Chatting recently with a friend over dinner, she updated me on how her son was doing. In short, not very well. Despite gaining a (very expensive) degree and having worked for a few years in a great job, he was growing bored of a role that had no future and he wanted to move on to another career. “But with no experience it is impossible”, she said.
Wrong. It’s difficult, sure. But not impossible. As this lovely testimonial from a client shows, it is all about understanding where you are now, where you want to be and how you get there, taking into account your current experience.
So how can you gain your first foot in the door when you have no experience?
- Sell what you do have…
With buckets of energy and enthusiasm, you’ll be able to make things happen with fresh ideas and innovative approaches. Never underestimate that people like doing business with people and how well you gel with others is just as important as ay knowledge or experience you may or may not have. Knowledge and experience can be learnt…personality, not so much.
- You have more experience than you think
Experience gained from other industries, studies and clubs will all count as ways to evidence what an amazing employee you’ll be. And if you don’t feel like you have enough, then make it happen! Finding great work experience, internships or even delivering on your own (think online portfolio of your work), are all ways to show you can make it in their industry. Using websites like https://www.prospects.ac.uk/, https://www.milkround.com/ and https://www.studentladder.co.uk/ are all great starting points as well as contacting companies directly.
- When you apply for a job, it’s not about you, it’s about them
Odd though it might sound, in order to sell yourself you don’t want to just talk about you the whole time. And by that I mean don’t just do a brain dump of everything you’ve ever done, only pick things you can make sound relevant, either directly or by talking about your transferable skills. Always match your application to the job, going through the JD piece by piece, and explaining how you can match the criteria. For example, if they want an event manager who can build relationships with multi stakeholders, don’t worry if you’ve never worked on events before but do talk about other ways in much you have supported and built relationships with stakeholders.
- Network, network, network!
Nothing makes a hiring manager forget about the ‘on paper’ you and focus on the real you, like when you’ve been recommended by someone. Or when you personally know the hiring manager. There is a good reason so many (80%) of jobs are secured via networking and if you fell like you’re lacking in experience, proactively building your network can be a way of levelling the playing field. Go to industry events, networking activities and get yourself on LinkedIn along with the millions of other users.
- Luck be a lady
Never underestimate the importance of luck and being in the right place, at the right time. Very few professionals out there have never experienced this at some point in their career.