When you are looking for your first job or changing careers, lack of experience can be a huge obstacle. If you’re tired of not applying because you’re not qualified, change your perspective. These five strategies can help you get past the frustrating experience requirement.
Take a Chance
Think of job descriptions as a wish list instead of a checklist. Very few people are a 100% qualified for any position. Although most jobs require certain skills and training, companies understand they are searching for the best rather than the perfect fit. If your limited work experience is one of the few things holding you back, send an application anyway. Highlight your ability to adapt and learn quickly. Smart organizations recognize the value of entry-level employees; they may be willing to take a chance on you.
Consider Everything You’ve Done
Just because you don’t have on-the-job experience doesn’t mean you don’t have relevant experience. Make a list of all your activities including school programs, internships, volunteer work, freelancing and/or side gigs. Maybe you haven’t officially managed a project in a corporate setting, but you coordinated all the publicity for a local charity’s 5k run last year. Guess what? That counts as experience.
Use Your Network
Without an extensive resume, you may need some extra help to land an interview. Don’t be shy. Ask others for assistance. Tell your friends, family and acquaintances about your employment search. Someone who knows you, even indirectly, can vouch for your strong work ethic and your impressive skill set. Employers often overlook limited experience when a candidate is highly recommended.
Partner With a Staffing Firm
Finding your full-time dream job usually takes time. However, while you are waiting, you can gain experience AND earn a paycheck. Many staffing firms and employment agencies offer a variety of temporary placements. Because these positions are fill-in, experience is not as important. As a bonus, you can experiment with different working environments, make professional connections and get your foot in the door at great companies.
Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection
Looking for employment isn’t for the faint of heart. You may feel as though most of your resumes are disappearing into a black hole, your interviews aren’t going as planned and you’ve heard the phrase “No thanks” more times than you can count. Make no mistake about it, rejection feels terrible. The trick is not to let the fear of failure stop you from succeeding. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself (or worse yet giving up), get back up, brush yourself off and think of something you’ve learned from your latest experience. As novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett once wrote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” And by the way, trying again does get easier with practice.
Is Job Hunting Harder Than You Thought?
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