You see the job you want, the one you know you would be great at if you only had a chance. One little problem: the posting says “experience required.” How do you get your foot in the door if you’re just starting out?
Here are some useful tips for acing your interview and getting the job you want, even if you don’t have the amount of experience recommended by the potential employer.
- Get Real. No, you’re not going to waltz into a Fortune 500 company and become Executive Vice President of Marketing the week after graduation. You might want to set the bar a little lower. After all, the best way to gain the experience necessary for your dream job is to work your way up. Give yourself a little reality check and apply for jobs with keywords like “entry-level” and “team member,” then show them what you can do once you’re in.
- Sell yourself. What are your skills? Your strengths? Your special qualifications? Use your resume and cover letter to pique the interest of the hiring manager with some well-chosen buzzwords and details about your skill set. Note: these have to be actual skills you possess- try not to “pad” your resume with half-truths and embellishments, as a seasoned hiring manager will see right through the smoke and mirrors.
- Soft skills count. It’s great to have a number of skills that look good on a resume. But what about those attributes you possess, such as friendliness, enthusiasm and professionalism, which can’t be written down? These are known as soft skills, and you have to let them shine through in a job interview so your potential employer can see what a quality employee you would be, despite your relative lack of experience.
- Find ways to gain the experience. Volunteering at non-profit organizations, interning at the firm you hope to be employed by someday, and logging hours in a part-time position in your chosen field are all great ways to gain practical experience that can be applied to your job search. Even more importantly, a lot of organizations tend to promote from within. A stellar part-time employee or intern who has demonstrated their capability on a daily basis may be at the top of the list when it comes time to hire.