No Experience = No Job?

No experience = no job.  No job = no experience!  How can a frustrated job seeker ever escape this cycle?  It makes you feel like the system is rigged against you.  There are ways to overcome this barrier, but you have to be smart about it.  Here are some tips that will help you get your first job even without experience:


Get your foot in the door.   Once you get into an organization, it is a lot easier to get the employer to take a chance on you.  Even without the required experience, if the employer sees that you are a hard worker and that you have a good attitude, they might be willing to teach you what you need to know.  The key is to be willing to accept any position that will get you into the organization and to exceed the employer’s expectations of you.

Show enthusiasm.  Often employers are more interested in hiring a candidate with the right attitude than they are in hiring one with lots of experience.  Use your cover letter to show your enthusiasm for the position.  Allow your personality to shine through.  You can even phone them to follow up on your application; just make sure that you are confident and positive when talking to the employer.

Identify transferable skills.  Even if you don’t have any paid work experience, you do have skills.  Consider your volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and courses you have taken.  What knowledge and skills have you gained from these experiences?  The employer doesn’t really care where you got the experience; they just want to find a candidate who will do a good job.

Use your network.  One of the advantages of networking is that it is an effective way to overcome any employment barriers that you may be facing.  For example, even if you are lacking experience, when an employee at the company recommends you to the manager, your chances of getting hired skyrockets.  As you develop your network, you will find that more doors open for you.

Getting a job without experience is not easy, but it is certainly not impossible.  However, now that you have identified this barrier, you need to work on fixing it.  Start volunteering or get a part time job.  As you get more experience, your career will grow.  Take the first step today.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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