketers do in years.
I’m not trying to brag, I’m just trying to show you what’s possible.
The truth is, successful people in your industry are more reachable than you think.
By reaching out to them, proposing a project you could help them out with, and delivering, you can gain the trust of your industry’s biggest VIPs in a matter of months (or even weeks).
And because you actually did work for them, they can vouch for you professionally and make job referrals for you whenever you need it.
It’s all uphill from there.
Building relationships with powerful people
The key thing is to offer to help them with a small project. This is how you add value to them professionally. And if you deliver, you just let them know that “hey I know what I’m doing when it comes to X, so you can safely vouch for me in the future”.
Here’s how to come up with a killer project idea: Immerse yourself in their content.
Read their blog posts, listen to their podcasts, watch their interviews on YouTube, research their business – go ALL IN.
Eventually, you’ll find something they’re working on that you could help with.
Neil Strauss did a Reddit AMA a short while ago, where he mentioned offhandedly that he was trying to drive more traffic to a certain part of his website. I noticed it, and immediately reached out to him (through the contact form on his site) offering to help.
Here’s what I wrote:
I noticed on your recent Reddit AMA that you wrote “someone suggested that [you] start a forum on [your] website where people can discuss the cache and the search” and that “[you’re] shocked no one’s found it yet.”
I would love to help you drive more engagement to the forum, and write the necessary copy to promote it to the right people. I’ve worked with Ramit Sethi before on copywriting and content development. I can do all the heavy lifting here.
We can discuss the details, of course, but first I’d like to know if you’re interested. Please let me know!
Thanks for your time,
I got an email back from his assistant saying he’d love to work with me.
Notice how I was:
1) super specific about what I could help out with (do NOT say “let me know if you need anything!” because they never will)
2) I mentioned the exact benefits to him (higher engagement), and
3) why I’m the right person for the job.
If you have zero prior experience, you can still seal the deal by sending over a mini pre-interview project along with your message.
If you can’t find a specific problem the successful person is struggling with, you could still come up with a project idea by asking yourself this: “What’s the intersection between my day-to-day responsibilities of my dream job, and what this person is working on?”
For example, if you’re an email marketer, you could offer to optimize their email marketing campaigns and attach a line-by-line critique of one of their emails.
You’d be surprised by how many people take you up on your offer, and how quickly you’ll rack up credibility and insane amounts of experience.
If you’re an ambitious person who wants to take your career to the next level, sign up below to get my 4 Step Checklist to Landing Your Dream Job — even if you’re not sure what you want to do yet. Even if you feel “underqualified.”