10 things you need to do if you're looking for a job but don't have much work experience
looking for a job can be a daunting task. the resumes. the applications. the recruiters. the interviews. it’s just a lot to take in at once, ya know? and it’s even more stressful if you don’t have the “right” level of experience as depicted in the job description. if you’re a recent graduate, you’ve probably heard something like “we went with someone who had more experience” more times than you’d like. and we all know how difficult it is to acquire job experience without a job when you need experience to get the job in the first place. notice I said it’s difficult…not impossible. nevertheless, whether you are an entry level or senior level candidate, here are some things you should consider doing if you’re looking for a job, but don’t have much [relevant] experience.
10). find an internship.
or an apprenticeship. or a residency program. something that is related to your field, of course. and i’ll tell you now – it may not pay a lot (if it pays at all). but that’s ok. the experience is what you’re after at this point. why? because employers want experience and most of them aren’t willing to take risks on those who don’t have much of it. that’s why. and at the end of the day, if you decide to opt into some sort of entry level program, you never know what you’ll learn and who you’ll meet that will help catapult you into the next dimension of your career.
9). link up with a placement agency.
maybe you don’t need an internship. maybe you’re a seasoned veteran in your chosen path who is looking to make a career change. that’s perfectly fine. you might want to try out a placement agency then. they get paid when you get paid, which means they are a little more invested than the average person to help find you a job that aligns with your skillset. don’t put all your trust in a placement agency, though. you should never stop doing your own job searches and anything they find should only supplement your own findings, not replace them.
8). be audacious.
you want to be successful and break into the career of your dreams? you’re gonna have to work for it. nobody’s going to give you any handouts and let you cut the line to success. period. you’ll need to take risks and put yourself out there if you want to make waves, real talk. and be assertive in your job search, too, because applying to one to three jobs a day just won’t cut it. you’ve also got to learn to anticipate the “no” while always being prepared for the “yes.” you know what that means? if the position you want requires more experience, find an internship that coincides with that same line of work. if they don’t do internships, offer to be their first intern. if that doesn’t work, you keep it moving. the key is to just stay ready so you’ll never have to get ready, which brings me to my next point…
7). update your resume.
i mean, it goes without saying that you need to make sure your resume is grammatically correct. but beyond that, you need to remember that although you may not have as much experience as you’d probably like, you can still get potential employers to take interest if you present what you do have in the best possible way. so in other words, your finesse game has gotta be on beam. and if you’re like most people, writing may not be your thing. lucky for you, there are people and services out there that’ll help get your resume right (i.e. me). the worst thing you can do is submit a piss poor resume to someone you’re trying to convince to hire you, but you already knew that.
6). seek out feedback from industry professionals.
you’re kidding yourself if you think you can climb the ladder of success on your own. that’s not how it works. and whether you want to accept it or not, you’re going to need the help of someone else along the way. so you might as well be proactive and reach out to people you know that can give you sound advice. if you can find someone who’s already working in the field you’re trying to break into, awesome. they’ll be able to give you niche feedback that is specific to your line of work. and if you don’t know anyone in the profession you’re interested in, no worries. where there’s a will, there is most definitely a way... and google.
5). attend networking events.
a lot of people use sites like eventbrite to find the “move” when they’re out of town or are tasked with entertaining friends for the weekend. but you could also use this as a way of finding networking mixers in your area, most of which are usually free. remember i talked earlier about how we all will need people at one point or another to help us go higher. well, networking events are great occurrences to do just that – meet people. make sure that linkedin profile is up to date because that’s what many people exchange these days in lieu of business cards. just sayin’.
4). invest in yourself.
if you don’t already have a lot of experience in the field you’re trying to break into, the more substantial experience you can add under your belt in a short amount of time, the better. professional courses and certification programs are a great way to do this. and a lot of them are available online in most cases. just be sure to do your research and make sure the program you’re looking into is legit – there’s a lot of scams out there. and then of course, if you can find a few workshops and/or intensive trainings to attend that are related to your field, that’ll help you out as well. these aren’t always free, because of the whole supply and demand thing. but if you do it right, you can leverage it to your advantage... so it’s worth it.
3). be protective of your headspace.
when you’re trying to make a leap in your career, you have to make sure you’re protecting your headspace. this is mainly because people hate seeing you do better than them. so they’ll say discouraging things to you like “girl, now you know you’re too old to be switching careers” or “i don’t’ know why you’re trying to get that job. you ain't even qualified.” and before you know it, that mess has seeped into your psyche and now you believe it. bottom line is – you can’t tell everyone what you have up your sleeve because they’ll try to deter you every step of the way with a smile on their face. you should also be mindful of what you’re watching on tv, the type of music you’re listening to, the books you’re reading and the conversations you engage in. all of these factors play a major role in your ability (or inability) to see something through until the end.
2). have a plan.
what are you going to be doing to pay your bills while you search for the job you want? i never understood people who weren’t gainfully employed when they said things like “i couldn’t work in retail” or “i just can’t bring myself to drive uber. they’re glorified cab drivers.” and it’s just like ok…. if that’s how you feel, what are you going to do? you can’t just sit around and apply for jobs all day because unfortunately, that position doesn’t pay. you have to get a plan in effect. a realistic one that will allow you to legitimately earn money to support yourself while you simultaneously apply for jobs. and that may mean you have to work a job that you don’t like, but hey. it be like that, sometimes. it’s a minor inconvenience on your road to success.
1). stick with it.
the process of finding the job you want can be very discouraging. but quitting won’t get you there any quicker. remember, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. and let’s face it – you already know you’ve got what it takes. now all you have to do is let the world know how amazing you are.