Ever tried applying for a job that you have no experience for?
Especially if you are a fresh graduate, this can be frustrating. And daunting.
You come across a job ad that seems to be for a fresh position. But then when you read the job descriptions it says you need a 2, 3 or even 5 years of experience.
Or they would always say in fine print “Those with prior job experience is preferred”.
And ask any recruiter in a job interview. They definitely value job experience over qualifications when they have to make a decision to hire.
So what if I have no experience? Who would want to hire me?
Am I stuck?
The good news is even if you have no experience, there are ways to hack it. And gain that valuable experience.
And here’s 5 ways you can fast-track getting job experience when you have no experience.
1) Be part of the Gig Economy
The gig economy is alive and kicking. Organisations around the world are hiring freelancers across the globe for a variety of reasons. From vetting their minutes to designing their logos to creating TikTok videos. Maybe there is a talent or skill you have that is in-demand from a company in Africa or a café in South America. Sometimes it could even be something you didn’t think people would pay for – like creating Excel templates or a voice-over.
2) Doing good as a volunteer can do you a world of good too
Many charities, NGOs or communities out there may require a talent you have. It could be video editing, website design or even things like event management. Volunteering could also be a way for you to gain valuable experience and credentials in an area of passion you wish to pursue. For example, if you want to be a graphic designer and don’t know where to find your first client, offer your services to a charity or voluntary organisation. You then can build your portfolio that could then open doors to other opportunities.
3) You may already have the relevant experience hiding in your schoolwork
Maybe all the experiences you think you need has always been there all along. True that you may not started working or have job experience. But what you lack in that you might have made up in the school activities or projects you were involved in. Were you a student leader? Were you part of a team that initiated a project that impacted a community? Did you had to do research where you had to collect data, interview people and analyse statistics? These experiences are comparable to ones you would have picked up in 1 or 2 years of working experience. The key is framing these experiences right to your potential employer in your resume or job interview.
Hot Hack: Focus on the soft skills or behavioural skills that you picked up in these school projects and share on how you use these skills to make an impact.
4) Start a Side Hustle/Project
Have no experience? No one offered you an opportunity? No problem. You can always create one yourself. Create a side hustle or project that can give you the experience, skills and exposure. Maybe it is in craft work. Or you could start up a YouTube channel interviewing people in the field you want to work in. Or try your hands in the world of e-commerce and gain valuable experience running and marketing your own e-commerce store.
Side projects are a surefire way to show your potential employers you have got the skills that they are looking out for. Maybe they are looking to add a chatbot to their website? And you can show easily show them how you had created one for your gaming community.
Here are some ideas on some side projects you can work on.
5) Create Content on Social Media
Yes experience matters. But sometimes, exposure is equally important or even better than actually having real experience. When you look at those who create content online, they may not actually have the most experience. But people sure trust them because they always share useful and valuable information. So what you lack in experience you can make up in exposure. And the easiest way you can start is by creating content on social media. Especially in areas or fields that you want to go into.
Maybe you want to go into engineering. You could create an Instagram page sharing about the marvels of engineering. You want to go into banking and finance? Share articles or even make videos about savings and investment. The key? Leverage on the Internet. The Internet is now full of information (you can almost learn anything there) but people today love to get quick bite-sized information. If you can create content that simplifies complicated knowledge into practical tips, that can be a game changer. People would want to consume your content, like your post, share your page, subscribe to you. You can get maximum exposure and gain knowledge credibility even without having go through the real experience.
So worry not about not having enough experience for that job application. Maybe you already have all the experience you need, hiding within you. All you need to do is to bring it out and show others how relevant your life experiences could be to the task at hand. And sometimes, they aren’t actually looking for experience. They’re just looking to see if it’s safe enough to take a chance on you. All you have to do is show them you’re worth it.