Prior job experience is something every employer seeks in the candidates applying for a position with their firm. It is common to see a lot of employers complain that they have a lot of well-educated candidates to choose from, but they are not finding enough number of candidates with good experience. Here we discuss this scenario from the perspectives of both job seekers and employers and find out how to land a job for the first time when you lack any experience.
The most common grievance
Many job seekers say they have bagged enough number of degrees, certifications, and skills, but still find it difficult to land on a job when they do not have prior experience. Many of them feel that a lot of entry-level service industry jobs, entry-level positions, retail and hospitality jobs they find easily around them can hurt their chances of landing on a good job position in their field. Hence they are stuck.
The right perspective towards entry-level jobs
As a job seeker, you must know that job experience is something that an employer is keen to see on your resume even if it is unrelated to your field. “They don’t care how many pairs of yoga pants you sold or how many coffees you served, but it’s the real-world job skills that you develop while working that are quite different from what you learn in school that matter.”
What jobs teach you in general?
Working on a job role whether it is related to your field or not equips you with some necessary attitudes and skills that will help show results when you land your dream job. Some of the basics you get to learn while being on your first ever position include the ability to show up at the workplace in time, working hard through different shifts, being able to work inside teams, solving problems, communicating within and outside the organization, customer service are some job role basics your first job can teach you. These are going to be highly valuable pieces of training that are important to get hired and do well right from day one when you finally find yourself on your passionate job role.
Employers are more bothered about your life skills
Talking about what they expect in their job applicants, Sharon Ramalho, Senior Vice President, and Chief People Officer at McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada say, “People who are really interested in working as part of a team don’t necessarily have to be extroverts, but they have to be self-motivated. It helps if they want to learn, have a passion for food, and they want to help people have a nice experience in our restaurants. But that’s what we hire for motivation and a willingness to learn. Once hired, our staff have a detailed training program, and that’s where they can learn what we call the ‘Skills for Life:’ communications, teamwork, functioning in a fast-paced environment, and goal setting.”
Here we do not mean you must apply for all the positions you can find without any screening and sit hoping that someone will call you for an interview. Job industry experts say this strategy can never work for you and in future, it can end up damaging your brand for which you may decide to work for in future.
You can be lucky
The implication is this. If you find an excellent entry-level position which you feel can fit you without problems, do not hesitate to apply for it irrespective of whether you can meet the experience requirements. Often employers might post a position with hopes that candidates with three or more years of experience and no salary expectations and will end up finding that no one has applied for the job. Hence when you shoot up your application in such a scenario, you will enjoy the privilege of finding yourself amidst a small puddle of candidates trying for the job.
Take the smarter route
If you have decided to apply for an entry-level position, never pose as though you are patronizing the employer or trying to indicate that they have been delusional for looking forward to hiring someone with 3+ years of experience for such an unattractive job role. On the other hand, be mature and deal with the employer respectfully. If they are keen about the background, you can always say you are smarter beyond your age and skill better than your qualifications.
How to apply for a job role for which you are not qualified
- Talk to your friends, family, and mentors to discover what your strengths are. Highlight them in your resume to capture the employer’s attention.
- Stay confident and feel comfortable with yourself. It is but natural that you can’t know everything. So, it is enough if you have the curiosity to learn.
- Let your application and interaction with the employer during the interview emphasize how motivated you are. Do some real preparation for the face to face interview and answer the question, “Why do you want to work here?”
- Be keen to gain some experience. To do this, you can think of spinning up a side project, volunteer for a local business or find an internship.
- Network with people and submit your resume trough someone already working with the company you are applying. Doing so can increase the chances of being called for an interview.
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