5 tips for landing a new job when you don’t have any experience!
By Dan Moran
Sound impossible? People do it everyday. Hiring managers don’t always hire the person with the most experience or education or skills. They often hire those they believe will fit into the company and meet present needs. Of course, in highly technical or very specific areas, this does not apply. If you have never flown a jet, you wouldn’t want to apply to be a pilot. I really want the surgeon with the scalpel in hand to be well-trained and experienced!
Some years ago, I interviewed for a marketing position. The president of the company told me that I would be great in the role, but I could contribute more in human resources and that is where he wanted me join the company and help, even though I never had any experience in human resources. Why? It was my ability to listen and influence others. It was my strengths over experience that was most important.
Below are 5 tips from my experience that may help you:
1: Identify opportunities where your skills – or your true passion – may apply
All too often, people think that if they have only been in the “widget” industry, they have to stay in that industry. Companies often hire people who bring transferable skills that can apply in their company, and not only industry – specific experience. If you managed in a retail setting, you can manage in an office. If you were in operations, you can contribute to an operations role in a different industry.
Passion is important too. If you have a passion for the outdoors, consider this when looking at jobs or careers. Passion for helping others? Look for companies helping individuals or the community.
2: Identify jobs or careers where “soft skills” are most important
Soft skills are the talents inherent in you that you can contribute to the organization: Your personality, interests, communication style, organizational skills and more. Soft skills – or strengths – are often more important than experience and education.
For example, in sales, it is all about personality, drive and communication skills. Your ability to meet and influence people (and your ability to show this in an interview) can land you the job over your past experience. Some of the best sales talent I have seen didn’t have a lick of prior sales experience. Other examples include marketing, community relations, customer service – areas where soft skills are more important than hard experience.
3: Create your soft skills “inventory”
Look beyond your experience and focus on identifying your soft skills and write them down. Ask others for their ideas – ask your significant other, those you work with, your friends and more.
4: Market your skills and strengths, and not just your experience
Many resumes are all about the facts – where, when and what I did. In this industry, we refer to them as “tombstones” (sorry, but true).
Present your transferable skills and strengths in a manner that communicates right away what you bring beyond experience and education.This is often referred to as a “transferable-skill” resume. This is the format highly recommended in today’s market, where career and job change is prevalent.
5: Have it on paper? Be prepared to present it
The final step is your strategic career statement – a 30-second pitch in which you introduce what you have done and what you can do in a manner that commands attention:
“With experience in managing people, operations and processes in a company, I have posted excellent results in my career. My goal is to use my experience as shown – and my ability to communicate on all levels, motivate others and organize within a company seeking a goal-driven employee determined to grow. I may not have the specific experience you may want, but I have the drive and the ability to learn.”
If you have ever wondered how a friend landed a job or new career where they didn’t have experience, now you know. They were hired on their skills and strengths, and not on experience alone. You can be too; think outside the box.
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. He specializes in helping people make career choices and seek new jobs. He is also a Certified Facilitator for Get Hired Now! and Get Clients Now! Programs, which help those in career transition and companies get results. You can reach him at 641.8968 or
or visit www.next-act.com.