The challenge of gaining the required experience for a position when every position expects you to have already it is a source of frustration for the majority of job seekers. How do you get a job in your field when you don’t qualify for any of them? How do you gain experience when no one gives it to you?
For those navigating this problematic aspect of the job market, one of the most important things to remember is that you often have more control of the situation than it appears at first job search.
Demonstrating to future employers why you’re a good fit will not only convey why they should give your application a second look but will also showcase your drive, problem-solving, and motivation; all of which are characteristics highly valued by recruiters in virtually every industry.
1. Articulate the Qualities Make You a Smart Choice
Think creatively about why recruiters would be making a smart choice by hiring you. Slow down and consider what made you pursue the job in the first place. Even if you don’t have the professional experience the posting requires, you do have interests and passions that led you to it. How can you articulate those qualities to the recruiter?
In an overview of finding a job sans degree or experience, Tylene Welch writes for Fiscal Tiger: “Any hobby can add up to a substantial skill set that will help you get the job you want. Some companies need a fresh perspective that’s hard to find in people who’ve worked in the same industry all their adult lives. Your lack of ‘experience’ in some areas might help you get your dream job.”
The point: the skills and interests you have outside of a professional setting can be just as workable regarding selling yourself to a potential employer.
In an overview of why nonprofits fail, business asset specialists found, “If the board thinks one way and the employees believe another way, these overlapping missions are missing the point of the nonprofit and whom they are supposed to be assisting. Long-term sustainability depends on everyone working together on growing revenue, addressing the organization’s culture and leadership issues.”
Whether you want to work for a nonprofit or a for-profit company, if you can demonstrate why you’ll further their mission you’ll prove you’re bringing something priceless to the table.
2. Highlight Your Soft Skills
The good news for those hoping to get a job without all of the hard skills or required experience is that soft skills are receiving a well-deserved reevaluation from organizations working to fill their ranks in meaningful ways.
In Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report, 92 percent of respondents believe soft skills like problem-solving, emotion control, and purpose is critical priorities that can have a significant impact on factors such as retaining employees, improving leadership, and building a meaningful culture.
What soft skills come naturally to you? Are there any you have cultivated through past personal, volunteer, or work experiences? What examples can you provide that demonstrate you use your soft skills in meaningful and practical ways?
3. Reconsider the Experience You Do Have
When you’re pursuing a job that you don’t have the apparent work experience for, it’s beneficial to sort through your past to see whether or not you have overlooked the fact that you are bringing some of the required expertise to the table.
As Caroline Ceniza-Levine pointed out for Forbes, you usually do have to demonstrate you have some measure of experience for a job. If you haven’t gained it traditionally, consider whether your volunteer, project, academic or personally curated experiences can bridge the gap for you.
There is a wide array of examples that prove direct educational or professional experience is not always a requirement for getting and succeeding at the dream job.
We live in a world where poets and comedians in Silicon Valley are designing AI personalities, and engineering graduates are achieving in fashion and design. Take note of how others how thought outside the box to apply the experience they have to a job they haven’t yet mastered.
4. Network, Network, Network
It can’t be said enough, but three times is a good start: networking is one of the best ways to get the job. Despite that though, networking is one of the most underrated approaches to landing the dream gig.
Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, told NPR, “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published. And yet most people — they are spending 70 or 80 percent of their time surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances [and] realizing that the vast majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.”
Working to establish meaningful relationships with other professionals within your chosen field is just as important as cultivating your relevant job expertise. Not only that, it is more important than relying on basic, internet-based channels of job seeking.
In their overview of how to do networking right, the University of Maryland points out that building stable relationships is often a result prioritizing others. Using your resources to help others is a method second-to-none regarding creating a reputation that will make others driven to help you and ultimately work with you.
These approaches are most effective when partnered with a continual pursuit of more knowledge and — of course — experience. The point isn’t that anyone can do anything.
The point is that before you deem yourself unqualified, you need to make sure that’s the case. Some jobs are worth going out on a limb for and taking the extra time required to consider if you would be a good fit. If you’re never willing to look beyond the positions your experience fits perfectly, you could potentially miss out on jobs that suite you perfectly.