Are you currently in a job or industry that’s not directly in line with your dream job? Are you still harboring dreams of being able to land that dream job despite not having the direct, relevant work experience? Do you feel that it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to change careers or industry at this point in time in your career?
Don’t despair. It’s possible to change careers and do it successfully. If others have done it, there’s no reason why you can’t. It probably won’t be a walk in the park but if you keep in mind these 5 useful tips, you’ll significantly increase your chances of convincing your prospective employers or their hiring managers to hire you despite the seeming lack of experience.
Write An Error-Free Resume.
Nothing else gets your foot in the door better than writing an error-free resume. While you may be thinking “Duh? Isn’t that supposed to be common sense?”, truth is common sense isn’t so common these days. In fact, this is one of the things many people take for granted.
I’ve seen so many resumes from people who graduated from reputable universities and finished very challenging courses who prepared their professional resumes bullet-ridden with spelling and grammatical errors. What’s the deal with such seemingly minor infractions? Well, they’re indicators of their ability to get the small things down to pat and if a person can’t be trusted in the small stuff, what more with the bigger ones, eh?
That being said one of the best ways to ensure an error-free resume is to wear hats, one at a time: writer’s hat and an editor’s hat.
When writing your resume, don’t edit. Just focus on writing what you need to write on it.
When you’re done writing, walk away from your resume for a couple of minutes before returning to it wearing your editor’s hat. It’s practically impossible to be prolific as a writer and editor when you’re trying to be both at the same time.
When you step away from what you’ve written and approach it afterwards with an editor’s perspective, you’ll be surprised at how differently you’ll see your work, which is optimal for editing.
When you’re done editing and revising your work, you must then print your resume so you can proofread it even better. There’s no real science behind this but generally, it seems that our eyes have the tendency to be more lax with onscreen documents compared to printed ones.
For some strange reason, typographical, spelling and grammatical errors seem to stand out even more on paper than onscreen. It may sound to cumbersome but believe me, it’s worth it because an error-ridden professional resume won’t just keep you from getting a job where you don’t have the necessary experience – it can keep you from getting any job, period.
Lastly, have your resume read by someone else. This ensures that you have thoroughly exhausted all possible objective means as possible when it comes to sifting out errors in your resume.
Highlight Your Relevant Strengths And What Sets You Apart From Others.
While transferring to a job that is seemingly unrelated to the one you have now or have had in the past, truth is you do have skill sets acquired in those jobs that can be transferred to the new job you’re aiming for. Consider the following examples:
My friend used to work in the corporate world, particularly in the financial services industry, for almost 18 years. He made the big jump from being a financial expert to a freelance writer more than 2 years ago by getting a regular paying gig from a publishing company.
He was able to convince the publishing company that he had what it takes to be included in its stable of writers – the ability to write well – because most of his financial services industry jobs involved preparing reports for high executives.
That’s an example of a transferable skill that convinced the publishing company to take a chance on him.
Further, his experience in the financial services industry made him a financial expert and made him the publishing company’s go-to-writer when it comes to finance and business-related writing projects.
Again, that’s another example of experience that’s not directly related to writing but is a value-added qualification for the job.
For this purpose, it’s best to use a functional resume, which highlights your qualifications per the job applied for rather than the chronology of your work experience, which doesn’t do anything to highlight your strengths but may actually highlight the reasons why you’re not the person for the job per lack of experience.
Avoid Aiming The Spotlight On Your Lack Of Relevant Experience Or Skills.
As mentioned earlier, using a functional professional resume is a great way of doing this. This is because functional resumes, instead of arranging your work experience from most recent to the first job you’ve ever had, arranges your experiences not according to history but according to relevance to the job you’re applying for and highlights the skills needed in such jobs rather than tenure.
Remember that the whole point of preparing your resume this way isn’t to convince your prospective employers to take a risk on you but to convince them that you’re a good fit for the job you’re applying for.
In your cover letter, don’t write sentences such as “Though I haven’t had experience in managing accounts in my previous jobs…” or “While I may not have enough marketing experience…” Nothing else highlights your lack of skills or experience relevant to the job you’re applying for more than statements like these.
Just focus on the skills you have and how you can directly contribute to the company in the capacity of the job you’re applying for.
Carefully consider and study the requirements of the job you’re applying for, the culture of the company, and the general nature of the industry to which it belongs. There may be a chance that being creative in your professional resume is the key to you landing that job where you don’t have the necessary work experience. And when I say be creative, I mean submit a creative resume such as a video resume, newsletter type resume, or an infographic resume.
How can creative resumes help you land a job wherein you don’t have the necessary experience yet? Creative resumes are primarily out of the box and as such communicates to your prospective employers and their hiring managers that you may not have the necessary experience but you may have the required skill sets, foremost of which is the ability to think out of the box. Also, it shows them how badly you want the job that you’re willing to take the risk of being out of the box to show them that you have what it takes to succeed at it.
A good example of this is a friend of mine who is a freelance events organizer. He was aiming to get a job at an advertising agency as an account officer.
He sent a very creative resume in the form of a wedding invitation, the main catchphrase of which was “why we’re meant to be”. His resume stood out from the rest, was the first to be considered for an interview from among the many other applicants. Why? It showed how creative he was, which is the primary consideration in advertising agencies in general and for the job he’s applying for in particular.
Where Possible, Provide Samples Or Links To Samples Of Your Previous Works Relevant To The Job.
Lastly, there’s nothing like actual, live evidence of why you’re qualified despite the seeming lack of experience. And for this, you may need to provide samples of your actual work for your prospective employers to check out. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then the ultimate proof of your capability to successfully carry out the duties and responsibilities of the job you’re applying for are samples of your actual works. You can do this by attaching them to your perfect professional resume or providing links by which they can access samples of your work online.
Some professions have opportunities for you to present samples of your work – a portfolio of your projects, if you may. These include writing, computer programming, web page development, architecture, copy writing and among others.
For writing related jobs, you can provide printed, electronic or links to online versions of your published works.
For web page development jobs, you can provide links to the websites you have put up for clients. The possibilities are endless.
You’ve seeming lack of experience need not be a hindrance to getting your dream job – or a job that will help bring you closer to it. Remember that it’s all about the skill sets and attitude. A person who has 20 years working experience who does his job in absolute mediocrity won’t hold up against a person with only 1 year experience who has the necessary skill sets for the job and a great working attitude.
Employ these tips separately or together and you can increase your chances of successfully landing that job you desire even if you don’t have much experience in the field or the job. Highlight your relevant skill sets, draw attention away from your weaknesses, and show a great work attitude. That way, you can overcome the mountain that is called lack of experience.