How To Get A Good Job With No Experience
The ongoing pandemic has opened new career opportunities for all kinds of job seekers. The way I see it, it is the perfect time to demonstrate your intent. If you want to get into a particular industry, make sure that people in recruiting positions know about you.
Employers are on the prowl for serious job seekers, from entry-level workers to qualified in-demand professionals, to fill thousand of positions. Employers are anticipating the end of unemployment benefits; many are ready to offer hiring incentives, education reimbursement, bonus pay and benefits packages to ensure the best candidates join their workforce.
If you are a recent graduate or looking to change positions or industries, you may feel constrained by a lack of experience. However, almost every job seeker likely has this frustrating thought at some point in their career.
Suppose you approach your job search with the right strategy: using your relevant skills and abilities to show employers you are the right candidate for a job, no matter how much experience you have. Here are some of the ways you can achieve the (seemingly) impossible and get a job with no experience:
Find a Personal Connection
Even though many jobs are filled using online postings, it never hurts to make a personal connection. Hiring managers are going to check references before they make an offer anyway. Knowing someone at the company who can put in a good word for you can help you get noticed even with a lack of experience.
Connecting with people on LinkedIn is a great way to keep track of your personal connections like your classmates, professors, past coworkers and bosses, and even friends of your parents! These people may not get you the job, but they might open the door or they may help to shine a little light on your application.
As you go to apply for a job online, search your connections to see if anyone works at your target company. Ask your connection if they would consider forwarding your resume to the hiring manager. Always apply through the regular channels as well.
Tell Your Story in the Cover Letter
I understand many people will argue that the cover letter is dead and those people are entitled to their opinions. However, I disagree. I think the cover letter is especially important for candidates going after the entry-level jobs. It’s one more tool you can use to tell your story.
You don’t have a ton of experience and you are probably competing with people who have 1-3 years of experience! Show how motivated you are and that you are willing to make the extra effort and write a really compelling cover letter. Be proactive and give them more reasons to hire you that aren’t on your resume.
- Express your work ethic. If you are applying for an event coordinator position, explain that you understand that many events occur after-hours, on evenings, and weekends. Tell them you will be the first one on-site to set up and the last one to take down and clean up.
- Tell a personal story. Were you the treasurer in student council or with your Greek social organization? This shows you have a natural affinity for the accounting or finance fields.
- Connect the experience. Do you have years of experience in wait service in a restaurant? Tell stories of how you delivered a positive customer experience and dealing with upset customers and how this positions you to be a more successful account coordinator.
Don’t Have 3-5 Years of Experience? Here’s How to Get It
In this guide, we’ll help you out. We’ll take a look at how to get the experience you need for jobs, how to address your lack of experience in interviews, and why you probably have more experience than you think. This way, you can break through the experience barrier and get the job you want.
Class Projects and Student Research
For instance, if you completed an ambitious project such as a capstone or thesis, then you could use it as an example of your ability to plan and stick with something challenging. The project may not relate to the field you’re attempting to enter, but the experience you gained completing it is still transferable.
The same is true of any research projects you worked on while a student, especially if they were with a team. In this case, you can emphasize how working on the project taught you to be a team player, meet deadlines, and adhere to high professional standards.
Extracurriculars and Clubs
College, as we all know, is more than just going to class, doing homework, and taking exams. You also have myriad extracurricular activities and clubs to occupy your free time. And in many cases, the experiences you gain as part of these campus groups can be relevant to a job opportunity.
In particular, if you held a leadership position in a campus group, then that’s absolutely something you could discuss in a job interview. Most (prudent) employers want to hire people who will stick around at the company and eventually move into leadership roles. If you already have leadership experience you can discuss, that can be a great sign to an interviewer.
Alternatively, a club or extracurricular experience could be an example of how you can manage your time, stay organized, and perform under pressure. Or, you could use it as an example of your ability to communicate well and resolve conflicts. Depending on the job you’re interviewing for, there are all kinds of ways to spin your extracurricular experiences.
For instance, maybe you spent your summer researching your family history and then turned the results into a digital book. You could use this project to highlight your writing skills, persistence, and computer abilities. Plus, it’s going to be a lot more interesting than all the similar internship stories the interviewer has heard.
And that’s just one example of many. Don’t discount the value of an experience you had just because it didn’t happen in the classroom or as part of your “official” college experience.
It’s easy to overlook your student jobs, writing them off as work you did to earn “pizza money.” But while your reasons for getting a part-time job in college might be strictly practical, such jobs can still be a source of relevant experience.
For instance, my first job in college was at the campus post office. I helped deliver mail to various departmental offices, and I also came in to sort the mail on Saturdays. In a pinch, I would even sub for the person running the information desk.
Depending on the position, I would emphasize different aspects of this job. But the point remains the same: any work experience you have is likely relevant in some way. Discard the idea that campus or student jobs aren’t “real” jobs.
Informational interviews are different from traditional job interviews. Instead of determining whether you fit a specific position, informational interviews are a way to learn more about a field or job. They can be especially useful if you’re attempting to enter a new industry and want to learn more about the necessary qualifications.
So how do you set up an informational interview? Unlike regular job interviews, there isn’t an application to fill out or a hiring manager to talk with. Rather, you’ll need to take the initiative and set up informational interviews yourself.
This is easier than you might think. To start, people love to talk about themselves and what they do. Furthermore, most professionals are happy to help people interested in their field (especially if you’re a student or recent graduate).
Informational interviews are great for learning more about what you should do to get job experience, but they won’t get you much experience. For that, you should consider an internship.
Even if you did do an internship or two while in college, perhaps you still lack the required experience. Let’s say you majored in a humanities field, did a couple of internships related to that, but now you want to work in a more technical role. In that case, you would likely benefit from doing an internship that lets you learn the necessary technical skills.
Certainly, it can be disheartening to realize that you need to do yet another internship if you already did one as a student. But the long-term benefits could still be worth accepting lower pay or weird hours in the short term.