In today’s job market, employers tend to look for relevant experience when making a hiring decision. In fact, 25% of employers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region say that experience is the most important part of a CV, The process of finding and applying for your first job, or changing jobs, can therefore be daunting, especially if you are looking for a job in another department or another industry altogether that requires different skills than the ones you have. So how can you get the job when you have no relevant work experience? Here are some tips from the Bayt.com career experts to help you get that new job:
1. Make your experience relevant
Who said that you don’t have ANY relevant experience? The work experience you have garnered over the years might not be directly related to the job you’re applying for, but there are certainly some applicable parts which you can highlight on your CV. For example, if you’re a credit analyst and want to get a job as a content writer, you can highlight the fact that your previous job implied the writing of many technical reports and paragraphs upon paragraphs citing reasons for your credit decisions. This could certainly contribute towards the ‘writing’ skill that is so important in content writing. At the end of the day, you must create relevant experience out of your past one in order to be considered for the job you want.
2. Take the required training
Make up for the skills/experience you lack by taking vocational courses. If you can’t afford to pay for one, consider searching for free courses online. You can always do a part-time job while training for the job you want. The more specializations you have through training, the better your chances of being hired.
3. Create your own experience
Taking the same example from above, a credit analyst would have much more credibility as a content writer if they had their own blog to showcase their writing prowess. Similarly, a person who has no professional experience in design can create a portfolio of his designs online. Nowadays, it’s very simple to create your own website to display your talents.
4. Get experience through volunteering and internships
Although volunteering and internships come with low or no pay, they contribute a whole lot to your CV by giving you relevant experience. Volunteering and internships also show your willingness to give back to the society. Keep in mind that any volunteering or internship opportunity you get should be directly related to the job role you would like to hold in the future. There is no point in volunteering for a charity organization as a customer service representative if you want to work in IT. Instead, you could ask the organization to put you in their IT department. Also, make the most of your internships by always asking intelligent questions and giving innovative ideas. Doing this will give you a strong foot in the door for the job you want.
5. Show your passion
Your body language and enthusiasm can often make up for any experience that you lack. If you make it to the interview stage, let your unwavering wish to get this job role overshadow any doubts the employer might have. Don’t go into the interview with a dejected or nervous attitude. Be confident and the results will show!
6. Network your way to success
If you're trying to switch jobs, you must focus on networking with the right employers. There are many avenues to network both online and offline. You can meet with top employers in your country through career fairs. You can also take part in virtual job fairs, such as the ones hosted by Bayt.com, no matter where you are in the world! Connecting with employers through social media is another way of branding yourself online.
7. Make your CV stand out
Even people who actually have relevant experience often don’t make it to the interview stage because their CV is just not unique enough. These days, aesthetics play a big role in your CV. You could use data visualization techniques such as creating an infographic CV. A trend nowadays is recording a video CV. This is a short 5-10 minute video in which you talk about your work history. There are many other creative outlets which you can use to show that you are a good fit for the company. You simply have to think of ways to make your CV unique enough to stand out from a huge pile of candidate CVs.
8. Focus on your education and skills
Most degrees give students a strong base on a variety of topics. Graduates also gain a lot of knowledge which they might not use in their first few jobs, but can use in their new job. Make sure to highlight these skills when applying for a job. Also, if you aren’t getting the job with an undergraduate degree consider going for a graduate degree. Having a relevant advanced degree automatically increases your worth in the market.