Sometimes work experience is overrated. I mean who needs it when you can show employers that you are a hard worker? Here’s how to promote your skills.
What does it mean to have ‘real’ work experience? Does this only mean paid employment? Also, how much experience is enough to get you a job? These questions are some of the most common questions jobseekers ask themselves and career experts every day.
In fact, many of them often get discouraged when they come across a job advert that says the position requires more than three years of experience in the field. While most of the time this means that you don’t qualify for the job – assuming that you have just started out, it’s certainly not the end of the world.
When you see a job post like this, it could mean two things: a) the employers want to give the impression that they have a high business profile or b) they have a high business profile, and it will be difficult to get the job without the required experience.
Whatever the case, this doesn’t mean that you can’t go ahead and apply for the job. While work experience seems to be more important than skills, some business professionals prove otherwise. Speaking from the employers’ perspective, Chuck Cohn says on Forbes that core skills are more valuable than experience. So, do you dare to disagree?
If you are looking for a job but think that you may lack experience in your field, there are many other ways to show just how valuable you can be to an employer:
1. Explore your interests
Your interests define how you express yourself, so it’s quite likely that you have already taken part in a major project or have done something that is worth mentioning on your resume. Even though this isn’t strictly called ‘work experience,' such activities can help to demonstrate how you have gained experience by taking initiative and volunteering.
A great way to show employers that you have been doing something while searching for a job is through blogging, consulting or being an active member of an association that takes on exciting projects and cares about the causes you are interested in.
2. Be confident
Even if you don’t have much experience related to the role you are applying for, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you have the right attitude, you have a good chance of landing the job. Being confident doesn’t mean being arrogant – and you should avoid sounding arrogant. It just means that you believe in yourself, and you know what your skills and abilities are. You also know that you lack experience; however you don’t think of this as too much of a problem because you are willing to work hard to learn what is required of you.
3. Focus on your best qualities
You may not have the experience, but you have a range of other skills that are useful and can be utilized in this position. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, help employers recognize what you have. In the interview, talk about your strongest skills and best qualities. Expand on what you have written in your resume and choose some of the skills employers have listed in the job advert. This will allow you to divert the subject away from the work experience and focus on your key competencies.
4. Don’t forget your accomplishments
Your accomplishments are essentially your biggest strength, so you don’t want to leave these out of your resume or interview. Employers are likely to comment on them anyway which is good because it can help to start a conversation about your favourite subject; you. Talking about your accomplishments allows employers to see the ‘other side’ of you. It gives out some important characteristics of your personality and helps them to create a lasting image around your name.
A lack of work experience shouldn’t be treated as a barrier to your career development. On the contrary, it should give you the motivation to explore other options to getting a job. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below…