Landing a job with little or no experience

You’ve made it! You finished your training program, and now you’re out there trying to get hired. But all of these job offers are asking for someone with way more experience than you. What can you do about it? Never fear! You have so much to offer, even if you haven’t worked in the field before, or have only limited experience. Here are some tips to help you face the application and interview processes with confidence. Let the pep talk begin!


Showcase what you HAVE done

Have you done an internship, some volunteer work or educational training that you can apply in your next job? Highlight any relevant projects or experience, even if they weren’t part of a paid position. Get recommendations from a former supervisor, mentor, or teacher and talk up your soft skills. Whether it is on your CV or during your interviews, you DO have experience, and you can demonstrate that to your future employer. 

If you are still feeling unsure about what you have to offer, try doing a skills audit to paint a clearer picture for yourself. Another thing to remember is that all your past professional experience has prepared you for a new career in lots of different ways. Think about the transferable skills you have to offer in your new role. How has working at a fast-food restaurant prepared you for a fast-paced project environment? Why is your past customer service experience important when you will be working independently online all day? (Hint: you have developed resilience and a positive attitude to help you weather any changes or last-minute hiccups). Being adaptable and flexible is often more valuable to an employer than already having experience in a position. Show them you are ready to hit the ground running.


Let them know you know yourself

We all have a story, and this is your chance to tell yours. Whether you’re just starting out in the working world or doing a career 180 after years in a different field, future employers want to hear about it. Why do you want to start a career in this field? Why is this job a perfect fit for you? Why did you decide to retrain for a new career? What are you good at, passionate about, excited to learn?

By preparing and practising your story in the form of an elevator pitch, you can quickly and sincerely get your message and personality across. This is a moment where you talk yourself up. You should always be honest, but make sure you focus on what you have to offer and how you will be an asset to your new team, rather than the areas where you feel you are lacking experience. Many employers are more interested in finding a new hire who will fit with their company culture and adapt to a new position, even if it means they need to learn some technical skills or receive additional training once they are on board. 

Above all, be confident. Trust yourself. If you’re applying for a job, it is most likely because you think the company would be a great fit, you are excited about the daily tasks you’ll be doing, or you think you could bring something new or useful to the team you would be joining. You aren’t simply trying to “sell yourself” or convince them. You are communicating with another human being to see if you can work together. Placing yourself in a position of having something to offer rather than simply needing something from them will help you adopt a confident attitude. Think about your job search as a desire to collaborate with others, rather than a need to be accepted or validated. It’s a two-way street, and you do have some control here. A job applicant who knows what they want and who they are is much more appealing to a hiring manager than someone who seems scared or unsure of themselves. Pump yourself up and put your best foot forward!



Take action

Get experience now! Whether it’s an unpaid internship or volunteer mission, a day of shadowing someone in a similar position, or informational interviews with people in the field, get out there and do it. Investing some time in the process will pay off in the end, even if it means taking a day off at your current job or delaying your progress elsewhere. Do you want this new career or not?

You know all those skills you listed on your CV? The ones where you claim you’re proficient or an expert in this or that? Prove it! Invest some time and money in a certification or course, so you have tangible evidence of your skills. It may be a language proficiency exam or a software training course, but the more evidence you have for your skills, the better. You may not have done this exact job before, but the HR rep or hiring manager across that interview table will see that you take initiative to learn new skills, and you invest in yourself. 

Avoid going into an application process blind. You may need to put in some time to be the best candidate you can be. Don’t hesitate to research the company you’re applying to. Follow them on LinkedIn, read and share their posts. Maybe even leave some comments. Show them you are interested and are making an effort to learn about what they do. Do you know anyone who works there? You can reach out to them and ask some questions. Your network is an asset, and you don’t have to be afraid to use it. This is also a good time to revamp your online presence. Whether it’s a video highlighting your unique personality and skills, a personal blog or website, or your LinkedIn profile, make sure your future employer gets to see your best side online.


No experience, no problem

When it comes down to it, recruiters are looking for an ideal candidate, knowing full-well they don’t exist. If you can make a good impression and demonstrate you’re the right fit for a position, it can go a long way in securing that job offer. It takes some work, and of course simply “believing in yourself” is not enough. But we know you have what it takes to achieve your goals. Don’t you forget it!

Now how was that for a pep talk? 😉



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