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Job searching after college graduation can be a frustrating process. Many of us have experienced the frustration of applying for jobs, only to have our potential employer tell us that we need more experience in the field before they’d consider us for a job. But how are you supposed to gain that experience if nobody will give you the opportunity?
Whether you’re a recent college graduate, or starting a brand new job search, here are a few ways that you can help combat your lack of experience to land your dream job without work experience.
Figure Out Why You’d Excel in this Position
Employers look for a number of qualities when interviewing candidates. Skillset and capacity to do the job are one thing, but companies are also looking to invest in their company culture. If you lack the formal experience that you believe companies are looking for during the hiring process, passion and personality go a long way when trying to land your dream job.
Don’t Worry About Meeting Every Qualification
For many job seekers fresh out of college, job listings are intimidating due to the sheer number of qualifications listed in the advertisement. Not to worry though, every day graduates are hired without being a line-for-line match for their dream jobs. While you might not land a job that requires ten years of experience when you’re a first time job seeker, job postings that ask for 3-5 years of experience are well within reach if you can speak to your previous accomplishments.
Spend the Time Writing a Great Cover Letter
If you’re lacking in job experience, a great cover letter is a surefire way to convince a hiring manager that you are at the very least worthy of an interview. The letter itself needs to be convincing, outline your strengths, prove that you’re passionate about the position being offered, and that you’re eager to expand your skillsets to be a more well-rounded employee. You want to be sure that your letter will stand out among the stack of resumes.
Be Sure to Highlight Your Soft Skills
A lack of job experience is something you can’t change at the drop of a hat, however, now more than ever, employers are looking for candidates who display the soft skills required to make a business successful. These skills can include anything from communication skills, friendliness, personality, and the ability to adapt to new situations. Having strong soft skills can show employers that you are a strong candidate that ought to be taken seriously.
Present Any Valid Non-Work-Related Experience
Do you run a popular blog that displays your writing skills? Do you volunteer in your spare time? Do you help organize your church group’s summer activities? Although you might not recognize it at first, what you do in your spare time outside of work can say just as much about your skills as your work experience might indicate.
Look for Ways to Gain the Experience You Might Be Lacking
While we would all love nail the interview and land our dream job right out of the gate, sometimes that’s unrealistic. If you’ve gone on a few interviews and have had no luck, it might be time to revamp your resume, as well as look for ways to gain the experience that you’re currently lacking. Seek out internship opportunities, volunteer with an organization in your field, or working on your own projects might make you a stronger candidate in your next interview.
Put yourself in the prospective hiring manager’s shoes. In a competitive job market, where employers are constantly flooded with resumes of people who have a wealth of job experience, what can you say that will make you stand out above the rest? How will you benefit the group dynamic of the workplace? What unique insights and experience can you offer to offset your lack of on-the-job know how? If you’re able to make a compelling case for yourself, after a while, hiring managers will be able to see it as well.