Breaking into a new career can be incredibly exciting, but it can also come loaded with obstacles. The first thing most employers want to see is your relevant experience, and for good reason. Your experience is proof that you have what it takes to do the job you’re applying for, but what if you don’t have a lot of experience in that field?
The good news is there are a number of ways around that.
Relevant Experience Isn’t Always Paid
First, remember that your experience does not necessarily have to be paid experience. Any internships, volunteer work, community involvement, coursework, extracurricular activities, or even personal projects can all go under the experience category. Be sure to point out what you did in these roles that’s similar to what you would be doing in the job you’re applying for.
Look for other ways to get the experience you need. Expanding your skillset through tutorials or conducting your own projects are great ways to show initiative and enthusiasm and many employers care about those qualities much more than they care about how much experience you have under your belt. Which leads to our next tip.
Let Your Personality Shine
Don’t be afraid to play up your personal attributes, including your positive attitude, enthusiasm, and potential. Employers want someone who can do the job, but even more than that, they want someone who’s easy to work with. Convince them that their lives will be made better just by having you around and they won’t be able to wait to offer you the job.
Play Around With Format
When you do list your experiences and education on your resume or CV, don’t feel like you have to be strict about putting them in chronological order. By putting the most relevant experience first, you’re telling the employer what they want to know up front. Don’t be afraid to list the more recent job after the more relevant internship.
Quantify Your Experience Whenever Possible
Showing you have experience that’s similar to the job you’re applying for is a great way to show you have what it takes, but there are other ways to play up your experience. Even if you haven’t worked in the same industry as the job you’re applying for, there are ways to put what you have done in the best light. In any position you have held, you have done things that have benefited your employer. If you can quantify those benefits, you’ll look that much more appealing to your potential new employer because it will give them a concrete example of what you can do for them. For example, if you came up with a new system that saved your employer time and/or money, give an approximation of how much they were able to save as a result of your efforts.
Experience is important, but it’s not the only thing employers consider when they’re looking at applications. Be creative in how you present yourself and that creativity alone will help you stand out from all the other applicants and make you more appealing to the employer. After all, creativity on your application shows the employer how creative you could be in the workplace.