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How to Nail Your Dream Job Even Though You’re Inexperienced

How to Nail Your Dream Job Even Though You’re Inexperienced

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Published on March 26, 2019

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Career Change (Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Career Change (Step-By-Step Guide)

Embarking on a career change, tiny or big, can be paralyzing. Regardless of the reason for your desired career change, you need to be very clear on ‘why’ you are making a change. This is essential because you need to have clarity and be confident in your career direction in order to convince employers why you are best suited for the new role or industry.

A well crafted career change cover letter can set the tone and highlight your professional aspirations by showcasing your personal story.

1. Know Your ‘Why’

Career changes can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can take control and change careers successfully by doing research and making informed decisions.

Getting to know people, jobs, and industries through informational interviews is one of the best ways to do this.[1] Investing time to gather information from multiple sources will alleviate some fears for you to actually take action and make a change.

Here are some questions to help you refine your ‘why’, seek clarity, and better explain your career change:

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  • What makes me content?
  • How do I want work to impact my life?
  • What’s most important to me right now?
  • How committed am I to make a career change?
  • What do I need more of to feel satisfied at work?
  • What do I like to do so much that I lose track of time?
  • How can I start to explore my career change options?
  • What do I dislike about my current role or work environment?

2. Introduction: Why Are You Writing This Cover Letter?

Make this section concise. Cite the role that you are applying for and include other relevant information such as the posting number, where you saw the posting, the company name, and who referred you to the role, if applicable.

Sample:

I am applying for the role of Client Engagement Manager posted on . Please find attached relevant career experiences on my resume.

3. Convince the Employer: Why Are You the Best Candidate for the Role?

Persuade the employer that you are the best person for the role. Use this section to show that you: have read the job posting, understand how your skills contribute to the needs of the company, and can address the challenges of the company.

Tell your personal story and make it easy for hiring managers to understand the logic behind your career change. Clearly explaining the reason for your career change will show how thoughtful and informed your decision-making process is of your own transition.

Be Honest

Explain why you are making a career change. This is where you will spend the bulk of your time crafting a clear message.

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Speak to the mismatch that may be perceived by hiring managers, between the experience shown on your resume and the job posting, to show why your unique strengths make you more qualified than other candidates.

Address any career gaps on our resume. What did you do or learn during those periods that would be an asset to the role and company?

Sample:

I have been a high school English and Drama educator for over 7 years. In efforts to develop my career in a new direction, I have invested more time outside the classroom to increase community engagement by building a strong network of relationships to support school programs. This includes managing multiple stakeholder interests including local businesses, vendors, students, parents, colleagues, the Board, and the school administration.

Highlight Relevant Accomplishment

Instead of repeating what’s on your resume, let your personality shine. What makes you unique? What are your strengths and personal characteristics that make you suited for the job?

Sample:

As a joyful theater production manager, I am known to be an incredible collaborator. My work with theater companies have taught me the ability to work with diverse groups of people. The theater environment calls for everyone involved to cooperate and ensure a successful production. This means I often need to creatively and quickly think on my feet, and use a bit of humour to move things forward to meet tight timelines.

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Feature Your Transferable Skills

Tap into your self-awareness to capture your current skills.[2]

Be specific and show how your existing skills are relevant to the new role. Review the job posting and use industry specific language so that the hiring manager can easily make the connection between your skills and the skills that they need.

Sample:

As the first point of contact for students, parents, and many community stakeholders, I am able to quickly resolve problems in a timely and diplomatic manner. My problem solving aptitude and strong negotiation skills will be effective to address customer issues effectively. This combined with my planning, organization, communication, and multitasking skills makes me uniquely qualified for the role of Client Engagement Manager to ensure that customers maintain a positive view of .

4. Final Pitch and Call-To-Action: Why Do You Want to Work for This Company?

Here’s your last chance to show what you have to offer! Why does this opportunity and company excite you? Show what value you’ll add to the company.

Remember to include a call-to-action since the whole point of this letter is to get you an interview!

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Sample:

_________ is a global leader in providing management solutions to diverse clients. I look forward to an opportunity to discuss how my skills and successful experience managing multiple stakeholders can help build and retain strong customer relationships as the Client Engagement Manager.

Summing It Up

Remember these core cover letter tips to help you effectively showcase your personal brand:

  • Keep your writing clear and concise. You have one page to express yourself so make every word count.
  • Do your research to determine ‘who’ will be reading your letter. Understanding your audience will help you better persuade them that you are best suited for the role.
  • Tailor your cover for each job posting by including the hiring manager’s name, and the company name and address. Make it easy on yourself and create your own cover letter template. Highlight or alter the font color of all the spots that need to be changed so that you can easily tailor it for the next job application.
  • Get someone else to review your cover letter. At a minimum, have someone proofread it for grammar and spelling errors. Ideally, have someone who is well informed about the industry or with hiring experience to provide you with insights so that you can fine-tune your career change cover letter.

Check out these Killer Cover Letter Samples that got folks interviews!

It is very important that you clarify why you are changing careers. Your career exploration can take many forms so setting the foundation by knowing ‘why’ not only helps you develop a well thought out career change cover letter, [3] but can also help you create an elevator pitch, build relationships, tweak your LinkedIn profile and during interviews.

Remember to focus on your transferable skills and use your collective work experience to show how your accomplishments are relevant to the new role. Use the cover letter to align your abilities with the needs of the employer as your resume will likely not provide the essential context of your career change.

Ensure that your final pitch is concise and that your call-to action is strong. Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview or to meet the hiring manager in-person!

More Resources About Career Change

Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

Reference

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