To all those newbie graduates… you will have probably just finished the most amazing (or stressful) three years of your life and you’ll probably now be feeling a little bit like a lost sheep.
You’ve just finished your final exams and kind of need a break to get over those first! But you have every man and his dog asking ‘what are you planning to do when you’ve graduated?’, ‘You best start looking’. Trust me, as a recent graduate I know that horrible frustrated feeling that arises when the questions begin from your family and friends! But I hate to say it but your family and friends are right, the sooner you start the better.
So… you’ve got to start somewhere; you kind of know what type of job you want to go into but you have no relevant experience that can get you your dream job! So you begin to set into a state of panic! ‘How am I going to get a job?’, ‘This is impossible!’ I know it’s hard, but try and keep calm and use your time well rather than bumbling through a million job applications just hoping it will pay off!
I’ve listed five top tips on how to overcome not having experience in the industry you want to enter.
1) Use Your Previous Work/Life Experience And Apply It To The Job Role
You’ll be very surprised by the sheer amount of experience you’ve gained over the years without even knowing it, so sit down and have a good think about what skills you have acquired over the years that apply to the job role. For example your part time bar job in the SU over your Uni years may mean that you can work under pressure, you have brilliant sales skills and/you have a cheerful manner – all these skills are usually necessary for many jobs!
But it’s not just your work experience it’s your life experience too. If you love everything social media related and find yourself scouring through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest day in day out like me, then a social media job would be perfect for you. If you have a flare for writing and can write a brilliant persuasive article then you would be brilliant in PR marketing or even Copywriting.
Try have a glass half full perspective on your job search and look at the wonderful skills you actually do have, you just don’t know it yet!
2) Create Your Own Experience
When you’ve eventually found some of those skills that have been hibernating away for the past few years you should create a portfolio of them. If you can showcase your skills with hard evidence to your employer then you’re on to a winner.
For example, if you love Photoshop and design projects then you may suit a graphic designer job so try and mock up some website templates/fancy graphics. Also if you love to write and want to go into a marketing role then get writing a blog about your university experience or your interests and really show that you can engage an audience with your related skills!
3) Get Yourself Out There And Get Some Work Experience
I know, I know, I know! This is an obvious one and you’re desperate to start earning some money. You’ve spent the past few years living on student rations and now is your time to start earning (you deserve it).
But if you’re scraping the barrel for experience then work experience can help you get those skills that are much needed! Just getting a month of experience can equip you with tonnes of handy experience, and you never know – your employer may not be able to live without you and want you to stay on if you have wowed them with your amazing talents.
4) Swot Up On The Industry
If you’ve got your heart set on a role in a particular industry but you don’t actually have any experience within the industry, it’s time to get researching. Find out how the industry has changed over the last few years, any changes it’s going through currently and how it might change in the future.
Learn who the big players are in each sector of the industry (and why!) and keep up to the date with the latest news. The more knowledge and interest you can demonstrate, not just in your cover letter but in your interview too, the more likely the employer is to take you seriously as a viable candidate.
5)Do Everything You Can To Get A Face To Face Interview
If you manage to get into the office and speaking to your employer face to face, half your battle is won. A lot of employers base your application on what your personality is like, whether you’re engaging and approachable and if you would fit into the company’s personality.
Make sure you boast as much as you can – I know it doesn’t come naturally to most of us but this is your time to shine! If an employer likes you, then those slight gaps on your CV might be overlooked.
Well there you go… how to get into an industry that you have no experience in. Remember to keep calm and use your time effectively and you’ll be on the road to success in no time!