Getting an Entry-Level Job with No Experience
Unfortunately, many employers want to have their cake and eat it too. They would love to hire someone for an entry-level salary that has experience and isn’t actually entry-level. As a result, you’ll see plenty of positions in your search for your first job after college that require experience. Here’s how we suggest you handle them:
This doesn’t mean that you should apply willy-nilly to all of the positions you possibly can and hope that someone gives you an interview. That is a strategy that has been proven not to work and in the end can only damage your personal brand (you never know who you may wind up trying to work for in the future).
What this does mean is that if you find a great entry-level position that you think is the perfect fit for you, feel free to apply for it regardless of whether or not you meet the experience requirements. Employers will often post a position hoping to lure in the unicorn entry-level candidate with 3+ years of experience and no salary expectations only to discover that nobody is applying to their position. If you apply anyways, you can find yourself amongst a relatively small pool of applicants vying for the job.
If you do decide to apply to the position, don’t be patronizing or attempt to inform the employer that they’re delusional for wanting to hire someone with 3+ years of experience for an entry-level role. Instead, be mature and respectful. If it’s experience they want, show them that you’re wise beyond your years and between your ears.
A Few Tips for Applying to a Position You’re Not Qualified For
- Know yourself.
Poll your family, friends, teachers, and do some serious introspection to understand what your strengths are. Then highlight them.
- Be confident, yet humble.
This gets easier the more comfortable you are with yourself. Be comfortable with not knowing things. You can’t be expected to know everything. Instead, be curious and listen.
- Emphasize your motivation and desire.
You wouldn’t be applying to the job if you didn’t want it. Like, really want it, right? Make sure that’s obvious. Don’t seem desperate, but do seem passionate. Do your background research and have a prepared, honest, thoughtful response for the “Why do you want to work here?” question.
- Get experience and highlight it.
Spin up a side project, volunteer for a local business, or get an internship.
Want to know more? Read more advice on getting a job unrelated to your major.
Getting your resume submitted via someone at the company you’re applying to will massively increase your chances of getting an interview. The hard part is meeting someone at the company and getting them to vouch for you. Fortunately, we’ve got some great guides to help you network offline and meet the right people
or start the networking process online via social media.
Both of these tactics can help you get in front of the right people at the company. Have a cup of coffee with an employee and use the opportunity to learn more about the company, the role, you potential future career options, and get to know what it’s like to work there. Impress them with your thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and curiosity and they may vouch for you.
Get an Internship First
Internships aren’t just for current students and they most certainly count towards any job’s experience requirements. If you’re having trouble getting interviews, it may be that your resume simply doesn’t have enough real world experience on it. Getting a paid internship isn’t an easy thing to do, but fortunately, there are destination like WayUp that can help you launch your career.