So, you’re fresh out of college, and a world of endless possibilities beckons you. All you have to do is get the right job, and then you’re on your way to the top of the ladder like the empowered soul you are. But here’s the catch: How can you really get hired for the job of your dreams when you have no experience whatsoever?
So how do you get experience? You get a job, of course! And how do you get a job? Only if you have experience. Does it feel like we’re going around in circles? That’s because we are.
Does this image remind you of, well, you? No worries, folks, because with a few simple tricks and tactics, you will find yourself on that ladder to the top in no time!
1. Get experience to get experience
Remember that vicious circle from before? The fact is that there is an excellent detour that will allow you to escape it: an internship. Apply for a short internship at the company that you want to eventually work for, in case they are hiring. If they’re not, then request them for an unpaid internship, for a period of at least two to three months. On the downside, you will not be earning anything in this period. But the pros far outweigh the cons, because if you can prove yourself to be an invaluable asset to the company during your short stint there, while simultaneously gaining the required experience, it will make them all the more eager to hire you on a permanent basis. If the company is not looking for interns, then try to find an internship at another company in the same field, so that you still gain the relevant experience.
2. Make your own experience
Internships are not the only modes to gain work-related experience. We live in a digital world where everything is at the tip of your fingertips. So, are you interested in a career as a web designer? Then create your own website, put all your skills into it, and include the hyperlink in your application. Do you want to become a teacher? Spend your evenings tutoring the neighbourhood children. Interested in coding? Why not create a simple program or app, and get it up and running? These activities not only help you in building experience but also makes potential employers sit up and take notice of your penchant for taking initiative.
3. Fine tune your résumé
You find yourself preparing a résumé to apply for that pesky job that keeps eluding you, only to realize that you can barely fill out one page! Don’t panic yet, because this is where you need to bring your creative skills to the fore. The first thing that catches the eye of a prospective employer is a neat, streamlined résumé. Choose a professional font (that means NO Comic Sans!), list your education reverse chronologically, and include anything that may either be relevant to the job or showcase your soft skills.
State your goals clearly, which implies getting rid of overused and abused adjectives like “motivated” and “hard-working”. Instead, paraphrase the job requirements from the advertisement to customize your ‘objectives’ section.
4. Focus on soft skills
Since you do not have enough experience for the job (obviously, otherwise why would you be here in the first place?!), choose to emphasize your soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork and communication. Did you help organize an event at your college? Did you tutor some of your friends and colleagues and they ended up succeeding? Did you deliver presentations, either academic or extracurricular? All of them will help paint a picture of you as a real go-getter, so don’t be shy about mentioning them in your application. Bonus: you just added one more page to your résumé.
5. Tailor-made applications
A common mistake that most rookies make in their applications is to forward the same content to every job they apply for. This is a strict ‘no-no’ as it makes you come across as someone who is uninterested and downright lazy. Do some research on the company in which you want to get hired, ensure that you are aware of what is it they exactly require from a prospective employee, and custom fit your résumé and cover letter accordingly. It may be time-consuming, but the effort is worth your while because your precise application will stand out from the monotonous rest, and increase chances of getting hired, or at the least, an interview call.
Also Read: 5 Healthy Habits Of Super Successful Women
6. Be yourself
Your résumé has somehow caught the attention of the company, and now they want to interview you. It is easy, especially for first-timers, to succumb to nervousness, and end up sabotaging their own efforts. So this goes without saying: the first rule for an interview is to stay calm and not panic. And the second rule is: be yourself. Remember, that who you are as a person is just as important as what you can bring to the table. So, smile, be cheerful and enthusiastic and talk about things that interest you.
7. Add a personal touch
Interviews can sometimes put you on the spot, particularly when the limelight falls on your relative lack of necessary experience for the job. This is where all those soft skills that you have acquired will swoop in to save your day. Try to incorporate your personal experiences to apt questions, and explain how they equipped you with skill sets that would make you the right candidate for the job, despite not possessing the required experience. Remember, in an interview, there are no such things as wrong answers (unless some facts and trivia are involved!). How you handle yourself when asked difficult questions goes a long way in ensuring that you get hired.
8. Attitude is everything
Apart from a positive disposition and handling yourself with grace, your attitude during the interview is a strong indicator for whether you are the right person for the job. So, maintain an erect posture, have a firm handshake, maintain eye contact (not TOO much, because that would be unsettling!) while answering questions, and display confident body language to assert to your prospective employers that you mean business.
Avoid frequent pauses, non-lexical fillers (“Umm” and “Ah”) and excessive use of words like “like” and “so” while speaking. For the shy and the reclusive, practicing in front of a mirror or with your friends will certainly help in overcoming your reticence. Most importantly, show that you are a team player because employers always prefer positive-minded people who work well with others.
9. Connections galore
If all your applications and interviews did not prove fruitful, never fret, because there is more than one way to skin a cat. Job fairs and career exhibitions are excellent places to meet potential employers in person, and find out what they expect from a future employee. Don’t expect to be hired on the spot, but use the opportunity to gain contacts and make connections. Always have your résumé handy, and remember to follow-up with the people you met so they know that you really want to work at their company.
10. Good references
Most employers take special notice of the candidates’ references, and could very well play a big part in whether you get hired or not. Always have two or three references at hand. Predominantly, two should vouch for your academic skills, so they could be teachers or college professors. The third reference should focus on your personal character, and they must be someone who has known you for a long period of time on a personal level, preferably be in a reputed position in a reputed firm.
11. Sell yourself
Proving your mettle in front of a panel of judges staring right at you is no less than a skill. Try to understand that what employers really look for is the professional caliber to perform the job and if you’re skilled enough, no company (no matter how big) will care a whit about your resume.
So upgrade your skills, level up your game, become learned, read educative books and turn into a live resume yourself to get hired by your dream company. Imagine that you’re a product and you’re out there to sell yourself.
If the employer still acts unimpressed, offer to perform a task for free or deliver solutions to a problem-at-hand. Be very persistent and make sure that the job needs you as much as you need the job.
It does not matter in what field or in which company you wish to get hired, and how daunting an interview or the waiting period can be, getting a job with zero prior experience is definitely not rocket science (unless you are applying to a position at NASA!). What matters is how you make up for that lack of experience by focusing on your strengths and making use of all available resources and opportunities.
Always remember, a true sign of empowerment is overcoming limitations in your own way, and aided by our round-up of tips to get hired, you will be well set out on your path to scoring the job of your dreams.
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