Whether you’re a fresh graduate looking for a first job or someone who’s looking to change their career, having limited experience can throw a wrench in your job seeking journey.
Don’t despair, because it’s not uncommon for people to secure jobs with little or no experience.
These are 7 ways to get a job with zero experience:
1. Address your lack of experience
A lack of experience is quite possibly something an employer or hiring manager will notice immediately. When preparing your resume summary, cover letter or video cover letter (we show you how to prepare a winning video cover letter in this article), use these spaces to address the issue and back it up with transferable qualities and experiences you can offer to fill that gap. Have trouble deciding what they are? Read on to find out.
2. Focus on transferable skills and experience
Even though you may not necessarily have direct experience in the role you’re looking to fill, there is a good chance that you have transferable and valuable skills and experiences either from your academic background or previous careers. It helps to study the job description and cross-reference with qualifications and skills you already have.
If you’re a fresh graduate, look back at any academic or extracurricular activities you’ve participated in, such as those that require organizational skills or leadership.
If you’re planning on switching to a completely new career, analyze your past work experiences and see what can be applied to the new role. You may even find that you have additional skills that give you a competitive edge despite being inexperienced for the position.
3. Highlight your soft skills
Soft skills are evergreen because they aren’t industry-specific and are appreciated in any position or field. Some employers can tolerate the lack of experience if you are skilled at communication, problem-solving, creativity or leadership. These skills can make working with you a breeze.
Do a quick research on what skills are needed in the field and job position, then highlight this in your application and at your interview. Back this up with a real-life example of your experience for a convincing answer that is sure to impress.
4. Create your own experience
If you don’t have experience, what’s stopping you from creating one yourself? There are a lot of ways you can go about this such as signing up for volunteer work, freelancing, and doing internships.
Some industries are easier to access regardless of academic or practical experience. For example, if you’re interested in breaking into the creative industry, look up freelancing as a way to practice your design skills and build your portfolio.
For other industries, don’t be shy about taking up an internship or taking a lower-paying entry-level job in order to gain some work experience that will ultimately benefit you in the long run. This step may require some earlier personal financial planning on your part.
5. Study, study, study
If you’re someone who would feel more confident after having studied a particular subject before jumping into a new career, signing up for classes or online courses will be right up your alley. Nowadays there are many online courses that even offer certifications at affordable prices.
Check out platforms like Udemy and FutureLearn for comprehensive online learning, and ShortCourseportals for courses and certifications offered by local universities.
Apart from online courses, you can also consider furthering your education by pursuing a new Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree.
6. Network with people in the industry
Networking and building genuine relationships with people really helps. You don’t even have to rub shoulders with big CEOs. Staying in touch with your peers is a great way to find out if their workplaces are open to hiring employees with no experience. In some cases, employees are even offered referral bonuses for referring to a successful hire!
Besides that, you can also spend some time on LinkedIn working on your personal branding and making connections with people through the platform. Here’s an article on how a personal brand can help elevate your career.
7. Apply anyway
Sometimes our biggest obstacle to success is ourselves. So apply anyway! Impress employers with your unique personality and all the skills and experience you have to offer.
There’s always a chance you’ll land the job even if you don’t hit 80% of the criteria. Hiring managers don’t expect to hire someone perfect either and many employers believe in building up employees they see potential in.