If you are just taking your first steps into the job market, you might be surprised at how difficult it can be to land a position without job experience. Many jobs that are described as entry-level still have experience requirements, often numbering between one and five years. That leaves many newly minted professionals in a seemingly impossible position as, without experience, it looks like you can’t get any job experience.
However, the situation isn’t as dire as it initially seems. There are things you can do to make you an attractive candidate to employers. Here’s how to get started.
Look for Internship, Apprenticeship, and Volunteer Opportunities
Internships, apprenticeships and volunteering are all potentially valuable when you need to get some experience under your belt. Most internship positions assume the person doesn’t have much or any experience in a professional environment. Instead, they examine the candidate’s educational history to determine whether they could be a good fit, which can be great for college students or even recent graduates.
There are paid internships, so you might be able to earn an income along the way too. However, while not all of them come with a salary, unpaid internships can still be valuable as an entry point into the workforce.
Apprenticeships similarly are more likely to overlook a lack of work history. As long as you have the core foundational skills or education level, you typically get a chance to learn everything else you need as part of the program. Plus, it’s relatively common for apprentices to earn an income, which can be beneficial.
Volunteering means working without earning a paycheck, but it does give you a chance to learn and develop in a professional environment. Plus, finding a position might be fairly simple, as many charitable and community organizations are in need of support.
Be Open-Minded When Looking for Entry-Level Jobs
While you might want to hop right into a professional environment when you start off, that isn’t always practical. If you’ve never worked anywhere before, you’re likely going to be beaten out by other candidates who’ve held a job somewhere previously.
During your search, try to be open-minded. Many jobs that don’t have experience requirements might not seem ideal, but they can get you started down a strong career path. For example, retail and food-service positions help you learn about customer service. Plus, you’ll be able to develop valuable soft skills like time management, teamwork, communication, and more.
Prepare an Eye-Catching Application
When you find a role you think you could excel in, make sure your application is attention-grabbing for all of the right reasons. Mirror the language in the job posting when discussing your skills, highlight your motivation and desire to learn, showcase valuable soft skills you’ve earned along the way, and be ready to explain how your capabilities align with the position.
Additionally, don’t discount non-work-related experiences that could be enticing to the hiring manager. For example, being in a role in a student organization might be worth discussing. Similarly, if you have completed projects on your own that are relevant to the job, those too could make it easier to demonstrate your abilities in a meaningful way.
Ultimately, finding your first job might be a bit challenging, but, by following the tips above, you can be well on your way to landing your first opportunity no matter how much job experience you have. If you’d like assistance locating an ideal position, the team at TempStaff can help. Contact us to find out more about our open entry-level jobs and see how our services can benefit you.