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6 ways to start your career when you don’t have any experience

Posted by: Nicola Batty
Company News

You’re looking to kickstart your career but every job description you come across says “at least two years’ experience in….” and you stop looking. Whether you're just starting out, or looking for a career change, it’s a classic catch-22: you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. So what can you do? Thankfully, the experience required for a career in recruitment doesn’t always mean you need to have done the role before. Read on to find out how you can maximise your potential and get your foot through the door. 

1. Examine the job description

Most early-career level job descriptions will request 1-3 years’ experience in their given field, which could exclude you immediately. Rather than be put off, take the time to examine the job description in detail. Does it also ask for 10 other things that you do have? If so, go for it! While some businesses may pass you over if you don’t tick 10 out of 10 boxes, most will be able to identify someone who ticks 9 of them and be willing to work with you on number 10.

2. Target entry-level positions

Companies realise that if you’re looking for work straight out of school or university, you’re unlikely to have direct experience in your chosen field. Which is why entry-level positions exist. “No experience required,” are the key words to look out for. 

The great thing about an entry-level job is that you’re on a level playing field. Throw away the expectations of having worked in that career before and instead focus on the other areas of the job description which you can highlight.

3. Do your research

If you’re looking for a career in rocket-building, then you can be sure some engineering experience is essential. However, not every career path needs direct experience in the field. Do research into your chosen career path and look at how people get started.You may find that most professionals enter a career with little or no experience in their field. 

By knowing your career path inside and out, you’ll be better armed to make your case for a role. If you get into an interview and the hiring manager calls you out on your lack of experience, wouldn’t it be great to be able to say “Yes, but neither did [expert in her field] when she started out.”

For example, recruitment is a sales role at its core. So while you may not have helped people secure their dream jobs before, experience as a sales assistant could put you in good stead.

4. Show off your references

“References available on request,” is the line you’ll often see on CVs. This is absolutely fine but you may want to consider listing who those references are. You don’t have to give away any contact information, but by showing you’ve got more than one reference ready to go, you’re telling the hiring manager that people are willing to back you up.

Valid references can be anything from university tutors, school teachers, or your boss from the Saturday job.

5. Focus on your strengths, show character & don’t embellish

While you may not have the required experience, ask yourself in all honesty – can I do this job? If you think the answer is yes, then explain in your CV, covering letter or interview why you feel that way.

Maybe you’re looking for a career in recruitment but you don’t have any specific experience. This comes back to what we talked about earlier – examine the job description and know your career. Can you demonstrate positivity, resilience and good communication skills? Those are all vital recruitment skills that you need to shout about.

At the same time, don’t embellish - honesty is the best policy. Don’t lie about having experience if you can’t back it up. There’s nothing worse that working your way into an interview by embellishing your CV, because you’re bound to be caught out eventually. Instead, focus on your strengths and all the things you can bring to the role.

6. Gain experience

It’s an obvious one, but it’s the best way to overcome the problem. There are a lot of great ways to get experience in your future career path without having a job.

Look for apprenticeships, internships, volunteer work, or part time jobs. You should also consider job shadowing. There’s nothing wrong with contacting a few companies to ask if you can spend a week or two in their offices to see what they do and how they do it. That will show a future hiring manager that you’ve made an effort to fill a gap in your CV.

At Navartis, we hold “live sessions” as part of our interview process. This gives potential recruiters the opportunity to get a better understanding of the role and experience recruitment first hand. We feel this live experience will help you to gain a real understanding of the role which in turn will allow you to make an informed decision.


Further Reading

6 things not to say in an interview & what to say instead
5 ways to make a great over-the-phone first impression
6 essential interview questions you should always ask
5 CV cliches you need to avoid
5 essential interview research tips

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