A question I often get asked is “How do I show experience with (insert software here) without actually having a job using that software?” Often, candidates will disqualify themselves prior to applying for a job just because they don’t feel they can compete with those who have the experience already.
However, in many cases, this is not a reason not to apply for a position with a company. There are so many tools out there in any field (whether it be HR, accounting, presentation tools) that allow you to download a free-trial or low-cost version to test out and try out for yourself. For example, Time Forge, which is a tool I use in my classes for HR, allows a multi-day trial with full-functionality to manage your labor schedule force, payroll and attendance. Zoho.com gives free versions of its products on everything from presentation software to HR systems and project management tools.
So, if next time you go into an interview you don’t think you have the qualifications, or get asked “What experience do you have with (insert software here)”, have a good back story like “while I don’t have experience in an office setting, I have been using a trial version of (insert software here) for 6 months to prepare myself for entering a role using it, and have found it has several advantages and uses which are X, Y and Z.” You’ll be able to land a role by being creative in your ability to grow into new roles and opportunities.