An important thing to remember is that no one was born having the job they have today – we all had to start somewhere. While it's important to be realistic about the jobs you're qualified for as you start looking, there are ways to break into any field.
The first place I would start is to think about the skills involved with the job you are interested in, and work on building up those skills. For example, I was interested in graphic design, so I watched a lot of Youtube videos about how to use photoshop and was able to build a portfolio of work that I could speak to in an interview for an internship. Once I was hired for that internship, all of my practice paid off and I was able to already do a lot of tasks that full-time employees were able to do, so I was eventually hired on full-time to their website team. If you're unsure which skills are helpful to build, it can be helpful to look at the requirements listed on job postings for roles you are interested in – those can act as a roadmap of things you can learn to be able to do that job well. If you're in school, you can look for courses that will help you build those skills. Even if you're not in school, resources like Lynda.com, Udemy, and Youtube can definitely help.
In addition to hard skills, there are many soft skills that can help you land a job. For example, if you've worked part-time at your local grocery store like I did when I was in high school, you've probably demonstrated a good work ethic, accountability, ability to prioritize tasks, and ability to communicate with customers and colleagues. Just because the experience you have doesn't directly correlate to what you want to work on day to day, you can show that you have experience in a workplace and are able to think critically about how to solve challenges as they come up. If you don't have any experience like this, get some! I've always had the attitude that no job is too low for me, and I've learned and moved up through every experience I've taken on.
Dana recommends the following next steps:
Great question! Experience requirements are dependent on the industry. There are a handful of industries that recruit and hire entry-level candidates - including sales, marketing, and recruiting! If you are hoping to work in medicine, science, or a very specific industry - I encourage seeking as many internships as possible.
I graduated from college with a degree in business management and started my career as an entry level recruiter with no direct experience in recruiting. I am passionate about working with people, love building relationships, and was seeking a fast paced role. I was able to utilize skills I developed in customer service when I was in highschool and build on them from starting my career at the ground level. I have been in recruiting for seven years and truly consider it my passion. Don't worry about starting from the bottom - focus on giving it your best effort and asking a lot of questions.
Great question! One of the most helpful tips I've learned throughout college is the power of networking! Networking can take you really far in terms of meeting new people in different industries, learning about different career paths that might be suitable for you, and helping you get your foot in the door when you find a job or company that you're interested in.
I would start attending social networking events where you can meet other folks in different industries and learn how they kick started their career. Even just joining school clubs and introducing yourself to other working professionals can take you very far! Be sure to also add these folks on LinkedIn so you're notified of when they switch jobs and companies!
Honestly, with my last 2 jobs, I wasn't too qualified for the positions and there were much more experienced people who applied for the same role. I luckily knew people who worked at the same company and they were able to put in a referral for me, which landed me an interview. The rest is history from there!
Getting your first job can be tricky when entering into the professional world . What I've found to be helpful is to highlight previous internships and relevant course work. I'd recommend focusing your search on entry-level openings rather than positions with 5+ years experience, as you'll be more successful. Often times, employers know when they are hiring for entry-level positions that candidates may not be coming in with a ton of experience, so they're looking for individuals who are passionate, are eager to learn and have a strong work ethic.
Think through what types of experiences contribute to gaining skills that would be relevant to the job (i.e. time management, planning, thinking under pressure, etc.)
This is really a good question and most of the folks out their want an answer to this question. I always get individuals from all the fields asking me this question. I will try to answer it based on what has worked for some folks around me and what my opinion about it is.
It is a typical case of chicken and egg problem. Unless and until you get a job you won't be having any experience and then people say getting a job is very tough if you don't have any experience. I know it's hard to accept and sometimes individuals becomes clueless as what to do next. I think a correct guidance and then working in a right direction is a solution to this problem. Firstly, let me agree that getting a job with some experience is relatively easier than having no experience at all. Being said that I know a good number of folks who have experience and are right now struggling to find a single job and on the other hand a bunch of folks with no prior experience landing in amazing companies. Now how did that happen? Let me answer it for you.
They all were very hard working and that was not enough. They actually were self motivated. They did things outside of normal class work. They knew things that their other friends would not know. They did a lot of projects outside the classwork. I cannot stress enough on the projects that you could do on your own works a lot in your favor. First, in gives something for you to put in your resume. Second, it makes you learn things. Third, Most of the things work relatively and hence when you have something better as compared to your peers it definitely gives you an edge over the others. It also shows your enthusiasm, commitment and motivation. And as an employer I would(In most of the cases) pick someone like this than picking someone who has some years of experience but doesn't have the qualities I have mentioned above.
Hence I would suggest you not to worry too much about not having any experience but rather start working on the areas you like, read more about it. Form your own definitions and world around that subject/topic. Talk to everyone about it. Do some research and projects around the area you like. And I am sure you will land an amazing job w/o prior experience.
Believe in yourself and you can move the world!
Experience requirements definitely vary on the field of work. It may be relatively more challenging to break into more technical fields such as medicine, engineering, and law without prior experience or study in the discipline. I can't speak to these too much, but can describe my thought process for business and corporate functions.
BUILD A NETWORK
If you're in college or planning to attend one, many businesses have new grad programs dedicated to students with minimal work experience. This is particularly important for business functions. I would recommend beginning your search by compiling a least of industries, companies, and roles that you find interesting. It would be valuable to begin reaching out to professionals in the fields of interest to better understand what their day-to-day is like, and understand their career path and how they broke into the field of interest. If you're able to strike up a good conversation or develop a relationship with someone, they may also be open to referring you to their company's open positions.
DEMONSTRATE INTERESTS & SKILLS
If you're currently not a student or looking to switch into a new career with no prior experience, I think it would be valuable to showcase your interest and skills set in your personal time. This is particularly important for more creative industries, and could mean a couple of things. For example, if you're interested in product management (which I currently work in), you could start a blog where you describe and analyze your favorite products. The key here is the demonstrate that you're using your time towards your field of interest, capturing them and showcasing them on a shareable portfolio such as a personal website. Other things you could start doing is start a reading list of books that pertain to that industry. While I believe that you'll never know what it's truly like to be in a role until you actually work in it, it's important to be able to speak to past experiences that align with your function of interest as you continue to grow your network!
The two big themes here are to start building a network in the function you've picked and to demonstrate your interest in the function by working on projects in your personal time that are related to the function. More generally, it's always important to remember every job opportunity is about story-telling—dedicate time to honing your elevator pitch and other communication skills such as public speaking, decision making, people management, and rather than shy away from the fact that you have no experience, own it! I hope this was helpful, and best of luck with the job hunt.