If a job listing sounds great to you until you come across such examples of prior experience required, you may panic when you read this. “I don’t have experience!” you think. “Surely someone more qualified will get the job, so why bother applying?”
Before you give up on a job listing just because you don’t meet every qualification, you can still apply and possibly be hired by showing your experience in other ways.
First of all, are these skills required or preferred? Employers may give you some consideration if you have strong skills in one area, but not the preferred ones. As long as you meet a majority of the other requirements, you may just need some training to bring you up to the level you need to be. If you lack something that is required, you may want to take some classes or teach yourself a program before applying for similar jobs.
Don’t stress your lack of experience. By mentioning that you don’t have any right off the bat, you’re already turning off a potential employer. They will immediately look for someone more qualified. Mention instead how you have researched the industry and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. However, only say this if you have honestly learned about the field, what kinds of jobs are available, and what kinds of people they are looking for. Don’t lie just to get into an interview.
Draw on transferable skills and personality traits. In my field of interest, professional sports ticket sales, most positions prefer prior sales experience even for entry-level ticket sales positions. However, if you learned skills in other positions, such as dealing with difficult people in a retail or restaurant job; or have research skills from a public relations or media profession; you can sell this to a prospective employer as long as you have solid examples of how you used them.
Talk about any leadership roles you may have held. Were you the captain of your school sports team or president of your Greek organization? Leaders often face many challenges and tough decision making. Your ability to hold it together and give your teammates someone to look to means you can work well with all types of people and could supervise others if given the opportunity.
There are things that every employer looks for regardless of the industry. Most require overall professionalism, excellent communication (both written and verbal) skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, and working with others are all examples of what you need to do to succeed at any job.
Did you ever have to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time? Did you walk away from a difficult boss without burning any bridges? This shows that you are prepared for anything and handle yourself with grace regardless of how everyone else around you are reacting.
Always clearly explain why you want to go into your chosen career. It is a good idea to mention an inspiring book you might have read, written by a professional in the field, your personal passion for a company’s service or product, or the fact that you are career oriented and ready to learn will all help you land the job. By doing some extra research, your knowledge may be enough to make up for your lack of experience.
The job market is tough and you need to get experience before going for some more of the advanced jobs. Although even entry-level jobs require some form of experience in the industry, you can always compensate for what you don’t have. All you need to do is stay positive and tell the employer what you have to offer instead of highlighting what you can’t. With that attitude in mind, you could be on the same level as your already experienced counterparts in no time.