Are you struggling to get a job or freelance work? Whether you are a college graduate, a career newbie or a Mom looking for jobs after a break, explore loads of smart tips that can help you find a job with no experience. Overcome the lack of work history and showcase your job-ready skills the right way.
Getting a job with limited experience is hard.
Trying to find work in a lean job market is a huge task, and one that often seems impossible.
In today’s job -strapped economy, many graduates are wondering how to find a job after college, while moms are wondering how to find a job working from home.
Fortunately, with these job search tips, we will show you ways you can make this work to your advantage.
Learn the smart ways to find a job with no experience
Document your skills and experience
Break it down into steps first.
Even before you create your resume, write down your top skills and experience on a separate sheet first. This way you can pick and choose on what job skills you need to highlight and what you should eliminate. Or use it as a cheat sheet to guide you.
Are you a Mom looking for a job after a career break? Learn which mom skills count for a job and how to present them.
Browse (and deconstruct) job openings
Even if you don’t have extensive experience, it is important to know what skills and qualities employers are seeking. Here’s how you can review job postings to see what kind of work and soft skills companies, businesses and startups want:
– Do a skills ‘deep-dive’ for your target industry and companies and list them out. Then divide them into hard and soft skill categories. Once you go through 20-30 job descriptions, you will see a pattern of skills and phrases that recur. In other words, you’ll have clarity on what they want.
– Read the shorter job posts (on FB & Twitter) as well, since they will focus on the must-have attributes.
– Distinguish between the needs of different types of hirers and use it to your advantage. Startups look for different work qualities than large companies. A business on a budget is more likely ready to take on someone without experience and train them.
All of this will help you share and articulate your skills the right way when you apply for jobs. And importantly, it will also give you a direction on what to learn and how to add value to your resume.
Explore top Full-time and Freelance Jobs
Research. Learn. Apply.
Create your ‘Rockstar Resume!’
How do you make your resume discoverable to find a job online? Here are two smart hacks that you need to work on.
-Use Keywords for your Resume
You can instantly ‘optimize your resume’ by using words or phrases employers identify as key requirements for a specific position.
Once you document a list of desired skills that your ideal job descriptions have (as per pointer above), you can then use the keywords-appropriate terms in your resume.
Why are keywords important?
Many employers rely on software known as applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help them sort through the resumes they receive to find qualified candidates.
Be careful about choosing the Keywords that actually match your skill. Else, it will hurt, rather than help, your chances
-Add Action Verbs in the Resume
You can easily substitute a lot of words in your resume with more impactful & compelling Power words. Write ‘Co-ordinated’ or ‘Chaired’ instead of ‘led.’
Or, ‘increased’ can be substituted with ‘Accelerated’ or ‘enhanced.’
Here are some other examples of Action Verbs for a Resume. This is how you should be thinking of adding power to your CV, with a focus on the job skills that you want to highlight.
Communication– Marketed, Mediated, Persuaded, Collaborated
Creativity– Planned, Illustrated, Integrated, Revised
Leadership– Encouraged, Guided, influenced, Coached
Management– Implemented, Oversaw, Prioritized, Launched
Research– Assessed, Determined, Explored, Identified
Also check out this free guide on the right action verbs you can use on your resume.
Polish smartly, Pitch well, Present right!
Don’t miss these Freebies for Personal Development created by the Pros
Create a solid digital footprint
Your employers will search you thoroughly online – that’s a given.
A digital trail helps employers glean more info about your work and personality. This is even more important right now when most of the hiring has gone virtual.
-Update your LinkedIn profile
If you are not on Linkedin yet, we suggest you start today, especially if you are looking for a job. LinkedIn is not only your top online resume, it’s also the leading source for companies and hirers to find candidates. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is current has the right keywords, and showcases additional elements which offset your lack of experience. Include aspects like writing credits, a presentation that you might have done, your certifications, volunteer work, interests, affiliations etc.
For more information on what to include & tips for your LinkedIn profile, grab this freebie checklist.
Also check out this customized LinkedIn Profile Review that evaluates you on multiple parameters, Plus, it offers the best tips & recommendations to make your LinkedIn profile work for you.
-Google and Social Media Self-audit
Run a Google Search with your name (from a device not your own) and see what shows up.
Similarly, keep in mind that prospective employers will look at your social media channels to see what you share and who you are.
Check out this short video to create a strong digital brand in 5 steps.
Customize your cover letter (or any communication)
When you’re applying for a job position, your cover letter is as important as your resume or online profile. You can personalize your cover letter for a job in multiple ways. Make sure that you address it to the right person. If no contact person is mentioned, you can address it to
Team [Company name].
Keep your cover letter to 2-3 paras, personalize it in context to the company’s products (or services) and show your ‘why’ for applying.
Use the cover letter in different ways
-Give a short summary bio
-Add interests or highlights
-Include information which you haven’t added in your resume.
Wondering how to write your cover letter?
Explore these cover letter examples for resumes, depending on the type of job.
And check out these good cover letter examples for students.
PDF resume or Google doc or docx
Create a PDF resume or one on Google Docs as well. This helps you attach and share resumes via emails, even when a company does not have a portal. Or share as a link.
Don’t attach a word file (unless asked) – employers hate that, and many company servers will reject it outright for security reasons.
Build your portfolio (or proof of work)
If your skills allow any kind of visual expression, create a portfolio to demonstrate your work skills and experience, however limited. And the best part – since these are hard to show in resumes, a portfolio link can be a valuable asset for your job search.
What can you show in your non-professional portfolio?
Even if your experience is not with an organization, show other work. An event you helped with, a website you designed or edited, in-house published work with your college, a fundraiser you worked on.
Use a combination of pictures, case study, video or even a process flow format to show what – and how – you delivered the results. Explore these 10 portfolio formats to showcase your best work.
If you are new to creating a portfolio check out the helpful links below to help you put together a portfolio that employers and clients will love:
-Learn the top best practices to create your Portfolio
-Building your writing career? Create an awesome writing portfolio even if you’re a newbie
-Get inspired with these top examples of graphic design portfolios
Host on free blogging sites, Instagram, YouTube
You don’t need an expensive or fancy portfolio site to show your work. There are plenty of free blogging and portfolio sites as well as social media channels to show off what you do.
Even if your portfolio doesn’t pertain to your work directly, sharing it shows a different dimension of your personality.
Your travel photography Instagram is all about having a creative eye. Or a lifestyle video series that you created to help students adapt to campus life underscores your presentation skills. The website you help build for the local shelter highlights your community ethic.
Demonstrate proper digital skills
As important as your functional skills are in any particular industry, your knowledge or command of digital skills is equally important right now, with the consistent switch to remote work. Having strong digital skills with regard to communication, collaboration, teamwork as well as managing deadlines across time zones are strong success criteria today.
How familiar are you with these essential tools needed for jobs and freelance work?
‘Show’ your soft skills
Ensure that your interpersonal skills come through very well in your resume as well as interviews. You have a better chance of landing a job with moderate work skills, but effective communication abilities, rather than the other way round. So ensure that you highlight those soft skills on your resume.
Struggling with how to demonstrate your soft skills in resumes and interviews? These tips from seasoned hirers can help.
Find a Job as an Intern or Volunteer
A good way to add relevant work experience that you can speak of, is volunteer work or internships. Lots of companies welcome interns and it’s a great way to learn the workings of a business. You can talk about real team and collaborative experience in future interviews.
When you are interning with a company, show initiative and a doer’s mindset so that not only will you learn more, but can eventually fall back on them for referrals and references. A lot of companies also make formal job offers to interns who have done good work with them. If employers are feeling the pinch, chances are your idol might be open to an apprentice with a possibility of future employment. Ask. At best you will get a job in the future. At worst you will learn.
Similarly volunteering is another great way to learn skills and garner professional contacts.
If nothing, you can always stay connected with the people you worked with via LinkedIn- a great way to build your network!
Here’s a fun twist – Don’t wait for a job to show up in your dream company. Try the Permissionless Apprenticeship instead
Are you a student or a recent college graduate? Learn how online internships can be great for your career.
Add (even more) value to your resume
Even if you have a strong degree or qualifications adding niche credentials always helps your prospects. There’s a vast range to choose from online courses, MOOCs as well as certifications and even email courses.
Here’s an example. Even if you have a degree in marketing, a certificate course in growing YouTube will make you attractive to a company that uses video, and needs someone to build outreach with video content. Similarly, for a content creator, understanding SEO is a must and a range of free SEO Courses are great for writing high ranking web content.
Similarly, personal growth certifications can really help you stand out with certain skill sets like public speaking, negotiation, leadership management etc.
Find the right jobs and opportunities. Fast!
The availability of good candidates far exceeds the number of jobs available right now. Most job applications get hundreds of resumes submissions and HR managers or recruiters are not even able to read a majority of them.
Therefore, the most important part is your ability to browse and search in the right places. Explore the leading websites that can offer you a curated selection of top jobs & opportunities that you can use and apply.
Sign up for alerts so that you can be notified as soon as the job opening is published. Don’t wait for the last day of the deadline to apply if you can do so earlier.
Showcase your best
Practice with common questions, so that you develop a comfort level with answering questions about yourself. Rehearse before a mirror and with someone else, if possible.
Practice for Phone Interviews
Interviews by phone are the most common, and one of the most difficult things for interviewees, because everything depends on your verbal responses, voice quality and overall articulation.
Virtual and Zoom interviews
Are you new to virtual job interviews (or any interview process)? Make sure you are comfortable on video, can manage the tech and come across as pleasing and ‘hireable.’
Embrace Online Networking the right way
Professional growth in the long run, is all about building strong relationships and taking the initiative to network smartly and consistently. If you are wondering how to find a job online, make an outreach goal everyday. Put it on a spreadsheet. Now sit down and think who can use your skills.
Use LinkedIn to find good jobs
Explore the Jobs Page on LinkedIn with smart recommendations (based on your profile) as well as the search fields to take on a custom search.
Follow the LinkedIn page of a company you are interested in. Look up the employees, particularly those with common connects.
In addition, enable the ‘Open to Work’ field on your Profile. It’s visible only to recruiters and you get notified about job openings that fit your criteria (role, location etc.)
Want more from LinkedIn but struggling with the ‘how’?
When clients or employers are searching, you want to be found!
Enhance your visibility, brand & work prospects
Get your personalized Linkedin Profile Review with our pro team.
Use other Social Media
Twitter is great for getting real time updates on a company’s happenings. Even set up Google alerts.
Plus you can search for, and join communities on Twitter using hashtags, like #writingcommunity
Join professional groups and engage smartly
Reach out to alumni, your parents’ or spouse’s network.
As a college student, check your college for resources, career center and don’t hesitate to write to professors.
Also Follow hashtags like #jobpost on Facebook or #gethired on Twitter or specific ones like #writingjob
As always, etiquette counts. If you are asking for a favor or introduction, follow-up respectfully. Use Please and Thank you.
Whether you’re looking to network for a job, or on Linkedin, with alumni, etc, here are the best tips to network effectively online.
After the fact: How to Impress quickly in a new job
Even if the company hired you without much experience, you still need to prove your mettle. Explore the qualities that clients and bosses love to get hired and re-hired.
Sometimes you might find a starter job, or an opportunity which doesn’t do justice to your credentials and salary expectations. You can always explore better options. But if you don’t have that luxury, share your perspective with your employers. This way they can support your upward movement in the future. A lot of companies will promote internally if you have done good work and demonstrated the right qualities.
Read my tips on Glassdoor on how to show that you are ready for a senior role.
Work skills to wow bosses and clients!
Conclusion: Find the right jobs (even) with limited or no experience
Even when you have no experience, it is possible to find the right opportunities with you present your skills the right way in your resumes and interviews.
So hone your digital skills, create a solid online persona and showcase yourself with clarity and conciseness.
With patience and persistence, they are sure to love you!
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’