One of the most frustrating situations a job seeker can find themselves in is when they’re told that they don’t have enough experience for the role. Sigh… I’ve been there; maybe we all have at some stage. It’s very discouraging as it’s hard to get experience if no one is prepared to take a chance on you.
But there are some things that you can do to help get yourself out of this career pothole and back on track to success. Here are some of the things that helped me to move forward when I was in this situation.
- Convince Yourself First
Start with yourself. If you don’t believe that you deserve the job then you won’t have a hope of convincing anyone else either. Work out why it is you want this job so badly? Hopefully, there’s more motivating you than a good salary!
- Jot down what it is that interests you while capturing your passion & enthusiasm.
- Link your skills & abilities to the job spec.
- Note what unique qualities you personally can bring to the company & role.
By the time you have done this, you should believe that you, at least, deserve a shot at an interview for the role. But if you weren’t successful at convincing yourself that you’re ready for the job but know that you’d like to be, then start working on applicable skills that will help you to become ready.
- Focus on Your Strengths
When your experience is limited, or non-existent, it can be a better idea to opt for a skills-based resume. This lets an employer see what you’re capable of and how it is relevant to the role, without necessarily needing to detail vast swathes of previous experience.
Everyone has strengths, but sometimes it isn’t clear how what we have done in the past is relevant to a new role. Chances are you do have experience in some areas that will stand to you in the position you’re currently applying for. When you’re compiling your resume focus on the strengths that you do have. If you have had any type of customer facing role in the past then customer service is a strength for your resume. What else? Do your friends cite you as a good listener or a problem solver? These are all useful skills that any employer wants to see on a resume.
- Examine the Job Path
There is a traditional route into every career; this is the way most school leavers train to do the job you want. Luckily, there are also usually back doors into careers for those of us who didn’t opt for this career from day one. Familiarize yourself with both the traditional route and the backdoor approaches; a career advisor can help you. You may not be in a position to retrain for a number of years, but the backdoor route may offer some feasible choices.
Perhaps there is a part-time course which will make you more appealing to recruiters. Alternatively, there might be an option to start work in a related role (that you might have more experience for) and transition into your perfect role within the same company. Some companies might even offer to pay for you to study at night so that you can make that move.
- Offer Your Services for Short-Term Work
For job seekers who need to start working as soon as possible, the suggestion that they make themselves available for internships or other types of unpaid work can be disappointing and downright impractical for some. Instead of committing yourself to a six or nine-month intern program, consider approaching individual employers to offer your services for a short period of voluntary work. When an organization is stuck for staff to carry out a specific task they might ask you to do it instead of hiring an expensive temporary worker from an agency. Giving your best while on these short assignments can showcase your abilities while you clock up some great referees for your resume. You can hand pick the companies yourself and remain in control if a position comes up.
- Network Your Way into a Position
This is an often overlooked way to give your job search a boost. If you are trying to break into a new career go to networking events where you can meet and talk to those who are already established in the industry. Go along with the simple objective of chatting with new people. Bring a business card along so that you can hand it out to your new connections. Explain that you are just starting out and that you’re excited to be there. Your personality & passion are your greatest tools in this situation. If you make a lasting impression with a well-placed industry professional you never know what might come of it.
Trying to land that first job when you’re straight out of school or college, or when you’ve made a career change can be difficult. It can require you to dig deep for self-belief, but when you know that you can do the job in question, it is merely a case of convincing other people that you can. This might take a little longer than we would like, but it can be done. Don’t give up, the more proactive you are in helping yourself, the more favorably potential employers will look on you.