Nowadays, figuring out how to get a job with no experience is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Companies seem to prefer candidates with established backgrounds to someone who has never rendered that skill in a professional environment. The reality is that even entry-level roles now call for a certain level of prior expertise. It’s almost as if one needs experience to gain experience–pun intended😉
However, fear not, there’s a workaround for this if you’re willing to put in the effort. Whether you’re a recent graduate or have just transitioned into a new field, implementing the insights shared here will propel you two steps forward and make potential employers see you in a better light.
How Can You Get Hired with No Experience?
Here are some proven ways to get your first job with little to no experience;
Sell your soft and hard skills, not experience
When reviewing job descriptions, companies place more emphasis on three key aspects: your level or years of experience, your hard skills, and your soft skills. These are the things they care mostly about, hence, serving as metrics to identify the best fit for the role. Since we’ve established that you have zero experience, you need to shift your focus towards showcasing your skills.
Start by thoroughly reading the job description and highlighting all the skills required for the position that you already possess. Since you have no work history on your resume, transform the work history section into a skills section. This is where you can highlight your top skills and explain to employers how these skills align with their needs. If you do not have a resume or are unsure how to create one, check out this article on building the ideal resume with no experience.
It’s important to ensure that the required skills in the job description are also the top skills on your resume. If you don’t have these skills, but believe you can acquire them in a short time, include them on your resume and leverage resources like YouTube or Udemy to quickly learn about them. Not too many people care about doing this but you need to be able to go the extra mile to get the best result.
People often say that earning certifications doesn’t equate to knowledge but rather to what you can do with the knowledge acquired from earning that certification. While I strongly agree with that sentiment, I also believe that earning a certification sends a positive signal to employers. It signifies a commitment to continuous learning, showcases your ability to adapt to different technologies or methodologies, and the ability to take action without hand-holding. Having these certifications on your resume can increase your employability and make you a more attractive candidate.
Apply to startups or small teams
If you are just starting out and looking to grow your career in a specific field, applying to startups is a solid way to go. Startups are newly established businesses that focus on developing and scaling a unique product, service, or solution. Typically, these companies begin with a small team of people who share a common vision and work together to make it work – you could be a valuable addition to such a team.
Many of these startups begin with limited financial resources, so they are always open to hiring individuals who are just starting their careers and are also looking to grow with a company. That is all you need to earn a comfortable income and still grow your career at an entry–level position. In companies like these, there is always room for professional development and career growth, because you get to try your hands on a lot of things and learn.
Build a Portfolio
When applying to a company without someone to advocate on your behalf or elaborate on your accomplishments throughout your career journey, Mr. Portfolio is always there to step in as your ally. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a good way to show employers that you’re not only good at taking courses or earning certifications, but you are also good at applying what you’ve learned. So, if you’ve been submitting applications without receiving responses, you may have been excluded from the hiring process because employers struggle to verify your claimed skills. And when they find someone else who has managed to do that, they may favor such a candidate. It’s crucial to curate your work and present it in a compelling manner so that companies will find it hard to say no to you.
Sell yourself better by using a cover letter
Another way to sell yourself to companies is through a cover letter. Yes, writing cover letters for different companies might be a struggle but sometimes it’s worth it. If you have enough experience, you might not need it, but as someone with no work experience, it’s a good way to pitch your skills, achievements, and even personal qualities to your potential employer. You just have to ensure that your cover letter aligns with the goals of the company and the requirements of the role. You don’t need to mention how good you are in calculations if the job doesn’t require it. Research the company and try to understand the company goals, vision, and culture. Only state qualities that you have or that the company expects from a candidate or that align with the company culture. That way, you seem more interesting and you will seem to fit into the company’s culture easily.
Ask for recommendations
If you’ve worked on projects, volunteered, or interned at any company, asking for recommendations is an excellent way to strengthen your professional network. It adds this personal touch to your application and demonstrates that others value and endorse your work.
Recommendations are real-world examples of how you’ve contributed to projects, which gives employers a clearer understanding of your capabilities. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door faster because it serves as tangible evidence of your skills and expertise.
Conclusion: Keep working on yourself
I understand that job search is a whole job on its own and can be daunting. However, the key to success lies in the commitment to self-improvement. It’s important not to get stuck in the stage of applying to jobs day in and day out. Take the time to reflect on the jobs you’ve applied to, understand why you might have been rejected, and find the time to address those areas.
As you continue on your job search, remember that the journey is as significant as the destination. Keep refining, keep evolving— and keep learning. The more you know, the wider the opportunities.