How To Get a Job With No Experience (With Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether you have work experience or not, it's still possible to get an entry-level job in an exciting field. There are many ways to approach the job market and prove that you're a viable candidate, even if you haven't yet held a professional position. Understanding how to tailor your resume, prepare for an interview, and gain additional experience can help to show prospective employers that you're a competitive candidate. In this article, we explain how to get a job with no experience and provide helpful tips for making yourself more employable.

How to get a job with no experience

Understanding how to get a job with no experience in your chosen career path is essential to pursuing jobs that are within your capabilities and proving yourself to be a promising candidate. Not yet possessing the experience listed in a job posting doesn't mean they can't consider you during the application process. Here are some steps to follow to impress prospective employers, even if you have no experience:

1. Brainstorm your existing skills

You may not have professional experience working in the career path you've chosen to pursue, but you can still provide valuable skills, abilities, and extracurricular experience. Brainstorming and listing all your existing skills is a good way to visualize which of your unique abilities can help you in the role, even without professional experience. Consider transferrable skills you may have gained during your studies, such as communication, time management, or organization.

Listing your extracurricular experience is also a promising way to show your commitment, dedication, and passion, especially if you've held a leadership position. Extracurricular activities you've been part of in the community, or through your secondary or tertiary institutions, provide insight into your skills and interests, which can be appealing to prospective employers. Some extracurricular experience that can strengthen your job application may include:

  • student leadership

  • arts or media

  • studying abroad

  • volunteering

  • sports

  • tutoring or mentoring

  • academic clubs

Related: Understanding What an Internship Is and How To Get One

2. Gain short-term experience

There are many ways to gain experience relevant to your chosen career path before you apply for your first job. Many short programs allow you to gain skills or experience quickly that help attain a job with related requirements. Some programs may be educational, such as courses or training to gain particular certificates, or could be practical experiences, such as internships or volunteer work. Freelance work is also an effective way to gain short-term professional experience before applying for full-time roles.

3. Write your resume

A key component of applying for any job is constructing an effective resume. Your resume is the best professional opportunity you have in which to submit your experience, education, and certifications for consideration when applying for a job. There are two types of resumes that can help you show potential employers that you're a suitable candidate and shift the focus from work experience to relevant skills. These are functional and combination resumes, and here's how they work:

Functional resume

Functional resumes usually put more focus on your relevant skills and abilities, rather than on your specific work history. These resumes often group related skills together, breaking previous experience down into skill subsections. This makes your experience seem broader and directs the reader to the strengths you've gained. For example, if you're applying for an entry-level copywriting job, you may wish to create a skills section that includes abilities like creative writing, blog writing, or technical writing.

In a functional resume, especially when you're applying for a job that you don't have experience with, it's a good idea to involve your personal passions and endeavours. Any activity you've taken part in that relates to the job or its skills can benefit a functional resume. Refer to your list of brainstormed existing skills for ideas of relevant experience you can list in this resume.

Related: 5 Basic Excel Skills and How To Include Them in your Resume

Combination resume

Combination resumes are a mixture of the functional resume format, and resumes which list more work history like chronological resumes. They focus on experience and skill, but usually focus more on your individual skills than on the work history you've collected. If you have no directly relevant work history at all, you can include jobs you've held where you may have gained transferrable skills. Similarly, if you've never had a job before, you can substitute work history for an education or extra-curricular section.

If you do choose to include a work history section, list the jobs you've had in reverse chronological order. Include each job title, the name of the company you worked for, the position you held, and the dates you worked there. You can include any short-term or part-time roles here if you don't have any full-time experience.

4. Apply for entry-level jobs

The next step in getting your first job in the career path you've chosen is to begin applying for jobs that are attainable for people with less experience. These are usually entry-level jobs that develop skills and train those in the role. Entry-level jobs are usually roles with designations such as assistant, technician, or specialist titles.

For instance, in the field of marketing, entry-level jobs could be social media specialists, marketing assistants, or digital marketing specialists. These are roles typically given to recent graduates, or those making a career transition from another field or department. You can acknowledge that you don't have work history experience when applying for these, but focus on the skills that you have and can give you an advantage over other candidates.

Related: Understanding Entry-Level Jobs

Tips for making it easier to get a job without experience:

Outside of applying for jobs, there are other steps you can take to make companies more likely to hire you. Some of these give you extra qualifications that make you a more appealing candidate, while others appeal to the companies themselves to give you an advantage. Here are a few tips for getting a job without work experience:

Networking

A common way that individuals get their first job is by becoming proficient networkers. Knowing someone who works in an industry you wish to enter means they can endorse your application, or introduce you to hiring managers or department leads. If you're able to form relationships with those in charge of hiring decisions or those who can influence them, this can give you an advantage over other candidates.

You can build your professional network by attending network events, or reaching out to notable people in a corporation directly via phone or email. If you have any friends who work for a company you're interested in working with, they may be valuable connections to speak to about opportunities or job vacancies. Effective networking involves keeping up-to-date contact information and maintaining those important relationships. Networking can also connect you with suitable people to act as references when applying for jobs.

Related: 15 Entry-Level Jobs That Pay Well

Pursuing higher education

Education is an impressive component of your job application. Even without job experience, having advanced educational experience shows that you've pursued a higher course of achievement in your field. Even if you don't possess practical experience in a role, having a theoretical understanding of principles, processes, and systems gives you a significant advantage.

Often, fields such as engineering can be far more likely to hire individuals with master's degrees who have no professional experience, rather than someone with a bachelor's degree and relevant experience. Any opportunity to gain further knowledge, whether from a tertiary institution or smaller training program, is a valuable asset for job applications. Here are some examples of ways you can gain higher education or training:

  • advanced degrees

  • online courses

  • workshops

  • certifications

  • development seminars

Interviewing with confidence

Interviewing with confidence is an effective way to make an impression on your interviewer, which can lead to being hired. If you can convey to hiring managers you're confident in your abilities, it can help them see you as a capable candidate, even if you don't have previous work experience. You can show confidence in your interview by paying attention to your nonverbal communication. For example, maintaining eye contact, keeping an upright posture, and speaking clearly can convey confidence.

Confidence is key to conveying your belief that you're capable of excelling in the role. Hiring managers have an accurate idea of what the job entails, so be sure to be honest about what you can offer. You can highlight your eagerness to learn to balance your inexperience.

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