As any first-time jobseeker will undoubtedly tell you, landing a paid role isn’t easy – especially when you have no experience. Yet how are you supposed to gain any if nobody will hire you in the first place? It’s a frustrating situation to be in, with many people settling for a position that they hate just to get their foot on the ladder.
Except it doesn’t need to be this way. If you’re sick of being perfect for a particular role but then quietly told that you just ‘don’t have enough experience’, then why not apply for a job that doesn’t require any? Just because you don’t have years of know-how behind you doesn’t mean that you’ll have to settle for something poorly paid, either.
In fact, there are numerous entry-level gigs out there that pay well – and none of them require a single previous day of paid employment to boot. So, if you want to earn the big bucks fast but your CV is a little light, read on: there’s no experience needed for these 12 money-spinners.
1. Air Traffic Controller
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Average annual salary: $124,500 / £41,000
You might think it a little strange that the management of aircraft in the sky could be left to a fresh-faced school leaver who’s never worked a day in their life, but in air traffic control that is indeed a reality.
Before you panic too much, though, you can rest assured that the selection processes and subsequent training are notoriously rigorous, with only a fraction of applicants ever actually making it to the control tower.
Rather, the reason the job is open for anyone to apply is that much of the work is grounded in aptitude, meaning that you’ll either be a natural or you’ll flounder at the first hurdle. You’ll also need to demonstrate an extremely level head and the ability to multitask effectively, while attention to detail is another key skill. What is for certain, though, is that air traffic controllers come from all backgrounds and walks of life, and an extensive work history doesn’t have to be one of them.
How to apply? In the UK, simply apply through the official NATS website and undertake the online assessments at any time. In the US, you will need to wait for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to advertise vacancies on their website.
2. Police Officer
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Average annual salary: $63,000 / £40,000
Life as a police officer can be demanding, tough and dangerous, but also very rewarding; no wonder, then, that you’ll have to demonstrate a wealth of skills and competencies in order to make the recruitment cut. One thing you won’t necessarily need, though, is an extensive work history.
Police officers are instead selected based on their potential for the role, which is carefully assessed over several interview and assessment stages (including the evaluation of other key factors such as physical fitness and medical suitability). Assessors are looking to see if you can remain calm under pressure, exhibit sound decision-making skills and communicate well; you would then undergo an intensive training course, followed by several years of close supervision on the job under the guidance of a more senior officer.
How to apply? In both the US and the UK, you would have to meet strict eligibility requirements based on nationality and criminal background, before waiting for an individual force to advertise vacancies.
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Average annual salary: $42,500 / £27,500
If you’ve ever been attracted to a career on the open road, then driving trucks, lorries and other assorted heavy goods vehicles is the perfect way to do it.
Although you don’t necessarily need any experience to get started, you will, of course, need the correct licences (these will vary depending on your location). Other than that, your success in the profession is down to how well you can network with hiring managers and how stringent the demand for drivers is in your area.
Once you land a gig and prove yourself reliable, you can take on bigger jobs and even buy your own truck (a traditional steppingstone towards going solo and starting your own business). If you have the right licences and paperwork, you can also find work transporting dangerous goods – a responsibility that comes with significant financial recompense.
How to apply? Look for vacancies at trucking firms and network as much as you can. You might need to relocate if there is little demand in your area.
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Average annual salary: $39,900 / £24,000
If you’re looking for that perfect combination of something that is high-paying and requires no qualifications or experience, then working on an oil rig could be just the ticket.
It’s no picnic, though, and you’ll certainly have to earn your money. Aside from being one of the more dangerous jobs on the market, it’s also one of the most labour-intensive. You might need a few contacts to get your foot in the door, and you’ll certainly need to prove yourself, but if you’re physically fit, willing to spend large chunks of your life away from home and don’t mind your office being one of the harshest working environments in the world, then a career on the rigs could be for you.
How to apply? Monitor vacancies at various energy companies and try to make as many industry contacts as you can.
5. Train Driver
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Average annual salary: $59,800 / £40,000
Although the prospect of driving trains is traditionally the fanciful reserve of hobbyists and small children, there’s actually a lot of money to be made by getting behind the wheel (or, er, levers). This is because train drivers are trained totally from scratch and carry a lot of responsibility once they are let loose.
The downside, however, is that such vacancies are advertised rarely, and when roles do become available, they entail fierce competition. In such instances, having work experience to fall back on might just set you apart from your rivals, particularly if you have already worked on the trains as a conductor and have a strong network of contacts. For everyone else, knowledge of mechanical engineering and, of course, trains themselves will spruce up your application.
How to apply? Train operators advertise their own vacancies, so keep your eyes peeled (and be prepared to relocate if necessary).
6. Casino Dealer
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Average annual salary: $22,300 / £19,000
If you prefer your work environment to be a little more sophisticated, then a career in the casino industry could be on the cards (ba dum tss); while base salaries for table dealers are not particularly notable, the potential for earning tips and, in organised games, commissions can actually make this a highly lucrative role.
You’ll need to have strong customer service skills, be physically presentable and, of course, live in (or be willing to relocate to) an area where casinos are legal. On the plus side, if you enjoy meeting new and interesting people every day (and your numerical skills are in order), then you’ll be a highly desirable employee.
How to apply? Monitor job boards and casino websites for vacancies, and don’t be afraid to ask ‘on the shop floor’ if any vacancies are on the horizon.
Toa55 / Shutterstock.com
Average annual salary: $49,100 / £32,000
As is the case with oil rig workers, becoming a firefighter doesn’t require you to have any experience, but it’s a potentially dangerous job that requires a large degree of physical fitness.
You’ll also have to deal with the emotional trauma of what you could potentially encounter; therefore, recruiters are looking for candidates who can demonstrate emotional maturity and strength, as well as physical. The ability to work effectively within a team and remain calm under considerable duress are also two traits that will work in your favour.
How to apply? As with the police, individual forces advertise their own vacancies. In the UK, it is also possible to be ‘retained’, which means that you will cover shifts on a part-time basis or when needed on top of your full-time job.
8. Coach Driver
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Average annual salary: $33,000 / £19,000
As has already been demonstrated, it’s totally viable to make a lucrative living simply out of steering large moving objects; that’s exactly what you’d be expected to do as a coach driver, too, where – once again – all you need is to hold the requisite driving licences.
Most of the additional training is provided on the job (in some cases, even the licence itself can be acquired at the company’s expense), although unlike truck drivers you’ll have to deal with your passengers as well. As a result, you’ll need to navigate in and out of some pretty tight spots, while you might also be required to drive overseas (particularly if you work for a tour operator); on the plus side, you’ll get plenty of downtime, and all your expenses will be fully covered.
How to apply? Monitor job boards for vacancies; coach companies have clients in a whole host of industries and sectors, so there’s always work available.
9. Military Personnel
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Average annual salary: $39,500 / £29,500 (Enlisted) and $80,800 / £40,000 (Officer)
For those that don’t have any working experience, joining the military is a great way of not only getting your hands dirty in your chosen profession but also developing a whole host of sought-after transferable skills.
From logistics to medicine, IT to engineering, and intelligence to construction, you will receive accredited training in any number of areas, as well as gain those aforementioned soft skills such as self-discipline, leadership, communication and teamwork. You’ll also receive a raft of free benefits, too, such as heavily subsidised accommodation, free health and dental care, and education credits; all this means that, come the end of the month, your paycheque can be spent however you see fit.
How to apply? Visit a recruiting office and discuss your career options with one of the representatives there.
10. Security Guard
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Average annual salary: $27,000 / £19,000
If you are medically fit, of good character and you don’t mind working shifts, then becoming a security guard is a relatively simple way of earning some cash. While the level of ‘excitement’ that you’ll encounter will likely depend on the importance of what exactly it is you’re guarding, you will certainly hold a lot of responsibility.
In most cases, there are plenty of opportunities for overtime and extra shifts, too, meaning that there is the potential for a highly lucrative bottom line. Most employers will train you on the job (while some may also involve additional weapon training); you may also have to undergo additional security clearance assessments if you are guarding sensitive material.
How to apply? Many kinds of organisations require security guards in a variety of roles, so monitor job boards regularly. You can help your chances by undergoing approved and accredited security industry courses, too.
11. Uber Driver
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Average annual salary: $24,900 / £22,000
If you haven’t already figured out by now, driving licences equal money; whether you work for an accredited taxi service provider or sign up to Uber, the result is the same.
To become an Uber driver, for instance, all you need to do is pass the company’s vetting process and own your own vehicle; as with many side gigs, the hours that you then work are totally up to you. It’s entirely possible to make a full-time living out of being an Uber driver, while you could also consider other driving jobs, too, such as delivery driving (especially around Christmas) or chauffeuring.
How to apply? Apply through Uber’s website.
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Average annual salary: $49,700 / £32,500
Salesmanship is a fascinating concept; essentially the ability to manipulate the human mind into desiring something, it is a gift that some people seem to possess more freely and readily than others. It is also a highly sought-after skill by nearly every business in the world, so if you happen to be something of a charmer, then there’s good news: you can make a very handsome career out of it.
Most entry-level positions utilise a pitch script and don’t require any experience or qualifications, but as you’ll quickly realise, salespeople are judged on their numbers alone. This means that if you’re meeting (or exceeding) your targets in an entry-level role, then your potential will be quickly recognised. Aside from your base salary, sales is a very commission and bonus-based industry, so there is plenty of cash to be made if you’ve got what it takes.
How to apply? Due to high turnover, many organisations offer commission -based junior roles; if you perform well, you can quickly move into a more senior and well-paid position.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to earn a good salary without the need for a strong employment background, with many of the roles on offer easily clearing the 60k mark. What’s more important in these cases is the ability to develop key soft skills and sell them during the application and interview process. If you can do that, then your lack of work history is irrelevant, and you won’t have to compromise a well-paid career in exchange for experience.
Meanwhile, do you know any other great careers that require no prior work experience? Let us know in the comments section below!
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by the National Careers Service, the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook and PayScale.