You’ve just seen your ideal job listed and are about to start your application, when you realise that they want far more work experience than you currently have. You now have two options: should you give up and find another job vacancy or should you apply for it anyway? Just because you haven’t been working in the industry for 5+ years, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not suitable for the role.
So, whether you’re a recent graduate or making a career change, take a look below for 5 tips to help you apply for a job, even when you don’t have much work experience.
#1 Map out all the work experience you currently have
When thinking about work experience, many people limit themselves to paid work. But, there are plenty of other ways that you can get experience. Volunteering, internships and placements are all valuable ways that you can build up your experience. Also, you shouldn’t overlook any relevant personal projects, coursework or extracurricular activities. You may find, after listing these all down, that you actually have far more experience than you realised.
Even if you still don’t match up to the exact experience listed in the job vacancy, this exercise will still give you plenty to discuss in your application.
#2 Think of examples that demonstrate your skills
Experience isn’t everything. While it is undoubtedly important, employers will also want to know about the skills that you can offer them. Normally, you can get an idea of the main skills that an employer is looking for from the job listing. Take this list as a starting point and think of as many ways that you can demonstrate that you have these skills.
If you can think of 3-4 detailed examples that show you have the required skills for the job, then this will make you a more appealing candidate. Try to think about why you took certain actions and how you went about it, as well as just what you did.
#3 Try using a different structure for your CV
If you’ve not got much work experience, try switching around the order on your CV, so that your education section comes first and your paid employment comes further down. While there is plenty of guidance available for how to structure your CV, you should always try to put the most relevant and interesting details first. You don’t want to hide the best bits on the second page.
#4 Keep your CV relevant
It’s tempting to try and flesh out your experience to make it sound like more than it is. But, this will just make your CV sound unfocused and vague. Instead, you should use the opportunity to highlight the key skills that you can bring to the job and demonstrate how you meet the job criteria.
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