CBD College’s Top 5 Tips on Applying for Jobs Without Experience
If you’re just out of college or embarking on a new career path, probably the most intimidating aspect of finding a job is coming up with relevant experience—because you have little to none. Job searching without much work experience can be frustrating; employers will tell you that you need more experience, but how are you supposed to get it if no one will hire you? How do you demonstrate to an employer that your skills, education, and experience are relevant to the job at hand? It is essential to highlight the skills and abilities you already possess that are directly transferable across to the position you are applying for. You need to demonstrate that you have the ability and desire to constantly learn new skills, as well as have a strong commitment to self-leadership and, in turn, self-improvement.Whether you’re a recent graduate or a stay-at-home parent re-entering the workforce, here are 5 tips on applying for jobs without experience.
Your Skillset Applies! But, How?
Embrace your inexperience and figure out why you’d be great at the job. You had some reason to believe you could do the job being advertised, so spend some time thinking about why. This manifests itself in personal traits you bring to the job or other less formal qualifications. You should have most of the qualifications, of course; don’t apply for jobs that ask for 10 years of experience if you’ve only been working for one. But if you can point to solid achievements and strides you’ve made in your short career, then go ahead and apply!
When you’re applying for an entry-level position, the hiring manager already knows you have little to no experience. Leverage your inexperience as motivation to learn. Highlight your personal accomplishments which illustrate your dedication, curiosity, and commitment to learn and grow. That’s exactly what hiring managers are looking for from recent grads. That is why it is vital YOU communicate the relevance of your skillset. Push your relevance to the specific job you want. That is what you need to sell on your CV, LinkedIn profile, or in an interview.
Show You Can Learn and Relearn
The rapid advances in technology in recent years have produced the greatest shift in working culture since the industrial age. The ability to constantly learn new skills and demonstrate work ethic is vital for the workforce of the future. The hard skills you have, like the ability to write clearly and engage with people, need to be sold to an employer. Look for ways to get the experience you lack. Yes, it would be nice to step into a full-time job, but if no one’s offering you one, look for ways to get more experience for your résumé. Part-time internships, volunteering or even just doing projects on your own can mitigate some of that experience deficit and make you a stronger candidate. Make sure your update your competency level to stay current in the field.
In your interview, strike the right balance between confidence and humility. You need to find a balance somewhere in the middle – confident but with a realistic understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses.
Set Your Personal Goals and Develop Them
One skill many people possess but fail to sell is self-leadership: the ability to not only be aware of your own feelings, thinking, and behavior, but to constantly look to improve and develop these aspects of your personality. Whether through setting personal goals, seeking out alternative viewpoints or proactively seeking and responding to professional feedback, self-leadership is about taking personal responsibility for your own actions. The ability to drive your own professional and personal progression can have a transformative effect on an organization. It is a hugely attractive trait for employers and is, of course, transferrable to all jobs. So sell it.
In your CV, online profiles and interviews give clear examples of any training completed or qualifications achieved within previous jobs. Elaborate on how this has developed you professionally. You may even highlight skills acquired in personal hobbies while volunteering or studying independently. Especially in the interview process, don’ t be afraid to parade your adaptability, curiosity, and openness (again, while balancing confidence and humility).
On the job, show you value feedback by asking for it, celebrate your accomplishments, and even more so, give examples of how you have adapted previously due to both positive and negative feedback.
Selling Yourself is a Skillset in Itself
Write an outstanding cover letter. If you don’t have much experience, a cover letter is the thing that can convince a hiring manager to call you for an interview. An excellent cover letter explains why you’d thrive in the role and why you’re truly excited about the opportunity. In other words, don’t just use a template when submitting a cover letter. Look at the personal attributes that qualify you for a particular job andhow you might need to present them differently from employer to employer. While this is more time consuming, it is certainly more rewarding.
In the interview, think about what non-obvious experience you can highlight. You might not have years of work experience, but what else in your background can demonstrate that you have the skills the employer wants? Think fundraising work, hobbies, other skills you’ve picked up, and personal anecdotes; experience doesn’t have to just come from traditional professional jobs.
If you have the skills, make sure you make the most of any opportunity to demonstrate them. Indeed, just showing you have an awareness of your transferable skills and their relevance to another role indicates that you are someone capable of seeing the bigger picture. That can only be a good thing.
While all these tips are helpful, it’s also important to be realistic about what types of jobs you’ll be considered qualified for. You’ll have the most success if you carefully target jobs you truly can prove you can succeed at, where you can point to specific evidence that you’d excel.
Ultimately, hone in on the reasons you’re interested in the role and company for a reason. Do some research on the company, and find a way to tie your life and educational experiences in with something awesome it has done. Remember, employers know you’re just starting out, which means your biggest hurdle and advantage is conveying your “experience” and how you use the lessons you’ve learned in life as a solid foundation to get started.
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