4 Ways to Get That Job Without Prior Experience

To get a job in a certain field, you need prior experience, right?  No experience, no job.  But no job… no experience.  It’s an endless cycle that can seem impossible to escape — but you’re sure that you have what it takes to be the next salesperson/blogger/receptionist/startup intern extraordinaire.  How do you prove it? Check out the list below.

1.  Need we say it again?  Skills.

The reason employers ask for candidates with experience is that they want people who already have the skills needed for the job.  You may have those skills even without prior experience — and if that’s the case, you need to emphasize it. Coding skills, writing skills, people skills, math skills and more are all invaluable when it comes to landing a job.  So make that skills area on your resume extra-spiffy—if you already have the skills, your lack of former positions won’t matter nearly as much.

2.  Get organized.

When you don’t have experience, it is imperative to stay focused.  Lay out exactly what you want in a job and where you want to go with your career.  Show employers that you’re serious about doing this job and doing it well.

Meg Guiseppi of Executive Career Brand weighed in on the biggest mistakes job seekers make, and came up with an interesting answer.  She advises against just updating your old resume “without first knowing who you’re targeting, defining your personal brand, and creating content designed to market your unique value proposition and resonate with your target employers.”

So don’t be afraid to take some time to hash out exactly who you are and what you want before you dive into your search — it could save you a lot of time and embarrassed silence down the road!

3.  Take advantage of technology…

You know the drill: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can all come in handy when it comes to finding a job.  We are big advocates of networking, but don’t forget that you need to clean up your online profiles before you start.  LinkedIn is obviously for business, but remember that your Facebook page can also be accessed by employers and should stay professional.

Christiana Wu, an associate director of MBA Career Services at Duke’s Fuqua Career Management Center, told newsobserver.com that LinkedIn is an especially important skill to use when you’re changing to a new type of job.  On the site, “you have an opportunity to highlight the depth of your various experiences and often transferable skills,” newsobserver said.

4.  …But don’t leave EVERYTHING to technology.

Matt Ellsworth, author of the blog Ellsworthy, said it best: “You’re better than your resume.”  Your resume is just a piece of paper — and you are infinitely more charming, interesting and reliable in person.  Plus, your future employer will be working with YOU, not a piece of paper or an online profile that talks about you.  Do what you can to get an in-person interview or even a phone call with someone at your company of choice.  It’s much harder to ignore a real person than a disconnected name on a computer screen, so this can only help you.

Good luck on your job search, and let us know how it goes!

  • http://www.executivecareerbrand.com/ Meg Guiseppi

    Thanks very much for including my tip, Katherine!

    I hope your readers will take the time to work on targeting and branding before they dive into writing their resumes and other career marketing materials. Doing this work will help them have better focus in their job search networking and interviewing, and will help them know what kind of information about them will hit home with their target employers.

  • Katherine

    Thank you for reading, Meg!  And thanks for your great advice!

  • http://twitter.com/mattellsworth Matt L. Ellsworth

    Thanks for the mention, the rest looks like great advice.  I especially like Meg’s advice

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