Did you recently graduate from high school or college and find yourself with a new degree, no job experience and no idea how to get your first job? Did you take time off from working to care for a family member or avoid unfulfilling jobs for as long as possible? Did you have a gap in your resume because of one weird reason or another? No experience and no degree can be extremely frustrating when searching for your first real job, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, it might even work in your favor. Getting your first job when you don’t have much experience or a college degree can be difficult, but not impossible. SEND YOUR RESUME TO HR When applying to any job, the very first thing you should do is send them your resume. It doesn't matter if there's an online application process; send it to HR anyway. There's nothing more off-putting than receiving 100 applications that all look exactly the same. Don’t make the hiring team sift through hundreds of unoriginal documents just because they ask you to in their job ad - stand out from the word go!
This is something that can’t be taught and can only be gained from experience, but it is extremely important when it comes to landing your first job. You might be worried about your lack of experience or your lack of a degree - don’t let that show. You want to show the hiring team that you’re confident in yourself and your capabilities, even if you don’t have proof of what you can do yet. Being confident doesn’t mean faking it until you make it, either. You want to make sure your resume is accurate and clear, and that your cover letter is perfectly tailored to the job you’re applying for. If you are lacking in experience, you want to make sure you address that on your resume, but don’t let it be the first thing the hiring team reads. If you have to, reword your resume so that your lack of experience is listed towards the bottom and isn’t the first thing the hiring team reads.
Network Like Crazy
If you’ve got your resume and cover letter ready to go, you might want to start networking like crazy. Who knows - you might even be able to find a job before you’ve even applied for one! Talking to friends, family, and past co-workers is a great way to get your name out there and find out about job opportunities you might not have known about otherwise. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who work in industries you’re interested in or might be interested in. Networking can be a very long and drawn-out process, but it is well worth it if you want to get your first job.
Offer to Work for Free (and actually mean it)
If you’re not already employed, offering to work for free at a company you’re interested in can be a great way to get your name out there. It shows hiring managers you’re willing to take initiative and go above and beyond to prove your dedication and worth, even if you don’t get paid for it. You want to make sure you’re targeting companies that aren’t hiring at the time, though - if you offer to work for free at a company that is currently hiring you’ll come across as unserious and might even irritate the hiring team.
Target Smaller Companies
If you’ve got experience under your belt, great! You can use that to your advantage and start applying to larger companies and even headhunters. If you don’t have much experience, though, it can be helpful to target smaller companies. Smaller companies tend to be more flexible when it comes to hiring, often because they’re just starting out and need all the help they can get. Landing a job at a larger company with no experience can be near impossible, but landing a job at a smaller company just might be the perfect fit for you.
Don’t Give Up Hope!
If you’ve tried all of these methods with no luck, don’t give up hope just yet. There are plenty of other ways to find a job when you don’t have experience or a degree, you just have to know where to look. You can try job posting sites like Indeed or Monster to find jobs in your area, or you can try to look for work abroad with sites like Remote Year or Working Abroad. You can even try applying to volunteer work in your area to get your foot in the door. There are tons of ways you can find a job when you don’t have experience or a degree, but you have to be willing to be a little creative and put in the work. With the right mindset and a little bit of effort, you’d be surprised at how many jobs you can land when you don’t fit the typical profile.
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