It’s an old conundrum: how do you get a job when jobs require experience, and you don’t have any experience because you can’t get a job…because they need experience. Nearly everyone with a career has been frustrated by that scenario at some point in their lives.
But the near-universality of that frustration is the silver lining. All those people eventually got fulfilling jobs! It’s often a matter of demonstrating what you can do for employers. Here are some tips on getting a job with no prior experience in the field.
Highlight your transferable skills.
Sometimes, you may not have skills in a given field, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have those skills. It means that you may have demonstrated them in another area. Say you want a job in healthcare marketing. You’ve worked in sales and marketing for a clothing retailer.
While the fields of healthcare and clothing retail may seem very far apart, marketing for each requires similar skills. You have to be able to know the customer base, know what appeals to them, and develop or contribute to marketing campaigns. If you have done this in one field, you have transferable skills in another area.
Craft a cover letter and resume that highlight your transferable skills. Tell prospective employers both in your cover letter and in an interview how your existing skills would benefit them in the job.
Focus on character traits.
Most employers are looking for a combination of hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills consist of the knowledge and experience in doing specific tasks, such as knowing a computer program or the carpentry skills needed in building a house. Soft skills are more like character traits. Being a fast learner or having the ability to make small talk with many different people are examples of soft skills.
Many job postings mention at least some character traits or soft skills. Circle or highlight the ones mentioned for a job that interests you. Then, develop a resume and cover letter that show how you’ve demonstrated those character traits.
Does a given job mention being a fast learner, for example? Think back to the summer job when you had to learn a brand new set of skills. Highlight those examples both in all your application materials and in your interview.
Look for temporary work.
Being a temporary worker can often give experience to people with no prior experience in the field. Even if you’d prefer a permanent job ultimately, temporary work can be an avenue to get there. Firms sometimes hire from their temp ranks.
Temp work often requires specific character traits, such as punctuality, dependability, and ability to learn quickly. By being a successful temp, you already impress an employer as someone who possesses these traits. You can also demonstrate transferable skills.
Temp work can often be a foot in the door to a field where you have no prior experience.
Work with a staffing agency!
At Expert Staffing, we work with companies wanting temporary workers for seasonal staffing needs, as well as employers needing talented part-time and full-time permanent workers. To learn more, contact us today.