How to Get a Job With No Experience
In Job Search
December 18, 2018
The first step to launching your career is to learn how to get a job with no experience in the chosen field.
Millennials are far too familiar with all of the “entry-level” positions out there that require 2 years or more of experience. But how are you supposed to get the necessary experience if the entry-level jobs won’t give you a shot? It can be a challenge to get an entry-level job when you don’t have any experience.
This is a question many recent graduates are having to come to terms with in today’s job market. Not only has it become more difficult to land a position, its also much harder to even be taken seriously when you don’t have a lot of experiences to work with.
Perhaps you’re looking to make a career change and do a complete 180 on what your previous experience highlights. Are you a marketing specialist looking to get started in the healthcare industry? You might be asking yourself how you can transfer those skills or highlight the fact that you’re a hard worker and you’d be able to provide extensive value to the hospital or healthcare facility.
The good news is that it is possible to make a career change or find an entry-level job with no experience. Even if the job requires extensive amounts of experience or years of relevant experience listed in the job posting, there are several tips and tricks you can use to make yourself an attractive candidate for the individual reviewing your resume and application. You don’t have to start from the bottom in every scenario, and you can use the experience you’ve gained in other industries to change your career in an industry where you don’t have any experience.
The good news is that employers are always looking for individuals who can provide value to the organization, regardless of the experience they might or might not have. This means there is plenty of opportunity for those individuals who lack experience. There are many steps you can take in the right direction to build your career from scratch and demonstrate why you’d be a great candidate for their open positions.
How to Get a Job With No Experience:
1. Take Note of Your Current Skillset
What skills have you developed throughout your life that employers could find valuable? Almost everyone has a skill or two that an employer would find useful to their organization, its just a matter of recognizing that you have that skill. Are you great with computers? A lot of older workers are still behind the times when it comes to technology, which will give you a leg up on the competition with any job that uses a computer regularly. Not to mention the fact that the healthcare industry is constantly changing with the addition of a new and revolutionary technology every other month.
As employers increasingly look to incorporate new technology to speed up their workflow, drive increased revenue and attract new customers, employees are needed who are fast on their feet when it comes to learning and using new technology.
What about other skills like customer service, writing, software programs like excel or powerpoint, or even salesmanship? Make a list of the skills you can demonstrate on the job and realize that your time is valuable and you deserve to be given a chance.
The key thing you have to realize is that you have to understand your skills in order to market them properly. If you’re struggling to figure out what your skills or talents are, a good idea is to ask those closest to you. We can often struggle to be objective when we’re looking inward and think that some of the talents we have aren’t that special. Take the time to ask your friends, family, former teachers, and co-workers to get some ideas and understanding of what your strengths and talents are from an outside perspective.
You might not think of your ability to communicate with others as something special, but your co-workers might think that you have outstanding communication skills which can be used in every position you go after. Start making a list of your skill set, and then highlight that on your resume, application, and during your interviews. Another fantastic idea to get a job with no experience using the skills you have is to apply for positions that are seeking professionals with those skills you’re strong in.
You have to do some creative analysis when applying to jobs because the skills aren’t always going to be listed or required on the job posting. For instance, a Medical Secretary position might not explicitly state that you need solid communication skills, but the individual reviewing your application will take note of the highlighted skill and make the connection that you would be a good fit for the role.
Take note of your current skillsets and highlight them when you’re filling out job applications and interviewing. Effective marketing of your skill set is a fantastic way to demonstrate why you would be a perfect fit for the role, even with no experience.
2. Learn to Associate Your Skills to the Job
After making a list of the skills you’ve acquired, learn to associate them to the job that you want. For example, if you’re applying for an Administrative Assistant position, highlight how savvy you are with a computer and the organizational skills you’ve honed over the years. These are key aspects to the position and will get your application noticed, putting you ahead of the pack.
Other applicants will just list their previous experience and accomplishments. In those scenarios, there can be a disconnect for the individual reviewing the application or employer to clearly see the connections between previous stops, and the current job posting. Highlighting and associating your skills to the job is a fantastic way of demonstrating how you align more closely to the job than the other candidates.
Sometimes it can be more difficult to connect your skills to the position though. This is when you have to get more creative with your spin. Avoid lying on your resume, but it is okay to stretch things to make your skills seem more relevant to the position that they may be. Your job when applying to a new position is to get the attention of the recruiter and land the interview. If you can do that, you’re golden.
For instance, you have to look at the skills you’ve used in other areas of your life. Did you work as a volunteer with a local charity? Highlight some of the skills that you used in that charity and mention how they would be applicable in the new role. They don’t have to be exact skill matches, they just have to be somewhat transferable to your new role. Look for opportunities to leverage what skills and talents you already have, and you’ll be able to get a job with no experience.
3. Stay Confident in Your Abilities
No employer is going to believe that you can live up to what you say you can do unless you exhibit self-confidence. Honestly, who would? If someone says that they can fulfill all of the responsibilities on paper, but then seems to doubt themselves at every turn, it’s going to be hard to trust them when things come down to the wire.
Throughout the course of the interview, the interviewer will ask you questions about some of the abilities you’ve highlighted and whether or not you’d be able to perform those abilities on the job. You have to be careful with your verbal and non-verbal skills when you’re at an interview and you’re talking about your skills and abilities. Be careful with your speech and avoid using hesitation speech. Remain confident and demonstrate a firm belief in why you believe that you’d be the best fit for the job.
Although you are just entering into the field, stay confident in your ability to accomplish the requirements of the position you want. Do your research and understand exactly what is to be expected of you if you are offered the position.
4. Look for Unpaid Opportunities
A lot of employers these days offer unpaid volunteer work or internships to those looking to start their career off with a healthy amount of experience. If you can afford to take on unpaid work, be sure that you treat it as if you were being paid. The end goal here is to either be offered a full-time position for the employer in time. Another end goal you should have is to potentially score a recommendation from them for your next job.
Although this option may not be open to some due to their current situation, if you can make it work and you are driven to get into the field, this is one of your best options to pad your resume and land future interviews.
Think of these unpaid opportunities as a way for you to get your foot in the door, and determine whether or not you’re really interested in the field. One of the most important things about any job is the connections you have. Networking is a vital way to get a new job opportunity. Especially when you don’t have any experience.
Another way to look for unpaid opportunities is through internships. Internships will provide you an opportunity to get experience in the industry of your choice, and also earn recommendations and network connections.
Not every internship is a paid one, so you have to take your opportunities where they may come. If you’re struggling to find any internship, take the time to reach out to your local community and offer your volunteering skills. It’s extremely rare for a company or organization to deny someone who is willing to work several hours a week for free. And who knows, you might even land a full-time or part-time job later on when the opportunity becomes available.
If you can land an unpaid opportunity with a hospital, healthcare facility, or organization — you should work on building work relationships among your co-workers. If you know that there isn’t a full-time position in the cards for you down the road, then your main goal should be able to gain as many skills and experience as you can, and develop relationships with others that you can call upon in the future to serve as referrals and recommendations on your behalf when you fill out applications and take interviews.
5. Network in Your Chosen Field
Networking can be your best friend when it comes to finding a new job. More people are placed into positions due to personal recommendations from people they know in the company that those who cold-apply from outside. This is where your co-worker relationships from volunteer activities or unpaid opportunities will come into play. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for you to network in the field that you’re hoping to secure a long-term job.
Do your best to attend events, conferences, and other gatherings and mingle with those who are already in the field.
Making a solid connection with just a few people can be enough to get you a job in the future. These solid connections will always prove dividends when you later call upon them for referrals. However, be sure you maintain some sort of contact with them after meeting, otherwise, they may forget you.
For more information how to network properly and network in every opportunity that you find yourself in, take a look at our Networking Guide. We cover every potential networking opportunity that you might find yourself in. There are also plenty of ways that you can leverage these opportunities to build your network.
6. Actively Learn More
This can really apply to everyone throughout their careers. To make the most out of your situation, you should always be trying to learn new skills and gain more knowledge about your chosen field whenever possible. It’s important to remember that employers are constantly seeking ways to add value to their business. The number one way that employers add value to their business is through their employees and the skills they can provide.
The more skills that an employee has, the more they’re able to do, which means they can provide more value. When an employee can do more for their employee, they become a more attractive candidate. When you’re a more attractive candidate, you can set yourself apart from the other candidates who are being considered for the job.
Doing so will set you ahead of the pack, as many don’t bother. Once they’ve got a job, they just do what they’re asked and stagnate. Don’t be this person! If you ultimately become this person, you not only run the risk of falling behind your peers when you’re looking for new positions in the future.
When you actively learn new skills and increase your talent tree, you accomplish two things: 1.) You become a more attractive candidate, and 2.) You potentially increase your earnings.
When you seek a new job with no experience, employers will often offer you a lower salary because they are under the assumption that they are going to have to train you as if you are a newcomer. Instead, when you learn new skills and eventually land that job with no experience, they might pay you more because you are going to be bringing more skills to the table. Hiring and training new employees is costly for employers, and if you can demonstrate that you have the skills that can ultimately cut down on the onboarding and training costs, then you become a more attractive candidate for them to consider.
In addition, when you’re learning new skills, you are working for yourself and your future income. You might be asking how? But the reality is that when you have more skills to add to your resume and cover letter, you can leverage those skills to earn a higher salary. You can demonstrate that those are skills and talents that your employer or future employers don’t have to teach you. You’re already coming in prepared. Because they don’t have to spend extra money training you as we’ve mentioned above, you can highlight why you should earn a higher salary in your future job with no experience.
It might feel like a burden to take the time to learn new skills when you’re working a full-time job already and pursuing new opportunities. The key is that you have to find the time. You have to make time in your already busy schedule for learning new skills. The good news for you is that there has never been a better time to learn new skills and find resources that will allow you to do that.
There are plenty of free resources to learn new skills, or cheap and affordable ways to learn new skills. Some of the affordable options are Udacity, and Udemy. Take some time each day to schedule an hour a day, or a couple hours each week (whatever works for you and your schedule) to actively work on developing new skills to add to your repertoire. Regardless of the time you can carve out of your schedule, it’s important to ensure that you’re doing something. You don’t want to wait six months and then realize that you could’ve been spending an hour a day investing in yourself. Cause that’s what you’re doing, you’re investing in your skill set!
Each skill you learn and talent you acquire, you’re investing in yourself and your future. The key is that a little bit of effort goes a long way because it builds up over time. It might seem like an hour a day is a lot, but then you realize that after 90 days, you’ve already gained enough skills to increase your salary 10%. Take the time to invest in yourself by constantly seeking new ways to learn new skills, and look at it as investing in yourself.
Take the time to actively seek out new skills to learn and work to develop them to the best of your abilities. Learning something new is one of the best things you can do for your career and your own personal growth, and it will help you get a job with no experience in any career you decide to follow.
7. Showcase Confidence But Be Humble
Being confident in your skills, and education can be quite difficult when you’re applying for jobs and you have no experience. It might seem incredibly daunting to be required to show confidence when sometimes you struggle to even be confident in yourself and your abilities. The good news is that you can develop confidence within yourself, and then learn how to showcase that confidence to future employers, hiring managers, and recruiters.
The tricky thing is that you don’t want to come off as tacky or rude because you’re too confident. There’s a natural element to being confident that takes some time to develop. As an individual looking to secure a new job with no experience, you need to develop natural confidence that you can use in your interviews.
You also have to be confident in the things that you don’t know. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to tell lies when it comes to your skills or experience, and there is a way to demonstrate your confidence in your ability to pick up new skills and talents on the job. Employers are much more willing to hire individuals who are confident in their ability to learn and use the skills they already have to provide tremendous value to the employer.
Employers and recruiters won’t expect you to know everything, but showcasing your confidence in your ability to learn previous skills and gain new skills by your willingness to learn is going to set you apart from other candidates.
8. Highlight Your Personality
Arguably the most important thing that employers consider when vetting candidates is whether or not their personality is a fit for the organization and company. Determining whether or not a candidate is a good fit will determine important things like how well you will work with others, team dynamics, ability to learn new things, how you face challenges, etc. If you have all of the required skills and talents for the job, but your personality needs work — employers and recruiters will consider other applicants before they consider you.
The reason for this is because employers and recruiters want to hire people who are trainable and willing to learn new things with a good attitude. If your personality makes you come across as stubborn, you’re going to be perceived as someone who has a tendency to demonstrate a stubbornness to learn new things or change up your workflow in your new job.
Take the time to look inward and evaluate what makes you tick, and what excites you. Employers will frequently ask you about your background and what interests you on a daily basis. Being able to highlight your personality and provide a little insight is critical to landing a job with no experience.
In addition, you should seek jobs that align with your personality. If you find that you have a very outgoing personality, then you should seek positions where you’ll frequently be asked to interact with new clients, customers, patients, and provide customer service. In doing so, you can apply to jobs that match your personality and highlight that match when you’re talking with recruiters and interviewers.
Being able to highlight your personality and how it matches to the job even with no experience, is crucial to separating yourself from those candidates who might have more experience but lack personality.
9. Emphasize Your Motivation and Work Goals
One of the most common questions that you might face in an interview will be related to what motivates you and incentivizes you to work hard in your job each day. In essence, you’ll be answering questions related to your career goals. Are you really passionate about helping others? Do you like building things? Do you like solving problems? Highlight your motivation and career goals in your interviews and throughout your job applications to separate yourself from others who merely want to earn money.
There will be plenty of individuals who are applying to a host of jobs because they believe they are going to collect a paycheck and that’s the end of it. The thing that you have to remember, is that employers are looking for something more. Employers and recruiters are constantly seeking individuals and applicants who are willing to go above and beyond to work for them and provide value.
If your career goals and career motivation align with the company you’re applying for, you will create a perception that you will enjoy your job day-in and day-out. Employers and hiring managers don’t want to find and source talent that will hate their job each day just to collect a paycheck. They want to hire individuals that will enjoy their work and go above and beyond.
Don’t lie about what your career goals are just to potentially land the position, be authentic and demonstrate your passion.
10. Put On Your Marketing Hat
You might not have any relevant experience in the industry you’re applying to or for the job you’re applying to, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any transferrable experience that you can highlight. The key to making yourself seem like an attractive hire is to effectively put on your marketing hat and use your other experience to your tool box.
For instance, you might be graduating college but never secured an internship or had relevant work experience. That’s ok, but you can still use the other experience you gained and just transfer it. Instead of working in the healthcare industry, you could have been a cashier in college. Being a cashier in college means that you were interacting with customers, following proper guidelines and reporting procedures, and much more. Those skills are useful for healthcare roles. You just have to demonstrate that you do have skills from your previous experience that can be applied to your potential new role.
Take the time to share your real-life experience through the unpaid opportunities, internships, or other opportunities we highlighted earlier. Demonstrating that you’ve had real-world application of experience that can transfer over to the job you want is important in landing a job with no experience.
11. Seek Feedback
One of the things that you should always be doing when you’re trying to find a job with no experience is to seek feedback. The feedback you seek can come from a variety of locations. For instance, you landed an interview but ultimately didn’t get the job. One thing that you can do is to contact the recruiter or interviewer and politely thank them for the opportunity to interview and be considered for the job, and then ask them what ultimately led to their decision to select or move forward with another candidate.
You might have felt that you nailed the interview and in reality, you didn’t do so hot. It never hurts to ask interviewers for some feedback on how you did or what you need to do to become a more attractive candidate. They might provide some recommendations as to what skills, experience, or certifications you need to be selected in the future.
You have to remember though that some recruiters, employers, or hiring managers won’t feel comfortable providing insight as to why they didn’t select you because it could be a legal issue or a moral issue. In addition, they might feel uncomfortable explaining why they didn’t select you. In some cases, they might not even respond to you. Another thing that you have to realize is that they might not give you the full truth. You could have done terribly in your interview, and they will sugarcoat it to ensure that they don’t offend you.
Don’t get discouraged if they choose to not provide you with feedback, as they are under no requirement to do so. All is not lost though, as you can seek feedback from other sources.
Go through a mock interview with your friends or co-workers. Ask them to provide feedback on how you did, areas you can improve, and more. Your friends and peers will be able to provide some insight on things that you should do to have more successful job interviews and land that job of your dreams with no experience.
In addition, your friends and peers will be able to identify things that they don’t like and respectfully enlighten you, so you can avoid doing them when you’re interviewing.
For instance, your friends and peers might notice that you always tap your feet when you’re nervous. You might not realize that you do it, but it is causing an unnecessary distraction in your interviews. This insight will help you land a job with no experience.
12. Constantly Seek Entry Point Opportunities
Have you ever heard the phrase, “An opportunity in disguise.” Jobs can be the same thing. New job opportunities will arise from areas that you never expected. For instance you can be working in one role, and then situations change or evolve, and the next thing you know you have a new job or your role has transitioned into something that you’re more passionate about.
In other words, you want to constantly seek new entry point opportunities in areas or opportunities you wouldn’t have considered previously. You can apply to a bunch of jobs and not hear anything back because employers or recruiters don’t think you’re necessarily qualified for the position. If you’re conducting your research on other job opportunities with the employer, you might discover another job opening that you’re more qualified for. Employers and recruiters are much more willing to hire from within in a horizontal transition than constantly seek new hires and onboard new individuals from outside their existing company structure and organization.
In other words, don’t be afraid to take a job working for an employer in a role that you do have experience in with the intention to transition your job or career of choice. Employers and hiring managers are much more willing to take a chance on someone with no experience in a future role if they are more familiar with them or have already been working with the company for a while.
For instance, say you’ve been working as a Marketing Strategist for a hospital for the last 6 months, and over the course of that time you’ve been working to obtain your certification to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Once you hear about the recent opening for a few CNA positions, you already have an “in” with the organization. Not to mention, you have transferable experience working with the employer and can demonstrate that you’d be a better candidate because you don’t need to go through the onboarding process once again, which they’d have to do with a new hire.
Constantly seek new opportunities to get a job with no experience by potentially taking other positions with the employer or company and then transitioning horizontally to a new role later on when an opportunity or new job becomes available.
13. Be Open To Starting From The Bottom
Another way to get a job with no experience is to open your options to things that you haven’t considered before, which includes starting from the bottom in the industry of your choosing. You could have obtained an education and been told throughout the course of that education that you’re going to be able to graduate and immediately find a mid-level or high-end position of your choosing. Then reality hits, and you find that you’re struggling to find a job because you don’t have the required experience that everyone is asking of you.
This can often feel like a punch to the gut, but it’s a harsh reality that many of us have to face when we graduate and don’t have any experience in the industry of our choosing or the jobs we’re applying to.
One way that you can get around this and get a job with no experience is to consider the lower-tiered positions and start your career in an entry-level role. Then after a little bit of time, approach the subject with a human resource professional, hiring manager, recruiter, or hiring manager and demonstrate how your skills, background, education, and relevant experience should now allow you to get the job you were originally aiming for.
In other words, you’re essentially using the entry-level position as a tool to gain the relevant experience you need, so you can then take a step up to the position you were hoping to land originally. This might seem like a waste of time that you’ve already invested in your education, but the harsh reality of certain industries is that you absolutely need the experience to thrive in mid-level of high-end roles.
Think of these entry-level roles as an opportunity for you to better position yourself for future opportunities. You’re not necessarily giving up on the career of your choice or the dream job of your choice. You’re just putting yourself in a better position to succeed in the near future.
It’s important to remember that these entry-level roles also provide additional opportunity to move forward with the same company. Plenty of roles are temporary or contract roles to allow the company time to evaluate your work ethic, results, and determine whether or not you’d be a good fit in a full-time and higher-tiered position. Don’t be afraid to take an entry-level role to increase your chances of landing that job you’ve always dreamed of.
In addition, you can look at these entry-level roles as a way to network and develop connections which will prove valuable when those connections eventually find new opportunities and think of you for open positions.
Consider entry-level roles to create a solid foundation on which you and your career can stand, and you’ll be able to leverage that position moving forward when you’re trying to get a job with limited experience or no experience at all.
14. Think of Rejection as Training and Growth Opportunities
One fantastic way to ensure that you get a job with no experience is to change your perspective on the challenges associated with finding a job. One of the challenges associated with finding a job is to maintain a positive attitude. It can be incredibly discouraging to constantly feel the effects of rejection when you were passionate and excited about a potential job opportunity, and then they ultimately select another candidate.
The thing to do which will ultimately take some extensive practice until it becomes second nature is to think of rejection as training and a growth opportunity.
When you’re rejected, you have to look inward to see what you can do better next time around. Once you think about all the things that you can do better next time, you then find ways to implement improvements each time. Over time, you will find that you’re growing and becoming a more well-rounded individual and professional. As we’ve mentioned before, you don’t have to constantly reinvent the wheel each time you interview. Just take little things from each interview that you believe you can do better next time, and then implement them each time. Over time, you will find that your skills at interviewing have become quite extensive, and everything naturally comes easier to you.
Another thing you can do to avoid the pitfalls associated with getting rejected is to get moral support from those closest to you. There are plenty of resources available and friends or peers you can rely on to seek moral support when you’re feeling down about some of the recent rejections you’ve faced in your job search endeavors. You’ll find that the pitfalls of job seeker rejection aren’t new and that they can provide critical advice to you which you can then incorporate into your routine to grow from each experience.
(Article / Content Updated 2018)