Most job postings require work experience of some kind, so what do you do when you don’t have any qualifications or experience?
Co-Founder & CMO, HelpMyMUN
Make your resume stand out and set yourself apart from other candidates.
Getting an entry-level job with no qualifications or experience is not as hard as it might sound. The first step may be the trickiest, getting yourself noticed and invited for an interview.
You want to make your resume standout while setting yourself apart from the other candidates. When you don’t have work experience and a long list of qualifications, leveraging extracurricular activities you took part in over the years is a good way to help you shine and show your parental employer you’re a capable and well-rounded candidate.
Including a long detail list of every activity you’ve ever taken part is not the right course of action. You want to translate your extracurricular activities into attributes that will help you stand out and make you a more appealing job candidate.
There are so many benefits to extracurricular activities. Schools offer a multitude of extracurricular activities from sports, book clubs to debate societies and Model United Nations teams. These are excellent places to have fun while learning, develop leadership skills and form new relationships. (Making new friends is a great way to get a job, it’s not always what you know, rather who you know.)
Extracurricular activities have a proven track record of increasing positive self-development.
Let’s take Model United Nations (MUN) as an example of how you may use this in your resume. Model United Nations is an educational simulation where students learn about international relations and diplomacy. MUN trains students in public speaking, debating, critical thinking, and teamwork.
How can we take an extracurricular activity like MUN make you more attractive to potential employers? The experience in critical thinking, public speaking, and teamwork will help you become a more appealing candidate for potential employers.
Example – how you can include Model United Nations in a formal resume:
Boston University, Massachusetts -Model United Nations Member – October. 2017 – August. 2018
Attended a National Model United Nations conference and represented Canada; conducted extensive research on Canada to develop a position on topics including the illegal animal trade, black market smuggling and communicable diseases; delivered both formal and impromptu speeches to a large audience; during the conference collaborated with a group of fellow participants and created a policy paper on sustainable initiatives to reduce illegal poaching and smuggling.
Your resume is the first impression you make to your prospective employer. Providing a comprehensive summary of your abilities, skills, experiences, and accomplishments will help you stand out and land that first job.
Remember, don’t look at your resume as a simple experience summary of your professional history. Your resume is your way to market yourself for your individual brand.
Lauren Beck Kuchugurnyy
Owner of Comprehension Content
After dabbling in day trading, I decided to finish my degree. I earned my BA in Communications and began to pursue the industry of marketing. But I didn’t even have an internship (much less job experience) to qualify me.
It’s harder to get hired without experience, but how are you going to get the experience you need unless a company hires you?
I applied online and went to interviews, but nothing ever materialized. And while I found an internship, it wasn’t really suited to my strengths.
On a whim, I picked up the phone and called a company. I had actually applied online to this business previously. I think their application system asked for the years of experience–so who knows whether this feature eliminated my application.
The business owner answered the phone, and we hit it off. Even though I didn’t have experience in copywriting, she sent me a sample project to gauge my value. Liking my work, she provided an internship which led to a full-time position as an entry-level copywriter.
It was a wonderful experience that fully prepared me to eventually run my own business. Here are my tips for aspiring workers:
Don’t underestimate old-fashioned communication
It’s easier for a business owner to take a chance on a person they’ve personally spoken with. It’s much harder when the only interaction they’ve had is with a resume, LinkedIn message, or email. My boss later remarked that simply giving her a call made this difference.
Offer a low-risk way for the business owner to try out your skills.
While some might argue against working for free when you can’t land a job, what do you have to lose? I’m glad my future boss offered this solution–as it allowed her to test drive my skills. Just make sure you don’t commit to something that involves extensive work.
Don’t give up.
When I contacted my future boss, I was somewhat at the end of my rope. Never forget that hard work and diligence pays off. More than likely, some business out there needs your skills. It just might take some ingenuity to get your foot in the door.
Director Media, ThinkFaculty
How to get an entry level job is not as hard as it sounds. Here are 3 main tips that can get you going on that first job you so desire.
Meet people everywhere and ask for opportunities.
It is true. You need to network. Do not just ask around your network. Talk to people on the bus. Discuss your need with your hairdresser. Start a topic of job opportunities with the next person you meet at the church. It helps. People need to know your need. Involve everyone.
Improve your mindset.
Many times it is how you approach your need. You cannot be begging for a job. Never look needy. Show that you have a skill set that an organization might need to hire. So be confident. Get crazy. Improve your mindset. Acknowledge positivity.
Go online and search for jobs.
Online is the best place that keeps updating jobs. Keep a standard resume ready and keep applying. It works miracles.
Once you get these three things rolling you exponentially improve your chances of landing a job.
CEO & Co-Founder, MyCareerHacker
Networking and referrals.
The best way to get an entry-level job with no qualifications or experience is through networking.
Your family, teachers/professors, and your campus career services office are all excellent resources. These contacts can connect you to professionals who are either in the position to hire you directly or refer you to individuals who can hire you.
As long as your contacts have a high opinion of your character and potential for success, there’s a strong likelihood that they will vouch on your behalf; however, it is important that you be specific in your requests.
- First, research the exact type of position you are seeking.
- Second, research the companies you would like to work for.
- Lastly, see which of your contacts have connections to these employers and make specific requests.
With this approach, opportunities will soon line up for you!
Founder, NYC Search & Social
Take online courses or certifications.
My best advice to those seeking entry-level jobs without the usual experience is to take courses or certifications online, for free, that will boost your resume.
Online courses are available in nearly every subject, from cooking, to photography, to even legal categories – and anyone can take them. If you don’t have a college degree or previous positions, these are essential to add to your resume.
First, they show that you’re serious about this industry, since you’ve dedicated some time to take the course. Second, they show that you passed the course and are capable. Finally, they show initiative.
These are all reasons that I’ve previously hired people for my agency that didn’t have the more traditional experience we’re usually looking for.
Operating Officer at Suddora
Focus on the things that you can do.
I’ve seen many resumes land on my desk of people who have all the qualifications in the world but it doesn’t mean much by itself.
I can train people on commercials, I can find training for specialist areas of development but I cannot change somebody’s personality traits – if you lack experience then focus on other things:
- Do your research on the company and market sector
- Show a willingness to learn
- Talk about your desire to work hard
- Don’t be afraid to talk about areas of development
- Be polite, be timely and be honest
They’re all things that are as important – if not more so – than a piece of paper showing qualification. And best of all, they won’t cost you anything.
Bottom Line: Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.