How To Get a Job With No Experience in 5 Helpful Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 31 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Whether you're new to the job market or searching for a career change, the challenge of how to get a job with no experience is one familiar to many job seekers. If you're applying for jobs but have no previous experience in this field or role, it's essential to know how to approach the process. In this article, we explore a list of steps you can take to get a job without experience and kick-start your future career.

Read more: Application Letter: Definition, Tips and a Sample You Can Use To Craft One

How to get a job with no experience

The job market can feel tricky to navigate at times. You need the experience to find a job, but you can't get the experience without working in your desired sector. However, it's more common than you might think to get a job with no previous experience. There are plenty of ways you can boost your CV and chances of success in job interviews. It may take some hard work and tenacity, but you can quickly realise just how much relevant experience you already have. Explore these five steps to learn how to get a job with no experience:

1. Identify the gaps in your CV

If you feel under-qualified for the jobs you're seeking, then it's time to do some careful evaluating of your CV. Read through some job listings for the positions you're aiming for, and make note of the skills and previous experiences they desire. Next, compare this with the experience you have listed on your CV and identify any gaps in your knowledge.

Completing this process can help you identify which experiences you're missing and give you targeted, achievable goals to pursue. By doing this, you can start improving a specific set of skills and work to get the experience you need. At the same time, you might also surprise yourself by finding more relevant experience than you thought, which can help you create confident, well-articulated job applications.

Read more: CV Format Guide: Examples and Tips

2. Build your network

When it comes to finding a job with no previous experience, it's important to have a strong network. By having connections in the sector you're aiming to enter and mentors you can ask for advice, you can stay up to date with the latest industry trends and learn about new job opportunities. Here are some great places to get started on building your professional network:

  • Networking events: Whether in-person or online, networking events are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and start connecting with professionals in your desired industry. In these events, you can practise your communication skills by introducing yourself and your goals to new people and make lasting connections that you can use throughout your career.

  • Social media: Many companies and professionals use social media to make connections and attract business, and you can do the same for your personal brand. Having a professional social media account may give you the opportunity to get in touch with people in the positions you're applying for, ask how they got there and plan your route into your dream job.

  • Associations and societies: There are plenty of organisations out there that bring together professionals from a particular field. From societies of fellow job seekers to associations for specific professions, a quick online search could help you find a supportive network to guide you through your career.

Read more: Networking Tips for Job Seekers

3. Build your experience

Now that you know people in your industry and which experiences and skills you need to work on, it's time to start filling in the gaps. Building your experience from the ground up can demonstrate not only your dedication to the profession but also your willingness to learn, which can help your CV stand out from other candidates. Here are some ways you can build some experience for your CV quickly:

Start volunteering

Volunteering is a fantastic way to show your investment in a particular area and portray you as an active member of the local community. Volunteering can take many forms, so try and target your volunteer work around your desired industry. For example, if you're looking to work in the marketing department of a company, you could volunteer to run a charity's social media. Additionally, you can ask to shadow an industry professional in their workplace, building your knowledge and helping you get a feel for the role.

Take a short course

There are plenty of short courses online that are free or low-cost across numerous industries. They offer an excellent way to build your expertise and show your dedication to continuing professional development. Usually, short courses are flexible so that you can study in your own time, they and come with numerous benefits, including:

  • boosting the skills on your CV

  • building industry-specific knowledge

  • finding networking opportunities

  • increasing your self-motivation

Find an internship or apprenticeship

If you're new to the industry or just starting out in your career, internships and apprenticeships offer a great introduction. Although most internships are unpaid, they can still provide practical on-the-job experience and are a great option for students. What's more, many of these roles come with qualifications built into the programme.

4. Focus on your transferable skills

Even if you've just graduated from school and are looking for your first job, the chances are that you have transferable skills you can bring to the role. Transferable skills refer to the core set of competencies and abilities you have that adapt to different situations and roles. Some valuable transferable skills that could apply to most jobs include:

  • communication

  • time management

  • organisation

  • teamwork

  • attention to detail

So, if you're applying for a job with no previous work experience, and the organisation is looking for someone with communication skills, the chances are you can draw on a time you gave a presentation in school or worked with a team to complete a project. Use these experiences to your advantage and market yourself as an adaptable professional with carefully curated skills.

The same principle is true for individuals looking for a career change. Take the time to consider the core skills in both your current and desired role to find the crossovers in the two jobs. You can help turn your lack of experience into some relevant experience and increase your chances of convincing a hiring manager that you can handle the job's responsibilities effectively.

Read more: 11 Top Job Skills: Transferable Skills for Any Industry

5. Apply for jobs speculatively

Once you've turned your lack of relevant experience into transferable knowledge from your prior experience, you can start making speculative applications. A speculative job application can refer to two things. First, you can send in a CV and cover letter to a company before they've placed an advertisement, explaining why you want to work for that specific company and what you can bring to the team. Alternatively, you can apply for an advertised post knowing you have less experience than the company requires. These methods both come with two primary benefits:

Gaining exposure in the industry

Getting into the habit of writing job applications and sending them to companies can be a fantastic way to gain exposure in your new or chosen field. Some companies might not respond, but those that do might be those that value your confidence and hard-working mentality. They might even offer you work experience or an internship you might not have known about otherwise, and it can help you build and expand your professional network.

Gaining feedback from industry professionals

One of the most valuable things you can have in response to a job application or inquiry is feedback from an industry professional. Every rejection is an opportunity to learn where you need to go next in your career and can help you keep evaluating the gaps in your CV. If you receive a rejection from a prospective employer or no response at all, follow up with an email or call to ask for feedback. They may be able to provide you with advice about actionable steps you can take to become a stronger candidate.

Through this method, you're constantly working on improving your professional practice. Even when it may seem like you have no experience for a job, you likely have more than you think. Plus, there are plenty of ways to gain experience, learning about your industry and yourself in the process.

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