Landing a job when you have limited experience has always been perplexing because employers want you to have experience already. Today, it’s even more challenging because the requirements have become more demanding even for entry level work.
Take heart. There are traditional methods that still work and innovative techniques that can help you get the job offer you want.
Traditional Strategies for Getting a Job With Limited Experience
- Plan ahead. Even if graduation day is a long way off, you can take steps now to enhance your future job search. Talk with your adviser and the career services center at your campus. They may have valuable suggestions for what you can do now to improve your future career prospects.
- Showcase all your accomplishments. Review all the victories in your life wherever they occurred. You have a track record even before you get your first paid position.
- Do volunteer work. Volunteer work can help you make contacts, learn skills and demonstrate your community spirit. Pick a cause you care about and propose projects that will make the best use of your abilities.
- Complete an internship. Internships are a great way to break into the workforce. Many employers hire former interns because they get to know you and value your contributions.
- Seek part time jobs. Summer jobs and after school work count. See if your local pizza parlor needs a new delivery driver.
- Format your resume to your advantage. Employers will want to see your full background, but you can combine a chronological and functional format. Highlight your academic and extracurricular activities.
- Focus on transferrable skills. Good employees are usually team players who can communicate well and solve problems. Go into interviews prepared with stories that prove you’ve got what it takes.
- Use referrals and testimonials. Ask key people to make introductions for you. Advance calls and testimonial letters will get your applications noticed.
- Network vigorously. Take every opportunity to network. Let people know what kind of position you’re seeking. Attend industry events and follow up on promising leads.
- Be honest. It’s wise to make the most of your accomplishments, but avoid exaggerating. Mistakes can be costly.
- Be willing to start small. Aim to get your foot in the door. You may be able to negotiate a higher salary later after you deliver results.
- Maintain a professional image. Dress for the next position you aspire to. Ensure your conversation and humor are appropriate for the company culture.
Innovative Strategies for Getting a Job With Limited Experience
- Start a blog. Writing skills are essential for many careers. Give employers a link to your blog. It’s also a great opportunity to let them see your knowledge and insight about your chosen field.
- Take advantage of social media. Identify people you want to meet online and do some background research. You may already have connections that can help put you in touch.
- Use search filters. Many job search engines have filters where you can sort jobs by the years of experience required. It’s an easy way to save time and eliminate dead ends.
- Put together a multimedia portfolio. Technology makes it possible for anyone to put together a dazzling digital presentation on a low budget. Use videos, photographs and work samples to set your job application apart from the pack.
Hard work and strategic thinking can make your job search successful even when you have limited experience. Network, get creative and be persistent. We all have to start somewhere. Let these strategies help you sell your potential to a new employer.