Have you ever wondered how to get a job with no experience? Job searching with limited to no experience can be frustrating and overwhelming, especially when almost all advertisements request at least 5 years of experience! Here’s how to get started.
Are you concerned about how to get a job with no experience? All employers seem to require previous work experience when advertising a job vacancy, even entry level professional positions!
This can be a HUGE deterrent for people starting out in the workforce.
Despite having no work experience, EVERYONE has something to offer an employer. After all, everyone starts somewhere in the workforce.
I’m going to show you how to capitalise on your existing strengths and capabilities, and how they can contribute to a competitive job application.
This post is about how to get a job with no experience
Identify your transferable skills
Communicating the capabilities you currently have, such as transferable skills, will help to demonstrate your suitability for a job when you have no work-related experience.
The best way to do this is to conduct a type of audit or stocktake of your capabilities. It can be difficult to recognise your own capabilities, but if you do this effectively, it will assist your job search and resume development significantly.
Identifying your transferable skills is critical for all job applicants! I’m yet to come across a job advertisement that doesn’t include several transferable skills.
Here’s a list of the most common and highly valued transferable skills to prompt your thinking. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but covers most transferable skills found in entry level job vacancies:
- problem solving skills
- digital literacy
- presentation skills
- critical thinking
- organisation skills
- time management
- detail orientated
- written communication
- verbal communication
- analytical skills
- relationship management
- ability to work under pressure/to deadlines
- customer service
- professional attitude
Choose 4-5 transferable skills which are appropriate to your unique skillset to highlight in your job application.
Undertake volunteer work
Undertaking volunteer work is a fantastic way to build skills, establish networks and to learn about an industry or role. There’s also opportunity to travel!
Quite often volunteer roles are similar to equivalent paid roles, so there’s opportunity to develop the same skills and knowledge you may need for your professional career. For example, sporting clubs have positions in marketing, communications and website administration. Positions can range from entry level to management.
Here’s one example – if you want to be a firefighter, you may wish to volunteer for your local Rural Fire Service (RFS) or State Emergency Service (SES). This will help to build your confidence, your ability to complete tasks and make decisions in high-pressure situations, improve your fitness level and demonstrate your commitment to helping others.
Working in a volunteer role can offer the same type of work experience you would get in a paid role.
Internships and other opportunities
If you’re currently studying, look for internships and work integrated learning experiences. These opportunities are a great way of adding work experience to your resume.
Many internships are offered during university breaks and can be found across multiple disciplines. Internships offer training, exposure to typical work environments and experiences you would also get in an entry level position.
Work integrated learning experiences are managed through your university whereby you can receive credit for units of study by participating in work placements (similar to internships) or industry projects.
Undertaking work integrated learning develops your transferable and professional skills, and consolidates the theory learned in your area of study.
There’s also the bonus of networking and establishing key contacts in the field of your professional career! Job offers regularly result from undertaking internships or work integration learning experiences.
This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning networking! There are so many benefits to your career networking can bring, it’s difficult to mention them all here!
It’s a great way to navigate the hidden job market. Simply asking people if they know of anyone who’s hiring is a tried-and-true job search method. Don’t underestimate how effective this is when looking for a job! Many jobs aren’t advertised as employers prefer to hire people who are known to them, or via their networks, as they perceive a higher level of trust and reliability in personal recommendations.
You’ll be amazed at the opportunities that come your way when you simply tell people what you are looking for and ask for assistance.
There are several ways to network to develop your career. Just a few include social media (particularly LinkedIn), attending industry events, joining leisure clubs and community networking groups.
To get started with networking, try connecting with existing networks by approaching your teachers, coaches, aunties, uncles and friends of the family.
You’re never too old to undertake work experience.
Work experience (or work shadowing) involves observing or assisting in the workplace, usually for short timeframes. Work experience is usually unpaid.
Similar to internships, work experience offers training, exposure to work environments and the opportunity to learn more about an industry or role.
Work experience arrangements can be quite flexible and are usually tailored around the attendee’s requirements.
Your supervisor can provide you with a sense of what skills, knowledge and traits may be required to succeed in the role which is great for career development purposes.
Even if you don’t have established networks, you can approach an organisation to request work experience. It’s helpful however to have some connection to the business who can vouch for you. For example, when I was studying accounting at university, I contacted the accounting firm my parents used for their business. This worked so well as my parents had a long-established working relationship with several employees at the firm and they were happy to meet with me and support my work experience placement. I gained my first professional referee for my resume through this placement.
Occasionally job offers can result for work experience placements too 😊
Showcase your work
Showcasing work you have done in the past, even if it’s purely just to help a friend or family member, can also be helpful to a job application if you have no work experience.
This can include any valuable skill or talent you’ve developed which assists others. Some examples include building a website for your parents’ business, mowing your neighbour’s law, selling homemade jewellery at a local market or babysitting.
All of these examples demonstrate initiative, responsibility, organisational skills, time management, communication skills and often problem solving as well. These transferable skills are valuable to employers!
Promote skills and experience from your interests and hobbies
Did you know that your interests and hobbies can have an impact on your career? Just like the other topics we’ve discussed above, your interests and hobbies can provide you with important skills, networks and industry knowledge which can be included in your resume.
Carefully choosing your hobbies can equip you with many skills you’ll need in your career. Consider the example of selling homemade jewellery at a local market we discussed above. This hobby provides a person with at least 6 key transferable skills employers look for in job candidates. We can elaborate on this further to include financial management skills (budgeting for materials and managing sales), customer service skills and the ability to work to a deadline.
All of these skills make a valuable contribution to a job application.
Developing a competitive job application using your existing strengths and capabilities is possible, even if you have no work experience.
EVERYONE has something to offer an employer; everyone starts somewhere in the workforce.
The key is to thoroughly consider your past experiences to identify existing transferable skills and to seek out other opportunities to further develop these skills.
This post was about how to get a job with no experience
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Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward
Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.