Maybe you just graduated a few weeks ago and you’re out in the market looking for your first real job. Or perhaps you’re looking for a career change and ready to try something total new. But either way, you’re probably facing a major challenge for job seekers – trying to get a job without experience.
Whether you’re a lawyer-turned-pastry chef or just framing your degree,
how to get a job without experience
Here are 5 Ways to Get a Job Without Experience:
Go in through a side door. So you don’t have a full resume of prior jobs doing exactly what you want to do next. That doesn’t mean you haven’t got any skills to offer.
If you’re great with social media and you want to get into fashion, see if there’s an opportunity to help with a company’s Facebook page or tweeting campaigns. Or, you are techie and good in coding, then create some applications or projects and prepare a portfolio to showcase your work.
Ok, you might not be behind the runway immediately, but it could get your foot in the door. If you’re an accountant who wants to become an event planner, see if a company is willing to let you do their books for pay, in exchange for some free interning hours shadowing the event work.
Promote your soft skills. Soft skills, for those not familiar with the term, mean those abilities that are not related to specific information or knowledge. Think great phone manners versus PowerPoint acumen, or being highly organized versus fluent in French.
The thing about soft skills is that they are underestimated and can be difficult to learn. It’s a bit cliché to put on your resume “great with people” or “really friendly”. On the other hand, if you can put specifics “excellent time management – balanced an 18 hour class load with a part-time job” that really resonate, it could help you get a job without experience.
And do your research to find out which soft skills are most valued by which types of jobs, for example, the soft skills important in sales are different from those in human resources.
Translate your experience. You might not have dead-on experience for the job you want, but you can articulate what you’ve done in such a way that it’s easy to see why the learning curve for you will be a lot less.
If you are just coming out of college, look at your activities on campus. Did you do a lot of fundraising for a cause? Tally up those numbers and translate them to sales – after all persuasion is persuasion. If you can say “raised $10,000 during a three day phone-a-thon” it indicates that you’ve got the people skills and persistence that could appeal to a sales team.
Work for cheap. Look, if you really want to do something in a field that you are new to, you’re going to have to earn it. If you know that the starting salary in your dream field pays rs. 40k/month, offer to work for rs. 25k (and tell them you expect for salary to be revisited in six months or a year).
Or, look for a part time position in the area that you want and agree to a reduced rate, and then work another job in your old career that helps supplement the income.
Work for free. Ok, it’s not ideal, because a job is meant to put food on the table, not be a celebrated hobby. But free is everyone’s favorite four-letter word. If your cover letter opens with “I’m looking for an opportunity to learn – and I’m available for free”, you’re likely to at least grab attention.
And again, it’s not forever. Ask for a three-month stint, to make it clear you don’t plan to be an apprentice for the long haul. Especially if you’re currently not working – you’ve got the free time, anyway, why not do something productive?
It’s not easy to get a job without experience, but it can be done.
Be realistic but optimistic. Take a hard assessment of what you have to offer, or ask a colleague or career services counselor to help you take stock of your work history.
Let others know that you’re hungry and open to opportunities. Network – you don’t have to have experience to sip a glass of wine and smile. The more experience you get at promoting yourself, the sooner you’ll find an opportunity and get a job without experience now, but not for long.