Thousands of college students graduate every year with high hopes and no experience and are thrust into the real world seeking a viable means of income. Some will have unrealistic expectations of the job market and will assume that they will land a high-paying, fast tracked job right off the bat. Of course, that is rarely (if ever) the case. If you are looking for your first job but fear that your lack of experience means that no doors will open for you, read on to find out our best tips of landing a job with little to no experience.
1Embrace your reality
Applying for entry-level jobs means that the hiring managers will expect fresh grads with no experience in the field. Don’t shy away from this and, instead, use it as leverage. Frame your inexperience as motivation to learn and a good way for the company to teach you its method of functioning without having to train any bad habits out of you. Highlight your potential as a great future employee who is curious and committed. A company’s attraction to an employee is mostly based on their personality and the way they react to situations and not necessarily what they’ve done.
2Identify your skills
Something everyone applying for jobs has to learn is how to identify your skills. Your skillset is unique and is not only formed at work. Extracurricular activities, sports teams and even a love of reading and being a good friend can all translate into appealing skills in the workplace. Write down a list of all the skills you can identify about yourself, including how tech savvy you are (and with what programs), your research skills, communication skills and problem-solving skills. Feeling stuck? Ask yourself: what do people come to you for help with?
3Know why you’re applying
When you first saw the job posting, something about it must have appealed to you beyond the paycheque. Understand why you feel you can do the job and analyze that. This is the feeling you need to explain to the hiring managers. You have to know what you are bringing to the job and why the hiring manager should want you. Be analytical and creative with this. Did your volunteering skills relate to this? Do you have a passionate connection to what the company’s doing? This is a very important aspect of applying for jobs and one of the first things a hiring manager will ask you.
It’s important to be confident when stepping into a job interview. It says that you know why you are there and that you can hold your own. What is not good is to be arrogant. This will apply for many years to come, since no one likes to work with someone who won’t take advice, but it is especially important for entry-level employees. Defer to your superiors and your managers. Ask questions, be curious and express your honest interest and real personality but don’t suggest that you are going to be the single most important person at their company. It shows an unwillingness to learn, and would you want to hire someone with that mindset?
5Start volunteering and networking
If you still have time or you’re not having any luck in your job search, try volunteering. Even positions that may not seem that relevant will help pad your resume and be a valuable learning experience. From there, you will also get the opportunity to network. If you show you’re capable in a volunteer position, it translates easily to a paid position. At the very least, you will have professional references to put on your resume.