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4 Useful Tips to Get the Job You Want Without Experience

4 Useful Tips to Get the Job You Want Without Experience

If there’s something more frustrating than searching for the right job, it’s waiting on the phone for that job offer.

According to a 2014 job seeker study, looking for employment is now considered a 24/7 gig. 45 percent of folks are still on the hunt for their dream jobs – although they’re already employed. Meanwhile, 38 percent look for open positions during their commute, and 18 percent hunt for work in the bathroom.

Considering you already have plenty of competition BEFORE you could even bag an interview, this makes applying for employment you’re obviously unqualified for highly challenging. Companies would go for the qualified candidates. They would see your lack of experience and deny you the interview.

Or would they?

But how can you showcase this when you were rejected before they can even interview you? How do you fill that gap in your employment history? What if you’re a new graduate without experience?

If there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are four practical tips to snag your dream job – even when you’re somewhat unqualified.

1. List Relevant Skills/Passions

To avoid the common frustration of getting rejected without meeting the hiring manager yet, focus on building up your resume AND cover letter. Whether you’re a new graduate or a career shifter, you will have gained some “experience” during your lifetime that you could somehow tie into the job you want.

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For example: you’re an accountant but you want to shift into social work. Your target organization prefers someone with at least a year of experience in the field. Highlight relevant skills you’ve acquired through your current position that would come in handy for your future job, such as:

  • organization (refer to how you handled client accounts and that time you planned the company seminar)
  • communication (you did phone calls, created reports, and spoke with clients about their finances)
  • critical thinking (don’t forget about the decisions you had to do to help save your clients’ accounts)

When you write your summary, be succinct yet make sure to highlight these aspects first.

“Current accountant for X company looking to fill the position for social work. Great at organization, communication, and critical thinking. Excellent ability to work under pressure and with highly difficult clients without sacrificing quality of relationships.”

This should present a reasonable enough argument as to why you should be considered for the opening.

2. Consider Related Side Jobs/Projects

“Experience” doesn’t necessarily mean paid work. In fact, it could mean different things to hiring managers. Volunteer work, side hustles, projects for friends or family, extra-curricular activities, etc. could all be considered valuable experience.

bar-side-hustle

    For example: after graduation, you worked for a few years as a restaurant manager. But what you really want to become is a financial adviser. Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re without experience from a related field. Focus on other aspects such as:

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    • Did you graduate with a finance-related degree?
    • Do you have money-related projects on the side (i.e. help friends with their budgets)?
    • Any other activities that you feel might be suited for the job you’re after (i.e. blogging about money-saving tips, accounting for the restaurant, managing payroll, etc.)?

    List these on your resume under the experience section.

    “Budgeting. Helped friends and family members on issues regarding funds, savings, and investment on a monthly basis.”

    Be VERY specific when citing what you did. If you’re vague, the hiring manager may really think twice about asking you for an interview.

    3. Don’t Forget Soft Skills

    Although experts advise job seekers to go for work they most fit into, they definitely don’t dissuade applicants from running after a position they don’t have experience in. Job search expert Jessica Simko explains in a blog post that it’s because hiring managers typically hire for attitude – NOT skills.

    Are you creative? Do people always describe you as an optimistic person? Do you consider yourself friendly, teachable, and with a high sense of honor? Then you might have an edge over those who are more qualified than you in terms of skill. According to Simko, recruiters are looking mostly for three things: passion, enthusiasm, and presence.

    • Passion. Show that you want this job more than others. That despite the obvious lack in skill, you have something that other applicants lack: your excitement at coming to work every day.
    • Enthusiasm. How interested are you in the job? Are you going to stick although the going will be tough? Or are you going to bail once a better opportunity is presented? Your interest in the position should be showcased throughout the application process – from your cover letter, your resume, to the interviews.
    • Presence. Smile. Display confidence. Give a firm handshake. First impressions DO matter. So make a good one the moment you enter the room. Assure them with your stance that even without experience, you will make up for it in attitude.

    Every day, companies and managers lose money from employees who are disengaged and refuse to learn anything new. So if you’re wondering why an under-qualified candidate is sometimes chosen, it’s likely because the person is more amicable and coachable than others.

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    man-manager-hiring

      4. Connect the Dots

      Apart from your interview, the cover letter gives you a chance to really sell yourself and your relevant skills. Whether you have a gap in your employment history or you’re about to shift careers, your cover letter allows you to connect the dots and clear the argument for the hiring manager.

      Turn it into a story. Begin with your relevant skills, align them with the job requirements, and end with WHY you’re the best person for the job.

      “When I saw the opening for the position of X, it was mentioned that you were looking for someone with customer service experience. My years spent helping out at our local café has helped me earn the skills necessary for meeting and handling different individuals. As the café we own is quite small, I had the honor of becoming familiar with most of our customers: calling them by name, knowing their favorite drink, and occasionally joining them for a quick chat. Connecting with people really gives me a high. I look forward to working in a similar environment that will give me the opportunity to work with people every day.”

      A T-formation cover letter will allow you to highlight your passions while hiding the lack in experience. In general, the employer’s requirements would be listed on the left-hand side, while your skills would be posted on the right-hand side. This should help the hiring manager overlook your weaknesses, but at the same time, give you an advantage.

      2-column-cover-letter

        BONUS: Have a Plan B

        Let’s be realistic: even if you are qualified for the job, there are other reasons why you may not be hired. That’s why every job seeker needs a backup plan.

        Creative director and author Katharine Hansen Ph.D. suggests using the “bait and switch” technique. Typically used in the advertising industry, this trick involves enticing the recruiter so you can get an interview (which is great to showcase your skills and charm) even if you obviously lack the credentials.

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        For example: say you’ve worked for years as a caregiver but you want to enter the healthcare sector as a medical secretary. With no money and without experience, how can you break into the healthcare industry? “Lure” the recruiter by emphasizing related skills (warm, welcoming demeanor, ability to handle various individuals, skilled in basic computer skills, etc.) but indicate a willingness to work for a lower position that would eventually lead to your ideal job. In this case, you may consider a job as a medical receptionist while you hone your talents and save money.

        This is NOT going to be easy, but it should help you be invited for an interview. Once you’ve secured that, it’s time to charm them with your attitude (refer to tip #4).

        Remember to avoid using generic buzzwords. Be genuine: pick words that you would use in daily conversation. Hiring managers can read between the lines and get a “feel” for words. If you’re confident with the skills you presented, odds are, recruiters will feel that, too.

        With a little bit of resourcefulness, a sprinkle of wit, and a dash of passion, it’s possible to get the job you really want.

        Featured photo credit: Alex Jones via stocksnap.io

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        Cris Antonio

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

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        Last Updated on May 20, 2020

        What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

        What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

        Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

        These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

        What Are Analytical Skills?

        According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

        “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

        Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

        Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

        Visualization

        Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

        Critical Thinking

        Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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        As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

        Computing

        Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

        In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

        Problem-Solving

        Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

        Resource Management

        Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

        For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

        Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

        For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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        The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

        Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

        There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

        For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

        If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

        What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

        Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

        6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

        There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

        Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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        But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

        Below are a few strategies to get you started:

        1. Ideate Business Ideas

        Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

        You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

        2. Leverage Analytical Tools

        Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

        3. Have a Personal Learning Library

        Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

        Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

        For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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        4. Participate in Online Communities

        The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

        For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

        5. Seek Mental Stimulation

        To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

        6. Keep a Personal Journal

        Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

        Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

        Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

        Bottom Line

        As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

        More Success Skillset

        Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
        [2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
        [3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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