How to Get a Job With No Experience

jobs

The Classic Catch-22

If you want to get a job in a particular field but don’t have any experience, you may be skeptical about your chances of getting the job because of your apparent lack of relevant work experience.

It’s a question as old as time and the classic catch-22: you need to have relevant work experience to get a job, but in order to gain experience, you need to get a job first. How do you get the job? Well, there’s no need to worry. Remember that everyone starts out with no experience, so you’re not alone. Furthermore, there are a number of strategies you can use to effectively overcome your lack of experience.

First of all though, you need to accept that not having experience will definitely rule you out of the running for jobs that require applicants to have experience, and it would be completely pointless to apply for such jobs. In fact according to Workpolis, applying for jobs you’re not qualified for can hurt your chances at future positions with the company too.

However, for jobs that specify that experience is preferred rather than required, you could have just as good a chance as anyone in getting the job depending on your current skills, personality and interview performance.

Strategies to Overcome Lack of Relevant Work Experience:

What Are Your Strengths?

Before you start looking for work, it’s important to find out where your strengths lie. Your strengths are what you’re naturally good at. They are the most valuable traits and attributes that sets you apart from other candidates and make you an asset to a specific employer. Understanding your strengths will allow you to demonstrate your unique value to employers.

Examples of impressive strengths include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Probem solving skills
  • Strong academic credentials
  • Relationship building skills
  • Social networking skills
  • Proficiency in specific software
  • Technical skills
  • Oral and written communication skills

Focus on Your Strengths. Ignore Everything Else

Once you know where your strengths lie, aim to build your career around what you’re naturally good at. If you want to be successful and happy in your career, you’ll ignore everything else and focus on working in a job that maximizes your strengths. Essentially, knowing what you’re naturally good at and building your entire career around your strengths will make it a lot easier to get a job that is perfect for you. Interviews will be a breeze because the hiring manager will see that you’re a natural fit for the role.

Take a Career Aptitude Test

Career aptitude tests match your strengths and work personality with jobs that are perfect for you. These free tests can be a very effective way to take an objective look at your skills, personality, your interests and identify jobs that are a perfect match for your natural strengths and work personality.

Here are some best free online career aptitude tests that can help identify the best job for you:

Create a Strong and Vibrant Personal Brand.

Today, standing out from competitors requires a lot more than simply having requisite job skills and qualifications. You need to establish a strong and distinctive personal brand that creates an instant and lasting impression on your target audience.

Personal branding is the process of bringing together every aspect of your life into alignment with your characteristics, strengths, values and goals so that you can make an instant and lasting impression on your target audience. Your personal brand is the combination of your unique skillset, values, strengths and personal attributes. It represents the “unique value” you bring to the table.

Building a personal brand is all about forging and highlighting your own unique and unforgettable identity. There might be many candidates that are just as qualified as you are, but there’s only one YOU. The stronger your personal brand, the easier it will be to get into the hearts and minds of your target audience: recruiters and hiring decision makers.

Create a Personal Website

The next step is to create a compelling personal website that includes an employer-focused blog that showcases your knowledge and expertise. A static website with just your resume doesn’t say much, and is not enough to make a powerful impression because anyone can get a personal website done. On the other hand, creating a blog is a lot more difficult, and gives a potential employer insights into your personality and who you really are. Remember that you’ll be up against candidates with experience, and you need every edge you can get. A personal website that features an engaging blog will increase the quality of your application and help you stand out from your competitors because not many people can be bothered to create a blog that is designed to solve problems for a target audience. An example of a great personal website is jimcanlon.com.

Furthermore, although this might be your personal website, it should effectively communicate your unique value. Rather than talk about how awesome you are, it should showcase your skills and demonstrate how you plan to use your background and strengths to solve the prospective employer’s problems. This will create the image of a hard working, driven and committed professional, and you’ll stand out even from experienced competitors who are relying solely on their experience to get them the job. According to Workfolio, 56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool—however, only 7% of job seekers actually have a personal website.

It is important to keep your blog professional and interesting. Avoid writing about topics that might be considered controversial such as religious or political views. Always keep the word ’employer-focused and ‘relevant’ in mind. Ask yourself: Is this blog post relevant to my personal brand, the employer and to the position?

Get Industry-Relevant Certifications

Getting a professional certification in your specific industry demonstrates that you have already acquired the skills you need to succeed in your industry. It is an effective and powerful way to substantiate your skills and separate yourself from other job applicants when you apply for a job. Hiring managers and recruiters generally view continuing education as a great asset because it demonstrates your eagerness and desire to stay updated in your field. It also shows that you have the modern skills needed to succeed in the current climate. Even if you have no experience, there are ways to develop this section in ways that won’t hurt your credibility.

In effect, getting certified shows that you have a hard work ethic, a strong desire to succeed and that you are dedicated to a career in your chosen field. It will make you more attractive to recruiters and increase your value to every employer that you interview with.

Become a Freelancer

One of the most effective ways to generate a stable source of income and gain relevant work experience is to become a freelancer on sites like Upwork, Guru or Fiverr. This counts as relevant work experience particularly in specific industries such as web design, digital marketing, writing, web development, admin, etc. It also provides the opportunity to build a portfolio of work and references that can attest to your professionalism. In addition, it demonstrates self-motivation, determination, drive and creativity, which are all valuable assets to employers.

If you have been unsuccessful at getting your dream job because of lack of experience, rather than settling for less, take up freelancing to gain relevant work experience. With sufficient freelancing experience under your belt, you’ll gain the confidence to apply for your dream job.

Create a Strong LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn has become an essential personal branding resource, and it is now essential to create a powerful and flawless LinkedIn profile to help you stand and differentiate yourself from the competition. Your LinkedIn profile is your first opportunity to make a strong, positive impression and entice a prospect to want to learn more about you. Since you don’t have much relevant work experience, your LinkedIn profile needs to showcase you as a competent and intelligent professional with strong academic credentials.

Your profile is the first thing most employers will check out to get a full picture of you, your skills and your qualifications. If you want to get a top job in your chosen field, creating a powerful, intriguing and employer-focused profile that effectively highlights your skills and the value you provide is absolutely essential.

Build a Strong Social Network

One of the most powerful ways to stand out is to build a strong social network. Social media presents the opportunity to establish your brand as an expert who understands and solves problems for your target audience.

Create a strong network on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+. To make the right impact, you need to have a network with at least 500 connections on LinkedIn. This is important because LinkedIn is a networking website, and the number of LinkedIn connections you have is prominently displayed on your profile. A large and engaged network tells potential employers that you’re a socially aware person who understands social media and knows how to build relationships and engage an audience. This is a highly valued trait and will increase your value significantly. Furthermore, the more connections you have, the greater your visibility and the greater your chances to be seen by recruiters and hiring managers.

Get LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn recommendations are personal and professional testimonials from friends, clients, co-workers, partners, supervisors or past employers that attest to your unique skills, work ethic, experience, and accomplishments. They are personal endorsements from people in your professional network that attest to your credibility as a competent and reputable professional, and provide third-party verification of the information on your LinkedIn profile.

Recommendations are like getting professional references before you need them, so when a client or potential employer asks you for references, you can point them to your LinkedIn profile. These powerful signs of approval help build your brand image and clearly demonstrate that you’re a person worthy of employing. Giving and receiving recommendations from other LinkedIn users significantly enhances your LinkedIn presence.

Once you have received a recommendation, it will show up beneath the relevant position on your LinkedIn profile, as well as a link to the profile of the person who has provided the referral. A brief summary of the referral itself will be included as well. It is significant to note that when a client recommends you or your employees, their entire network will receive a notification that they’ve endorsed you.

Write a Stellar Cover Letter

When applying for a job, especially when you don’t have much work experience, a strong cover letter that concisely and succinctly describes the value you bring to the table is essential. Your cover letter should tell the reader right away what you bring to the table, and what problems you can solve for them. A cover letter is also much more personal than a resume and provides significant glimpses into your individual personality that your resume simply cannot bring across. It is your chance to address your lack of real world work experience, and explain why that will not prevent you from succeeding and excelling in the role. Essentially, a well-written cover letter that identifies the specific ways your expertise can benefit the company needs to be a fundamental part of your overall job-search strategy.

Create a Value-Based CV or Resume

A value-based resume is an employer-focused resume that effectively communicates the “unique value” that you bring to the table. It showcases your personal brand and demonstrates how you plan to use your background, skills and personal attributes to solve the prospective employer’s problems and meet their needs.

Your resume should read like a mini-business plan, showcase your value and demonstrate how you plan to use your skills, competencies and attributes to improve the company’s bottom line. This should be the singular focus of your resume. You need to precisely customize your resume to the specific role you are applying for and focus on what you can do for the employer, rather than what you are looking for. Focusing your resume on the exact position you’re seeking will allow you to build a highly targeted resume that will resonate with a specific employer.

If you don’t have any relevant experience, following are a common set of skills and attributes that will increase the value of your CV or resume:

Problem solving skills

Scrutinize the job description for a list of the most common pains, problems and challenges typically faced by employers in the industry. Present your problem solving skills by offering details of your approach to solving specific problems in your industry.

Leadership

Most employers will be looking for evidence of leadership skills on your resume. Cite specific examples that demonstrate your ability to lead, motivate and stimulate others to achieve specific goals.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal, team working and relationship building skills are highly valued by employers because they show that you’re personable and engaging, and can work as part of a team. Describe what you have done in your life experiences that demonstrates that you have interpersonal skills.

Communication

Oral, written and listening skills are highly valued by every employer. Highlight specific examples that demonstrate how you use high-level communication skills in the course of carrying out your day-to-day.

Adaptability

Employers want to see evidence that you are capable of working in a fast-paced environment and can adapt to various situations, prioritizing multiple workloads simultaneously. Again, rather than simply stating that you are adaptable, provide examples that demonstrate your ability to adapt.

Research Skills

This skill refers to your ability to analyse situations from multiple viewpoints, think critically and conduct research to define key issues.

With the level of competition these days for desirable jobs, your résumé must immediately captivate attention of those reading it to give you an edge over the competition. Your résumé should clearly communicate the following:

  • Even though you may not have relevant work experience, you have the skills and academic qualifications to do the job the company is trying to fill.
  • You are a strong fit personally for the company.
  • You offer a powerful combination of personal attributes, personal strengths and skill sets.
  • You are driven, energized and passionate about your career, and
  • Your Unique Selling Points (USP) will positively impact the company.

It is important to incorporate each of these qualities and personal attributes on your resume because even though you don’t have experience, they will help you stand out and depict you as an attractive professional that can potentially offer real value to the company.

Highlight Your Education Prominently on Your Resume

Your education will be your most important asset since this is your first foray into the job market. Even though relevant work experience is key for most employers, a strong education will make a compelling first impression because it shows a desire to succeed and speaks to your ability, determination and personality – qualities that are highly valued by all employers.

If you are currently taking any adult education or professional development training courses, include them prominently on your resume, especially if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Hiring managers view continuing education very favorably as it demonstrates passion for your career and a desire to stay updated in your field, and that you have the modern skills needed to succeed in the current climate.

Furthermore, this is one area you can use to outshine the competition, especially if you have more relevant qualifications than they have. Be sure to list your highest level of education first, then work your way backward.

Engage the Hiring Manager Directly

Once you find a job you like, engage the hiring manager directly rather than going through the normal application process. Start by using the company’s LinkedIn Company Page to find out who the hiring manager is. Once you have identified the hiring manager, start by making an appointment to see the hiring manager over the phone. You need to submit your job application to the hiring manager personally. Repeat this process for every job you apply to. If you are focused and determined, you will eventually land the job you want because perseverance eventually pays off.