How To Get a Job With No Experience (With Helpful Tips)
How To Get a Job With No Experience (With Helpful Tips)
Whether you have work experience or not, it’s still possible to get an entry-level job in an exciting field. There are many ways to approach the job market and prove that you’re a viable candidate, even if you haven’t yet held a professional position. Understanding how to tailor your resume, prepare for an interview, and gain additional experience can help to show prospective employers that you’re a competitive candidate. In this article, we explain how to get a job with no experience and provide helpful tips for making yourself more employable.
Understanding how to get a job with no experience in your chosen career path is essential to pursuing jobs that are within your capabilities and proving yourself to be a promising candidate. Not yet possessing the experience listed in a job posting doesn’t mean they can’t consider you during the application process. Here are some steps to follow to impress prospective employers, even if you have no experience:
1. Brainstorm your existing skills
You may not have professional experience working in the career path you’ve chosen to pursue, but you can still provide valuable skills, abilities, and extracurricular experience. Brainstorming and listing all your existing skills is a good way to visualize which of your unique abilities can help you in the role, even without professional experience. Consider transferrable skills you may have gained during your studies, such as communication, time management, or organization.
Listing your extracurricular experience is also a promising way to show your commitment, dedication, and passion, especially if you’ve held a leadership position. Extracurricular activities you’ve been part of in the community, or through your secondary or tertiary institutions, provide insight into your skills and interests, which can be appealing to prospective employers. Some extracurricular experience that can strengthen your job application may include:
2. Gain short-term experience
There are many ways to gain experience relevant to your chosen career path before you apply for your first job. Many short programs allow you to gain skills or experience quickly that help attain a job with related requirements. Some programs may be educational, such as courses or training to gain particular certificates, or could be practical experiences, such as internships or volunteer work. Freelance work is also an effective way to gain short-term professional experience before applying for full-time roles.
3. Write your resume
A key component of applying for any job is constructing an effective resume. Your resume is the best professional opportunity you have in which to submit your experience, education, and certifications for consideration when applying for a job. There are two types of resumes that can help you show potential employers that you’re a suitable candidate and shift the focus from work experience to relevant skills. These are functional and combination resumes, and here’s how they work:
Functional resumes usually put more focus on your relevant skills and abilities, rather than on your specific work history. These resumes often group related skills together, breaking previous experience down into skill subsections. This makes your experience seem broader and directs the reader to the strengths you’ve gained. For example, if you’re applying for an entry-level copywriting job, you may wish to create a skills section that includes abilities like creative writing, blog writing, or technical writing.
In a functional resume, especially when you’re applying for a job that you don’t have experience with, it’s a good idea to involve your personal passions and endeavours. Any activity you’ve taken part in that relates to the job or its skills can benefit a functional resume. Refer to your list of brainstormed existing skills for ideas of relevant experience you can list in this resume.
Combination resumes are a mixture of the functional resume format, and resumes which list more work history like chronological resumes. They focus on experience and skill, but usually focus more on your individual skills than on the work history you’ve collected. If you have no directly relevant work history at all, you can include jobs you’ve held where you may have gained transferrable skills. Similarly, if you’ve never had a job before, you can substitute work history for an education or extra-curricular section.
If you do choose to include a work history section, list the jobs you’ve had in reverse chronological order. Include each job title, the name of the company you worked for, the position you held, and the dates you worked there. You can include any short-term or part-time roles here if you don’t have any full-time experience.
4. Apply for entry-level jobs
The next step in getting your first job in the career path you’ve chosen is to begin applying for jobs that are attainable for people with less experience. These are usually entry-level jobs that develop skills and train those in the role. Entry-level jobs are usually roles with designations such as assistant, technician, or specialist titles.
Change the Rules
Just like any other student who has worked tirelessly for their degree, I had high hopes for how my degree would help me get my first job. But unforeseen situations like COVID-19 can lead to our feeling like we’re navigating an environment that we are not well equipped to handle. However, this couldn’t be more untrue. Opportunities still fully exist and are ours to seize, if we are only willing to think just a little bit outside the box.
Consider the long list of people who were able to do exactly that: Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, and Ellen DeGeneres, to just name a few. The very root of their success was being able to think outside the box and focusing on the areas in which they excelled. So let’s now take a closer look at how this exact premise can apply to you.
In an era when everything is changing constantly, we are wired so that our attention easily shifts from one trend to the next. A lot of people bemoan this fact about those in Generation Z, but it is actually a true strength that you probably haven’t yet realized. We are attuned to the world in a way that those older than us may not be: we recognize trends, we implement them fast, and we look for what is coming next.
Simply put, you have the opportunity to position yourself as an innovator—not simply a follower—to potential employers. I will expand on this idea more throughout the article, but now let’s talk about something that is even more important than what we’ve just discussed.
Anyone who’s ever taken a sales training course knows that people buy emotionally and then attempt to justify their choices later. We need to understand the psychology of this in the context of selling ourselves for a job. Consider this scenario: An employer is considering a pool of five candidates, one of which is you, for a position. You excelled at your job interview and got along very well with the recruiters, but the other candidates have better experience. Whom is the employer going to choose?
You are underestimating the importance of being personable and self-confident if you immediately said one of the other candidates. While one’s qualifications and experience are important, people are human, and they are inherently drawn toward those with whom they feel a personal connection. In other words, employers will often hire those they like and will justify why they chose you over someone else later, even though the other person may have been more qualified.
If you have good people skills, that should give you confidence. Self-confidence isn’t something that most have immediately, particularly in the context of finding a job. However, you can certainly build it.
But how do you build self-confidence that can then be broadcast to potential employers? You can do this by setting yourself up for victory. First, start off in safe or familiar environments where you can build skills and get positive reinforcement. Focus on the transferable skills that you will use for the rest of your life, such as effective listening, speaking/presenting, and teamwork. One way you can accomplish this goal is by joining a local Toastmasters club, or finding a leadership position in one of your school’s organizations.
Get in the Back Door Through Networking
Let’s build on the idea of approaching your job search in an unconventional way. Rather than just applying for jobs where your resume is being compared with those of other highly competitive candidates, get in the backdoor through networking. This is one way to potentially grab a job that is not even being advertised.
Your Current Network
As I am learning from the coaches at YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services, most people underestimate or entirely ignore their personal network. Some are not even aware that they have one.
One important aspect to understand in regard to our personal network is that it includes everyone—from your parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives, and friends to your neighbors, teachers, coaches, and even your former babysitters. Every person with whom you have or once had a personal connection is someone whom you can consider to be in your network.
Your New Network
Your new network is everyone else who can be helpful to you, many of whom you may not have even met yet. But your current network is a great source for building this new network, particularly once you know what you need to ask for. In addition to your current network, you can approach building your new professional network from a number of different angles.
For example, you can start by identifying the industries you are interested in and seek authorities in that field. Identify employers in those industries and search for peers, influencers, and decision-makers who work in those industries. LinkedIn is a great place to locate such people. Explicitly asking for a job is not recommended; rather, simply reach out to that person and ask to chat. Even if this chat doesn’t result in a job offer, your knowledge of that industry has likely increased and more importantly, your network has as well. Also, be prepared for the fact that maybe only 15–20% of people will respond, so make sure to cast a wide net and not become easily discouraged. At YES Career Coaching & Resume Writing Services, the coaches ease the difficulty of these tasks by teaching their clients how to approach these strangers, how to engage them, and what to ask for.
Now that you know how to get a job with no experience, it’s time to get the process started. Work through this list and see what tips will benefit your particular situation the most!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.