Gaining relevant work experience aligned to a specific field of study is becoming more and more difficult for young professionals around the world. They come to us with the fresh graduate dilemma: “how can I gain work experience if I don’t have any?”.
Well, the fact is that most of the time we deal with students and graduates that have no work experience at all in their fields of study and placing them is often a matter of selling abilities and finding a good match for those abilities rather than selling work experience.
So, the question we want to answer today is: How can you demonstrate that your skills and abilities are relevant to the company?
1. SELL YOUR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
“Transferable skills” are the skills you have gained while doing other jobs, volunteering or working on passion projects that could successfully be applied towards another type of activity.
Companies are often more interested in the fact that you have the abilities to do the job rather than that you’ve actually done the job itself, so you should be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills that could be useful to the role and the company.
For example, if you have worked in customer service or hospitality before, you probably have had a chance to develop strong communication, problem solving and time management skills. These could be extremely useful for a variety of roles, such as Marketing, Public Relations, IT, and many more! If you have engaged in school projects or have been assigned as a leader in a project you could also demonstrate that you have initiative and may possess useful leadership skills.
There is a range of transferable skills that you could explore. Think hard about your passions, hobbies, interests and previous life experiences that could give you an insight of what are your valuable skills. Use them!
2. SHOW THAT YOU CAN LEARN
No one is born with work experience and companies know that. With passion and desire, you can learn almost anything but without the willingness and ability to learn, you won’t be able to go too far.
Do tell the employer that you are willing to learn and that you learn fast, but more than that: demonstrate through real examples. Show real life situations where you were able to quickly incorporate new learnings into practice. It could be a new language that you have quickly learned, a summer course or workshop where you have gained a new understanding of a topic, or even a new musical instrument you have learned to play.
3. SELL YOUR SOFT SKILLS
Soft skills are becoming more and more important for companies. While hard skills can continually change and become obsolete, soft skills are transferable to all jobs and will never get old. Hard skills can be measured and even tested, but soft skills are a bit more subjective and can’t really be taught.
For a student or recent graduate with very limited or no work experience, soft skills can be a good option to help emphasize why you are a good fit for a specific position. Choose the soft skills you possess and are more relevant to the position in question. For example, if you are applying for a Sales position, influencing skills will be relevant; on the other hand, if you are applying for a Data Entry position, attention to detail will be more relevant.
4. CREATE A 5 STAR COVER LETTER
A good Cover Letter is key for any job / internship applicant who lacks work experience. A resume works as a list of your practical achievements, but the Cover Letter allows you to empower your application with your story and highlight why you are the best fit. In that sense, it is crucial to write a cover letter that complements your resume, and not only duplicates the information.
The Cover Letter gives you a chance to directly speak with the hiring manager, and tell a compelling narrative around your career hopes and aspirations. It is a helpful tool to show your enthusiasm, qualifications and relevant skills.
Please, remember: to be effective, your cover letter should be specific to each and every position you apply for.
I hope these tips have helped you to identify your abilities and find better ways to sell it in your next job / internship hunt. Good Luck!
Published on by Daniele L.