The biggest obstacle most new grads have to face is how to get a job with no experience, but a degree.
That degree counts for something, doesn’t it? We’d like to think so. But unfortunately, not all employers are willing to give you a chance, even if you did succeed in school.
In this post, I want to show you how you can jump over the learning gap and throw your career forward. How you can increase your chances of getting that job, regardless of your work experience.
Here we go.
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I think networking is probably the best way to jump over the experience gap. You know why?
Ultimately, what is experience?
Experience is trust. It makes an employer know that you can do a job.
And for a lot of jobs, unless you’re like an engineer designing a bridge or something, experience isn’t the only way to prove you can do them.
In these cases, experience is just an employer’s way of figuring out if they can trust you to succeed at the job.
Networking is a really good way to build trust. Networking gets you in front of people. It gets them to know you.
And often people hire people in their network. I’m sorry to say it. They often just go with the person they know rather than sorting through a pile of resumes.
So the more you can get in front of people, the more you can build your connections with people and build your network, you’re going to find that you have a higher chance of getting hired. That’s how you get a job with no experience.
I’ve got some great posts to get your started on networking:
2. Build your personal brand
Build your personal brand. This one is about trust too. People have to trust you.
Networking helps people trust you if they know you. But also branding helps people trust you.
So what does this mean? In another post, I explained how branding is about perception. And to some extent, you can control how people perceive you.
No, not perfectly. People suck sometimes. But there you go.
So if you’re building your brand, if you’re on LinkedIn, you can create a profile that makes you look professional and interesting. You can go look at job postings in your field, pick some of the keywords, make sure your profile has those keywords. Basically just make the case in your LinkedIn profile for why you are the perfect person to move into this field.
Then tell that story in a resume and in your cover letter.
Be engaging, be unique, be memorable. I know that’s a lot to throw at you, but ultimately, the more you can do with your personal brand, you’re going to find, the more opportunities you get and the more come to you.
Can you upskill?
I always use the example of an English grad, who has an English degree and doesn’t have any experience, who wants to go into content marketing. If that’s you, you could go take courses in SEO, you could take courses in digital marketing. There are a lot of things in the tech world that you can teach yourself.
So if you can upscale in a short period of time, do it. I’m not necessarily talking about going back to school. I’m not talking about enrolling in a degree for two more years. But is there something you can teach yourself like this week, over the next few weeks or the next month?
That will help you get ahead.
And if you can add that skill to your resume, it might be something that gives you a little bit of an extra edge when you go to apply. That’s how to get a job with no experience.
4. Create a portfolio
When I think about how to get a job with no experience, but a degree, I think about something I learned when trying to write a novel: show, don’t tell.
Even if you don’t have that experience, you can show that you have the skill.
How about coding, where you can put like stuff on GitHub and create things that people can actually see? If you’re trying to go into communications, you could create like a press kit. If you want to be a graphic designer, create a graphic design site. Like these examples, there are a ton of different fields where you can actually show your work.
If I’m hiring a graphic designer for Roostervane, I honestly don’t give a crap where you went to school, I don’t care if you’ve had ten years of experience. I want to see your designs. I want to see that you can actually do it.
And one of the really cool things about the economy we’re in right now is that it’s less and less about the credentials and education you have and it’s more and more about what you can do. (I mean, it sucks if you’ve got a lot of education like me–but c’est la vie).
So if you want to be a video editor, just make videos.
If you want to be a content creator, create content.
Do things that you can use to showcase that you’re actually good at this. And if you develop your craft while you’re doing it, that’s really great.
If you can get that stuff in front of an employer, it’s going to be a really big difference.
5. Use contracts
I think the contracts are one of the best ways I know how to get a job with no experience.
My first job at a think tank as a project manager was actually on a contract. And I think it was for a couple of months. But, because I came in and performed, I ended up being offered that job full time. The nice thing about a contract is people’s expectations are lower. They’re willing to take a chance, especially if they can’t find the right person or if they need someone to start soon. It can be hard to find somebody who can start next week if they really need something done.
So when you’re networking and you’ve done your job searching, be open to contracts or other short term things, because there’s going to be way less competition for those things.
Once you’ve got your foot in the door, best case scenario, it might turn into something permanent. But even if it doesn’t, at least you then have some experience on your resume to actually show that you’ve done this before.
The contracts can be a great way to get a little bit of experience or to get in if you have less experience.
6. Be bold
Be really bold. I think it’s one of the things that can really set you apart.
I used to walk into workplaces and talk to people. Nine times out of ten, it didn’t turn into anything. I got a door slammed on my face. I’d say, “Hi, I’m here, I’m looking for a job, can I meet somebody who does the hiring?”
Often the secretary is just like, “Yeah, I’ll take it.”
And then you never hear anything again.
But once I walked onto a construction site and talked to the foreman and that turned into a job because he needed to hire people and I was there.
Sometimes those kind of big, bold actions actually turn into opportunities. And the reason is, you set yourself apart from the other people who aren’t willing to do that stuff.
So it takes a lot of bravery (and the wisdom to know when this is possible–don’t walk into a high-security building).
But those are the things that actually really make you stand out in a job search and your experience might not matter as much.
Don’t forget to check out the related post- 11 of the Best Skillshare Classes to UpSkill and Unlock Your Potential