How to Gain Experience with No Experience

How to gain experience when you cannot even get a job is frustrating. Even entry-level job ads may say something like, “3 years of experience required.” While the task might seem impossible, there are few tricks you can use.

1. Focus on Other Assets

Odds are high that you have an excellent list of transferable skills, also called soft skills. Common ones are creativity, communication, open-mindedness, and dedication. Emphasize these on your applications to offset your lack of actual experience, and use ways such as projects or online courses to get even more experience in these soft skills.

2. Redefine Experience

Be specific instead of vague in your application. After all, it’s pretty obvious you have no experience, so don’t make the employer guess why they should hire you. (Employers won’t take the time to do it). One avenue is to count the skills you have developed on college projects as experience. Another is to quantify achievements and accomplishments with metrics. A third approach, if you have extensive education, is to explain why your educational credentials offset your experience gaps.

3. Think Beyond Paid, Traditional Work

Do whatever you can to gain experience, be it through volunteer work, associations, or internships. Even starting a project or small business of your own gives you some experience to speak of. A blog can serve the same purpose as well.

4. Put Yourself in Employers’ Shoes

Think of yourself as a hiring manager. Suppose you come across a resume and cover letter from someone with no experience. What would make you take note of that person’s application? Perhaps it’s the way the resume is presented (infographic format, for example). Or maybe you admire the person’s honesty and way with words.

5. Enlist Mentors

Networking is one way to get jobs, and mentors are a crucial part of that strategy. Some allow you to shadow them or even volunteer with their company. At the very least, they can tell you about companies who are open to people without experience, and they may put in a good word on your behalf.

How to gain experience when you have no experience is an age-old and vexing issue. Using the above five methods, you’ll be able to get off to a good start.