How can you get a great job when you have no experience? How do you get that experience when hiring managers are not willing to give you a chance?
It’s an old paradox.
Thousands of graduates are asking the same questions. They think they are qualified to get a position that’s higher from the entry level, but the hiring managers don’t think so.
On average, Millennials are very well educated. In fact, it’s the most educated generation in history. Despite that, they are learning less. On average, a typical millennial was earning $33,883 annually between 2009 and 2013. That’s the lowest income since 1980.
How about that? All of the sudden, the entire education doesn’t seem to matter. Is that really the case?
Your education matters. Your skills matter. However, you have to develop an additional skill: knowing how to look for a good job when you don’t have experience.
Repeat this as a mantra: “I will overcome the experience gap.” We’ll tell you how.
1. Understand the Difference Between Education and Experience
Most recent graduates have a big problem: they think their education is the same thing as experience. That’s not really the case. If you ask employers, most of them will tell you the same thing: they feel like the majority of graduates don’t have the skills the marketplace requires. Why? Because they don’t have experience.
We may debate around the root cause of this issue for ages. Maybe colleges are not providing hands-on education. Maybe students don’t bother with internships and part-time jobs. Whatever the case is, the resume of a recent graduate has an impressive education section and a scarce experience section. That’s a fact.
How do you turn this fact to your advantage? You highlight your strength: the education. Mention your most important academic accomplishments. Include the relevant courses you’ve taken. Make these parts short and relevant, but do show how much you’ve learned.
2. Emphasize the Soft Skills, Too
Many other job applicants will appear with the same level of education. What will make you different? Your soft skills.
No matter how irrelevant you think they are, they matter. When a hiring manager is ready to accept a new employee into the team, they are very much concerned about their soft skills. How friendly is this person? How professional and responsive are they? Can they follow instructions?
In other words, they want to figure out how well you’d fit into the working environment.
When we say emphasize your soft skills, we don’t mean list them in your resume. A dry list of skills means nothing to the employer. You can do this in your cover letter: describe real situations that demonstrate your soft skills. You think you’re professional? How have you proven that by now? Write about a successful project you were part of. List your responsibilities and explain how you contributed to its success.
3. As for the Experience, You Find It
What about the experience section? How do you make it catchy when you don’t have many points to include?
There’s something you need to understand: just because hiring manager favor experience over GPA doesn’t mean you should start applying for no-paying jobs just to get some experience. If you’re ready for a good job, then that’s what you should be aiming for.
In the experience section, mention whatever part-time job or internship you’ve had before. Even if you had a successful Kickstarter campaign, it will make a difference. If you have military experience, you’re already a step ahead other applicants for entry-positions, since you can demonstrate your skills in a tangible way.
If all positions you like demand a higher level of experience, then you have to pave your path towards them. If, for example, you want to become a business psychologist, you can start volunteering as an educated psychologist for non-profit campaigns. If you want to become a social media manager, you can start creating social media pages and making them extremely popular.
4. Understand and Target the Right Type of Entry-Level Positions
Entry-level positions have remained the same across industries if you look at the job titles. However, the responsibilities have been changed.
In an interview for The Wall Street Journal, the Executive Vice President of a Boston-based bank explained: “Tasks are changing more rapidly than they ever have in the past. As a result, the career path for young people is changing as we speak.”
What does this mean for you as a job seeker?
You need to put that entry-level job in line with your career goals. Where do you envision yourself in 10 years? What starting position will get you to that goal? Plan your career path really well and start applying for the right type of job.
You have to understand what exactly the entry positions for your target industry require. If you need to obtain additional skills, you better start working on them right away. If you need some kind of experience, you have to know what it is. Then, get it!
We can’t emphasize the importance of networking enough. When you start looking for a job, you don’t just do it by following ads and applying to them. You can’t wait the right opportunity to come right at you. You have to search for it!
Create a great LinkedIn profile. It must show you as a true professional who’s ready to have their take on this industry. Connect with everyone you know! Then, connect with people your connections know. Find the influencers in your industry and connect with them, too.
Join relevant LinkedIn groups, where you can ask questions and enter discussions. Post on LinkedIn’s blogging platform to prove how knowledgeable you are.
6. Start a Blog!
Did someone mention blogging? LinkedIn’s platform is a great place for your content, but you shouldn’t stop there. If you lack professional experience, a successful blog can make up for it. First of all, the blog will show your personality. It will convey your knowledge and creativity. It’s a place where you can translate your knowledge into practical work.
Pick a niche! Needless to say, if you want the blog to support your job hunting process, the niche has to be relevant to your industry. If, for example, you want to become a linguistic specialist, it wouldn’t be wise to invest money, time, and energy into a cooking blog. Focus on linguistics and make this blog the best one in that niche!
This project has to be successful. Do your best to attract a great deal of audience through high-quality content that provides value. Why should someone choose to read your blog over all other results in a Google search? Because it will be unique, more informative, and better.
You’ll have to invest in some advertising, so you’ll attract audience that makes you an influencer. When you show up looking for a job with the status of an influencer, you’ll definitely get the hiring manager’s attention.
7. Never Stop Learning
What do you do while applying for jobs? You will blog and network, but is that all? No. You should also keep upgrading your education. Get informed about all trends in the industry. Take online courses, which will prove you’re ready to work more on your personal and professional growth
Expand your interests, too! Take special training courses from a niche that’s close to your industry. That will give you the upper hand over other candidates with no experience.
Will you overcome the experience gap? Of course you will! Just follow the tips we presented above and keep applying!
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