How to approach your job search when you have no experience?

Have you ever been told by the interviewer that “you don’t have the experience we are looking for.”  Me too.  I used to hear that every day, actually for years…. So much and to the point where I didn’t want to go on another interview.  But I eventually figured out how to overcome it.

And today I want to share with you the same exercise I learned that helped me.  you can do this when you don’t have any work experience or when  are a little light on experience.

It’s not magic trick and it’s not going to help you fly a jet airplane if you have no experience flying, but it will help you bridge the gap.

So if you’ve been turned down for jobs for lack of experience or you have an up-coming interview where you know your past experience is going to be a concern and you want to know how to overcome that experience obstacle, then let me know by hitting the like button on this video and we’ll jump right in.

This technique also works if you are changing careers and don’t have the actual experience for the new career that you want to move to.

what I’m sharing with you today is not a substitute for experience.  You have to have some base level knowledge, whether theoretical, volunteer, or observatory for this to work.  Are we cool on that?

So if you have been turned down for jobs in the past for a lack of experience, it’s not so much that you lack experience, but that you failed to sell yourself.  You failed to connect the dots to show the interviewer that you possess the raw skills, capability and talents.

If your resume convinced an employer to call you, then you have enough experience, whether it’s just theoretical or actual.

First step, start with the job description.  Print this off so you can mark it up.  I like to use different colored highlighters when I do this for clients.

Carefully and slowly read the job description all the way through.

This is a roadmap or blueprint the employer has provided that gives you all the details of what they want.  All you have to do is READ IT.

Most candidates half-heartedly read this and show up for the interview unprepared and wonder why they failed.  The employer put great effort into writing this because it clearly identifies the type of person they are looking for.

After you read it, read it again and look for repeating patterns and highlight those.  Repeating patterns are where they say the same thing multiple times, but they say it different each time.

They might say things like, financial modeling in one statement, then financial trends in another, and then analytical tools, or market research, and financial reporting in another.

All these terms are closely related and are a signal to you that you better know how to talk about financial reporting models.

And then once you find one repeating pattern, look for another.  Usually you’ll find about 3-5 different repeating patterns that tie back to specific skills or experiences they are looking for.

Now you know what they are looking for.  First step complete.

Second step.  Compare your resume side by side with the job description you just marked up and highlighted.

Draw lines from the repeating patterns you identified in the job description to areas of your resume where you meet their requirements, even if you’re stretching your experiences a little bit.

In some cases, you will find they are looking for skills and experiences you don’t have, but don’t worry about this.  This is just the discovery mapping phase and now you know what they are looking for and how it translates back to your experiences.

Now you have a complete map of what they need and how you think you can fill their need.

Third and final step.

Connect the dots for them.  Show them how you have what they need, even if you don’t have that certain skill or experience, but you can show them why it’s a non-issue, how you’ll overcome it, or how your past experiences have prepared you for this.

This is the part where you probably failed in your last interviews, and don’t feel bad, most people fail here.  The job goes to the person who poses the least risk to the employer.  They give it to the person they believe has the best chance of success, not the one with the most experience.

To bridge the gaps between what they are looking for and what you have to offer, you want to create description statements that show how you can meet their needs.

These are not statements that you show the employer, but ones you create for your own reference and show yourself how you can do this job.  This is your own map, your plan, of how you can do this job.

Whether you have experience or not, you still need to be convinced yourself you can do the job, right?

This is where you start selling yourself.  And right now I know some of you are saying, “Don, I’m not good at selling or I don’t like selling, or selling makes me feel uncomfortable.”

And I say, then educate them on how you can do this job.

Ha ha – you didn’t see that coming.  Selling, educating, influencing, persuading – it’s all the same thing.  You need to convince them you are the best person for the job.

To create these description statements, go back to the job description and pull out all those repeating patterns of skills, then write mini essays of how and why your past experience, education, and ambition as prepared you for this job.

So if you were to hand in this essay to an employer, it should convince them that you are the perfect candidate for this job, even if you have zero experience and nothing but theory.

Doing this on paper should be EASY for you.  After you are done, you should be convinced that you can do the job.  OR not.

Maybe after going through this exercise, you realize that in all good conscience this job is not a match for you.

This is a great realization to have because it will save you from the humiliation of an interview you thought you were qualified for.

To take this one step farther, give a friend the job description and your mini essays and see if they are sold on whether you can do the job or not.  That’s a great test.

By doing this exercise you might realize that you have half the skills and experience of what the employer is looking for, but the only thing holding you back is some experience with a few software tools.

No problem.  Find a way to learn something about these tools or whatever it is you need.  Look for tutorials on YouTube.

You don’t have to have real world experience, but just having some base knowledge to talk intelligently on the topic goes a long way.

You can say, “Even though I don’t I’ve never used the tool, here is what I do know and I’m certain I can pick this up quickly.”  And most interviewers will be impressed by your efforts.

Keep this in mind:  employers are selfish and are only concerned with what you can do for them.  They don’t want to hear about how this job will benefit you, but how you will benefit them.  To stand out, tell them what your own plans are for the job.

How you’re going to do it? How you’re going to overcome any hurdles?

Make sure you know something about the organization before your interview.  Doing this will give you an edge, and if you’re watching this video right now, you need all the edges you can get.

Give them examples of your accomplishments from your past and how your efforts have benefited a past employer.

Let them know how you plan to take on this new job over the next 6 months to 1 year.

Even if your plan is half-baked, show them you have been thinking about it and how you are going to do it. Let them know you’re not afraid of trying new things or wearing many hats.

You can really build a place for yourself if you can show them that you know how to get things done without a lot of direction.

Let them know you are a team player, a leader, a teacher, and back it up with real examples from your past. You may not realize it, but in one way or another, you have been all three of these, but if it’s not obvious to you, dig deep and you will find something.

There you are my friend, 3 easy steps to getting a job with little to no experience.  Just don’t use it to fly jumbo jets.

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