Getting your dream job is hard enough when you have the right experience, let alone when you’re competing for the position with others who have many more years in your dream field. The only way to have a fighting chance is to gain the right experience quickly and employ strategies that your competitors haven’t thought of. Here are six ways to nail your dream job despite your inexperience.

1. Follow an Action Plan

Don’t let the journey towards your dream job be aimless; carve out a specific path for yourself. You already know where you’re going, which is a good start to an action plan. Next, outline the steps that you need to complete to take yourself from where you are right now to reaching your goal. Those steps can include learning new skills, getting more experience, and beefing up your resume or list of references, among other things. Be sure to break the steps into manageable actions or you’ll find yourself overwhelmed. Set a timeline with a target completion date for each step so that you can track your progress. Those dates don’t have to be set in stone, but be wary about moving completion dates too many times, or you may find yourself lulled into complacency.

2. Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Become okay with the idea that you will probably fail. Nobody is expecting you to get the job if you’re inexperienced, so quit setting such high expectations for yourself. Since you know that landing the job is a long shot, treat the hiring process as if you have nothing to lose. If you have nothing to lose, you have less to fear. Openly recognizing the fact that you probably won’t succeed can be extremely beneficial: low expectations will loosen the nerves, while those you’re competing with for the job stay wound up tight.

3. Get Some Experience

If the job listing requests experience that you don’t have, find an experience comparable to it that you can gain quickly. You can get that experience through volunteering, interning, or job shadowing. Point the employer to that experience to show that, even if you don’t have exactly the background they’re looking for, you’re still a worthy candidate.

4. Use What Makes You Unique

You might not have the experience or skills they’re looking for, but you have skills and experience. Demonstrate how the background and talents you do have prepare you for your dream job in ways your dream employer might not have even considered. You will always have things about you that separate you from other prospects, so consider how to make those things feel like necessities for the job you’re vying for.

5. Research the Company Thoroughly

Figure out exactly how to be impressive to your dream employer. That involves researching the company’s hiring habits. Find out what they value in an employee by studying a number of job listings other than the one for the position you’re interested in. Most likely the company follows the same template for most of them. Ask yourself: what are the recurring themes? What skills or traits are important enough to the company that they include them in every listing? Highlight those in your resume, cover letter, and interview to make the employer think that you are exactly what they’re looking for.

6. Act Like You Belong

While you want to stand out from the crowd, you also want to make sure it looks like you belong. Once you’re in the position to be impressive, make sure nothing negatively separates you from your much more experienced peers. Wear the right clothes, have the right attitude, and be confident that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Featured photo credit: TaxCredits.net via flickr.com

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