So you need to get a job with no experience. The topic of finding a job is seriously trendy these days. And it’s obvious why that is so – the current economy caused lots of people let go and others left clinging onto their jobs fearing for their survival. This is why fewer people retire and therefore there are less positions available for the junior workforce.
How To Get A Job With No Experience
Fortunately, people my age (early twenties) do not know any other reality. When we’ve entered the job market, the economy was already tough, so there was no change to speak of. We had (or have) to learn the rules, not re-learn them. In this sense, we have some advantage over people who had to go through change.
This post is, however, not a rant about the economy, but rather a piece of holistic advice on getting a job without much experience. It will especially help people who are just at the start of their career, but I bet others will benefit as well.
Firstly, I’d like to establish that finding a job should be a job in itself. Going for drinks in the middle of the day with your unemployed friends may seem like a perfectly plausible idea. You don’t have a job, right?
This kind of attitude will make the process a lot harder. You’re supposed to be available in normal business hours and busy sending emails and calling prospective employers, so don’t fall for the whole ‘funemployed’ farce. Even after being let go or when you’re done with school, still try to maintain the working routine and get really busy with finding that job.
Mindset And Goals to get a job with little experience
I will assume that you already have that genuine will to work. This will later reveal to be extremely important, so if you haven’t already, determine why you want to get a job and how bad do you want it.
You probably expect I’ll give you a silver bullet for getting a free job without any kind of effort. Well, that’s not going to happen, because I am not writing fairytales. You need to accept that having no experience and/or education, it’s not likely that you’ll land a very well-paid job, unless your daddy is a CEO of a large company with an unlimited payroll budget.
You don’t get offered a great office job while serving a customer at McDonald’s. That only happens in movies. You will need to wake up, move your butt, and do something to even get that McDonald’s job in the first place.
But that’s ok, because everyone has to start somewhere. And you need to start with long-term goals about your career. Determining this will help you decide which jobs are the right for you and let you write the best CV ever. Answer these questions:
Do I have a strong passion that can be translated into a career?
How much do I want to/need to earn? (making a simple budget can help you with this)
Do I want to work part- or full-time?
Which jobs are currently open in the area? (just assume this one – you’ll do research later)
What will you do to get a job with no experience
If you don’t have a strong passion for working in a certain industry, the whole process is a bit easier; you will need to see which jobs are open for people with no experience and just jump into it. Types of professions that normally don’t require experience are:
various types of assistants – shop assistant, office assistant
simple restaurant jobs – fast food employee, waiter/waitress, cafe employee, barista, dish-washer
hotels – hotel maid or bell boy, table games dealer, cleaner
(phone) customer support
driving – delivery driver, bus driver, trucker, taxi driver
real estate broker
physical work – oilfield worker, construction worker
(online) entrepreneur – blogger, ‘small tasker’, content marketer (requires at least some technical knowledge which is easily gained online)
On the other hand, if you indeed do want to work in a specific industry that hires only people with experience, you will need to work to get it first – and this will most likely mean some or lots of free work. There! We’ve broken out of the non-existent “no experience – no job, no job – no experience” cycle.
“But I need to pay my bills!” I hear you screaming, because you’re exactly like everyone else, and yet there are plenty of people who changed their careers while keeping one or two jobs. Hey, no one said this would be easy!
So here are a couple of ways to gain experience:
Get an internship to get a job with no experience
While it will be much easier to get an unpaid internship, not even that will be easy. Be careful to ask people working in the industry to determine the right company to work in. Check out this presentation for more info.
Even if you’re not a student, you can offer free work to a company you want to work for. Set a certain amount (for example, 1-2 month) and they can employ you afterwards if they’re happy with you. The strategy is to make yourself indispensable in this time (more on this in the next post in the series).
Freelance to gain experience to get a job
Depending on the industry you’re in, you might be able to freelance and gain experience this way. When starting out, offer low rates or try working for free (for non-profits). Be careful though – try to only take on projects that will look good in your portfolio/CV. If you’re unable to provide a concluded project or proof of results, it might be better to pass it up and spend time on something that will look good as a reference.
Volunteer to build job experience
Similar to the previous two tips, volunteering will not only get you real-world experience that you need, but also give you connections that you might need in the future. People tend to be nicer to volunteers and will feel like they need to return a favor for free work. Aim for huge, world-known non-profits.
Start on your own to get job experience
If you don’t feel like working for someone else for free, you can start a project that will give you the experience you need. For example, if you wanted to work as a UI designer, you could redesign an existing app or make up your own – you could even start a business from such project!
Get a mentor to create job experience and expertise
Getting a mentor is also very applicable to all other suggestions on this list. Find out which are the top people in the industry and offer to work for them for free. Try to get introduced to them or just reach out saying that you’re really passionate and hard-working and that you’d like them to teach you a thing or two about the field. You can also just try to read everything they’ve ever written and study their life path – this strategy is not as effective for seeking a job (you can’t put it on your CV), but will definitely up you a level.
I have this list of skills, do you think I should expand it by telling people about my excellent interpersonal skills?
Soft skills can end up sounding like fluff. That does not mean that they aren’t valuable, just that they need to be substantiated. Ideally, your bullet points will highlight quantifiable achievements as opposed to responsibilities. That means specific accomplishments with metrics to back them up. It is more effective to tell the reader how you have impacted the company and how you have added value.
Other methods to get a job with little or no professional experience
The biggest issue for anyone looking for work is attitude followed closely by image. Have a positive attitude. When given the chance, work hard. Be eager to help and do more than you are asked to do. Ask questions, but not constantly. Think before you ask. Any way you decide to go with, try to get as much out of it as possible. Work really, really hard, prove yourself, meet lots of people, and get a recommendation at the end.
This is it for now, stay tuned for the next part of this series where are talking about how (and if even!) to write a good CV, find a job, and the proper way of applying to jobs – check it out here.
How many resumes should I send out to get a job?
How many resumes should I send out, and how much time should I spend on each one?
In today’s economy, it is not uncommon to send out 20 resumes before receiving a call back. Each resume should be targeted toward the position to which you are applying. That will mean that you have several versions of your resume. Also, every cover letter should be targeted toward the specific position AND the company. As for how much time you should spend, it will vary. It is much better to spend your hours finely crafting a small number of very excellent, tailored resumes/cover letters rather than spamming out a large number of materials that aren’t as good or as position-specific. Remember, it is not a numbers game. Spend eight hours crafting and adapting a resume to a specific position is far more effective than spending eight hours submitting 30 generic resumes to 30 different companies.