If you’re on the hunt for a job, you’ll know the drill; you need work experience to get one, but you can’t become experienced without first… having had a job. I know, it doesn’t make sense. Reading job ads, you wouldn’t think you’re qualified for anything, and it can be easy to get frustrated by how difficult it all is.
That being said, getting a job with zero experience isn’t impossible. Here’s how to get your foot in the door.
1. Identify your skills
Actually sit down and make a list of all the skills you have. Are you good at English? You likely have strong communication and critical thinking skills – both of which are highly valued in a number of workplace settings. Are you tech savvy? Good with numbers?
If you’re struggling to think of where your strengths lie, ask yourself what people come to you for help with. Think of the formal and informal experience, or personality traits you have, that would make you a good fit for the kind of work you have in mind. Once you’re able to comprehend this, you’ll be able to explain it to the person who interviews you.
2. Be realistic
If you don’t have the right qualifications – or any – you’re not going to be able to waltz into a position as a doctor, for example, so try and be realistic. If you’re applying at entry level, you can expect to start out in hospitality or even volunteering. At a time when employers are being inundated by more and more overqualified candidates, you’re still going to have to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the work you’re doing. It may sound lame, but every job you have in life will be connected to the next one, so you have to make sure you’re memorable and that you stand out.
Building your personal network is never a bad idea. Try and connect with everyone you know online, and then everyone they know. If you’re really cunning, you can even set up lunch and coffee dates to stay in touch with people you think could be useful to you in future.
4. Get volunteering
If you can’t find a job at first, and can afford to work for free, why not volunteer to get your foot in the door? These positions can be easier to find than standard internships. Try and find one that’s as close to your dream industry as possible. This will help you build both a network and get your foot in the door. Just make sure you’re not taken advantage of.