Lack of work experience should not frustrate you
I recently came across an article where the author delved into the concept of permission paradox. It basically means the inability to secure a job with no work experience and the incapability to acquire the necessary experience in order to get a job. This is a situation that continues to affect many job seekers in Kenya, with most first-time job seekers finding it hard to find any meaningful job as they do not have any experience yet most jobs require a minimum of 1-year similar work experience.
Ironically, many people with experience also find it hard to climb the corporate ladder or change jobs because they lack what employers call necessary experience. However, there are several ways that can help you can land the interview without the required work experience and finally get the job that you have been chasing.
In order to overcome the concept of permission paradox, you need to realize that upon application for any job, candidates are evaluated based on their potential to bring value to the company in future and your proven ability to deliver in areas that are core to the execution of the job. When applying for a job, bear in mind that you are marketing yourself. You are not just presenting a history of your education and any other thing that you have done along the way. Your skills are a product in the market so, how do you present this product so that it is acceptable in the market?
1. Write the winning CV
Your CV is what introduces you to the interviewers so before you can even get a chance to impress them with your skills, you need to make them want to meet you in person. This is often the toughest part of the process as you need to be a great candidate on paper without coming across as being too showy.
You, therefore, need to demonstrate your skills and clearly state your goals and achievements. The most important part of the process is to ensure that you have a good CV with the right structure so that it can get you an interview. Do not give the recruitment manager the job of looking for information in your CV because he/she won’t. Here is what you need to consider:
The introductory part is what will get the recruitment manager to read the rest of your resume. Keep it short and very precise. Understand the job you are applying for and the required skills and experience. This means that you may have lots of work experience in different fields but if it is not necessary to the job you are applying for, it will not help you to get an interview. If you have no experience, demonstrate what you can do through various activities you have been involved in and show the desire and ability to learn.
If you are changing careers, you should mention this in the introduction so that it is clear to the interviewer that you are interested in pursuing a different career path. Then, ensure that you show a link between your experience and the field you want to get into. This shows that you have something to bring on board.
Your CV’s structure ought to highlight the kind of experience you have that is relevant to the field. Remember, the requirements listed by the employer are simply a description of the ideal candidate, who, in most cases, does not exist. Therefore, do not be intimidated by a job advertisement if you do not meet all the requirements.
Employers will usually scan CVs and pick the ideal candidate, who comes as close as possible to what they are looking for. If you participated in club and volunteer activities while in school, mention this in your CV. The idea is to highlight what you have as much as possible. Even if you only have some internship experience, make sure you mention what skills you gained that are relevant to the job. This is most likely to attract the recruiter’s attention and get you shortlisted.
As much as employers argue that today’s graduates lack the necessary training for the job market, you must have gained some skills in school that is relevant to the job. Additionally, some schools are known to have very good training in certain fields. This means that the recruitment manager might consider you a good candidate based on where you attended school. So, if you are a first-time job seeker, ensure that your education sells you. You may also include class projects as work experience as they may have helped you gain the kind of skills that the recruiter is looking for.
Goals and Vision
As stated, interviewers pick candidates based on their potential to add value to the position. Use the goals and vision part to convince the recruiter that you are worth the risk and that your desire to learn and grow will be a great gamble.
Show that you have the right desire to learn, attitude and drive to grow within the industry. Employers also want to invest in a candidate who has the potential and desire to grow as they are aware that such a candidate will grow the company and continue to position it competitively in the market. This strategy is likely to land you an interview and give you an opportunity to discuss your suitability for the job.
2. Get an internship experience
An internship basically helps you gain insights into an industry by giving you the chance to learn and grow. If you are unable to land a job due to lack of experience, an internship can give you the chance you need to get through the right doors. It demonstrates your enthusiasm to get a chance to learn and grow in the industry.
This is also important for those considering a career change. You will almost always have to start at the bottom and an internship can be a great way to get you started. It shows that you are willing to start from the bottom as you are committed to gaining the right skills for the job. If you are finding it hard to get a job due to lack of experience, you might want to consider an internship as a way of gaining experience that will make you eligible for a job.
3. Build the right networks
Network, network, network! As unfair as it may sound, the world of business is still driven by who you know as opposed to what you know. Having the right skills is not enough as recruitment managers often receive hundreds of thousands of applications and it helps to have someone push your CV for you and make you stand out from the pile.
Additionally, some jobs are not advertised externally and the strategy of knowing someone who can fit a certain position is still very much alive. If you do not have any experience, it would be helpful to have someone help you get your foot through the door. Know the right people in the industry and let them know that you are looking for a job. They can help you secure an interview which will land you your first job.
4. Make use of social media
By now you know that social media has the ability to make or break you. Use your social media platforms to create a brand for yourself.
As stated earlier, networking helps you to get the right connections which can lead to a job offer. However, when you are fresh from school, it might be hard to have good connections that can get you a job. So, use social media to participate in industry discussions, share content and most importantly, connect and interact with the right people who can help you find a job. Additionally, some companies and individuals are increasingly using social media to announce job vacancies so network with them and you will get to know when a chance arises. This increases your chances of getting an interview as you do are not just a CV waiting to be read.
Linkedin gives you the chance to create a profile that potential employers can view and invite you for an interview. You can also share content which shows your interest and skills on Facebook and Twitter and become visible in the industry. This can help you get an interview as you have already demonstrated what you can bring on board.
5. Be assertive
In an increasingly competitive job market, it pays to stand out from the crowd. State what you want without sounding too ambitious as this makes the recruiter curious about you and increases your chances of securing an interview. The point is to get yourself an interview that better lets you discuss your suitability for the job.
You can politely contact the hiring manager and request for an interview after submitting your CV. The worst that can happen is being turned down and that won’t hurt you since you already do not have a job anyway. It can also impress the hiring manager and get you an interview as you come across as being assertive and confident of your capabilities.
Securing an interview with no experience can be challenging. Many employers will often ask for experience which you may not have as a fresh graduate. Worse still, even those with experience may not have all the requirements for the job and this situation leaves many job seekers lost. The fact that there are many job seekers in the market means that recruiters are bombarded with many CVs and getting a chance to be interviewed is just as hard as securing a job. So, make use of the 5 tips to increase your chances of securing an interview even with no work experience.