Some of our most popular posts have been about how to get hired for a job when other candidates have the experience the employer is asking for and you don’t. It’s not surprising this is a hot topic right now, considering how much the pandemic has impacted the job market.
You may be fresh out of school and looking for your first job at a time when unemployment is high and there’s a lot of competition. Or you may be trying to switch up your career path, whether it’s to follow a passion or because your current industry is struggling.
So, here’s a round-up of our top tips for getting the competitive edge — and the job.
Include unpaid roles on your resume.
Just because you didn’t get paid to volunteer at the animal shelter, organize your sister’s wedding or act as treasurer of your club, you still used skills that employers want: leadership, planning, time management, teamwork, reliability, work ethic and so on.
A skills-based resume format, rather than a chronological one, is the best way to get hiring managers focused these aspects of your experience.
Highlight transferrable skills.
“Transferrable” means experience that’s valuable in many different types of jobs. For example, if you’ve ever worked in a customer-facing position, your ability to provide a good customer experience, deliver timely service and resolve problems will be assets in any other such position.
Expand on your soft skills.
Most employers these days know that it takes more than familiarity with the job to make a good employee — one that will help boost the company’s productivity. Rather than just a basic list of your duties, explain how you used your soft skills to perform successfully.
The most-wanted soft skills are communication (with team members, supervisors and customers), computer literacy, ability to work under pressure, positive attitude and creativity/problem-solving.
Sneak your foot in the door.
While everyone else goes the orthodox route of submitting resumes, try these techniques for jumping the line. They may be your best chance to show you can do the job just as well as the candidates who look better on paper.
- Offer a deal where you work for less than the standard salary, or even as an unpaid intern, for a specific amount of time, with the agreement that you’ll be reviewed for a pay raise at the end of that period.
- Start as a temporary employee or get into a temp-to-hire program.
- Take any job available at the company you want to work for. Once in, it will be easier to change departments when the job you really want opens up.
Job boards are only the beginning (and maybe not even your best option). Many jobs are never even advertised — you need to know someone at the company. So put out the word that you’re jobhunting to your LinkedIn contacts, former co-workers, teachers, community leaders, friends, your parents’ friends, and anyone else you can think of.
Fill out an application at places that don’t have any advertised openings. You never know, they may have one but just haven’t started the hiring process yet.
Filter for “no experience” jobs.
The big job platforms, such as Indeed.com, give you a shortcut to find entry level positions where no previous work experience is required.
Don’t forget about us! Your local Integrity Opportunity Center always has “starter” jobs available, and we can give you pointers on how to get hired.
These strategies have worked for thousands of people who were in the same boat as you. Now it’s your turn to be the next success story!