A lack of relevant experience is the biggest complaint we hear from young people for not securing the roles they apply for. We get it – you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to gain experience.
It might seem like a vicious circle, but there are a few strategies you can use to help overcome this as much as possible. More and more employers state they would rather recruit someone with the right attitude and ‘mindset’ over someone with years of experience.
Which makes sense when you think about it.
Someone with genuine enthusiasm and awareness of their relevant or transferable skills for the role they’re applying for will definitely stand out – you just have to demonstrate this in your applications!
Here are five tips on tackling a lack of experience on your resume:
1. Tailor Your Resume
When applying for any role, with or without experience, you need to make sure you tailor your resume for the industry and specific job you’re applying to. Utilising your personal profile and key skills section is ideal for this.
Avoid standard or generic statements in your personal profile. A strong opening line will match you to the job you’re applying for and tell the employer that you can do the job straight away.
If you don’t have previous experience, it’s a good idea to pick up on the skills mentioned in the job advert and tell the employer where and why you have these skills. Don’t make any assumptions – make it super easy for them to see why you’re a great candidate.
2. Focus on Transferable Skills
Even though you might not have the same previous experience or job title on your resume, there are bound to be several cross overs in your skillset that you can pitch to the employer and use to highlight why they should hire you.
Why else would you be applying for the job if you didn’t have the skills needed?
Again, make sure you use the job description and person specification and relate everything on your resume to this as much as possible. In your key skills section, bullet point the essential skills mentioned in the job description and back them up with an example of where you have achieved this skill. In your summary of the roles you have had so far, do the same – bullet point the skills mentioned and provide an example of how you meet them based on the experience from that job.
Continuously highlighting these skills will help demonstrate to the employer you can do the job.
3. Think About the Language You Use
Sometimes, the same job has a different job title in different companies, but it’s not just job titles. A company might use a very distinct language style that you can pick up from the job description and through researching the company.
Match your resume language to the language the company uses. For example, if they have a more formal style, keep your application language formal too. If they’re more modern and colloquial, again, match this with your application. This shows attention to detail but can also indicate to the employer you’re a suitable candidate as you’re already speaking their language.
4. DO something relevant
If you’ve been applying for a particular role or have been trying to get into a specific industry and not having any luck, then it might be time to get a bit more proactive!
There are so many opportunities to gain relevant experience now:
- Through offering up some time to volunteer.
- Approaching companies directly to see if you can gain work experience.
- There are even virtual work experience programs you can do from the comfort of your own home.
These are all great ways to achieve that relevant experience for your resume and prove to future employers you’re serious about breaking into the industry.
If you’re getting tired of not getting anywhere, then this is a great way to feel proactive, gain the experience and skills you want and give your resume – and your mindset – a positive boost!
5. Be Confident!
Confidence is key! You’ve got to be your own biggest fan and celebrate your achievements and skills. This doesn’t mean getting egotistical; it means having a strong awareness of your strengths, how your strengths/abilities match the roles you want to do and articulating this positively to an employer.
Practice objection handling so that if an employer asks you about your experience, you don’t say you haven’t got any – you turn it around, so something like ‘The closest experience I have for this role was an experience I had at school when I did ABC and achieved XYZ. I achieved THIS, which means I have THESE skills which line up well with THIS part of the job with yourselves.’
This is what will impress a potential employer – positive and proactive!
Don’t apply for 100 jobs a day and not hear back. 9/10 times if you’re not getting anywhere, it’s not because of experience or a lack of jobs, but how you’re applying and how you’re marketing yourself to employers.
Always keep a timeline of activity and if you’re not getting the response you want, refresh what you’re doing and seek extra advice where you can.
In need of some refreshers on writing a resume that lands interviews? We’ve got you covered! Check out our previous blog post here.