Mar 11th 2021

No work experience? Here’s how to land your dream job

How do I get a graduate job with no work experience? It’s a classic catch-22 situation: you need experience to get a job, and a job to get experience. But you are more than your CV. So why let your application end up in a pile of hundreds of other applicants – tossed to the side just because you don’t have a long list of work experience? There are lots of ways to sell your skills and show employers who you really are. 

We recently spoke to Chris Davies, Founder of the online graduate career guidance platform, Graduate Coach, to put together some top tips to help you succeed in your job hunt. They even have a free course to lead you through the process which you can sign up for here

Top tips to land a graduate job

Focus on what you DO have 

“Employers want graduates who can demonstrate they have acquired the key employability skills they are looking for.” – Chris Davies, Founder of Graduate Coach.

These can have been acquired via charity work, sports teams, university clubs, and societies. Through side-hustles or extracurricular activities such as these, you develop a range of soft skills that are transferable to the workplace. 

In fact, our recent research showed that almost three-quarters of businesses believe that hiring people with good soft skills will be more important than ever. You can therefore take these soft skills and tailor them to the job description to show how you would be perfect for the role. Below are some examples of the skills you should shout about in your application: 

Boost your skillsets

“Today, knowledge alone will not equip you for the world of work, nor automatically allow you to enter it. You have to acquire a full suite of skills and experiences.”

You can never have too many skills. And when you’re up against not only hundreds of other graduates but also a whole working world of experienced skilled workers, giving yourself that extra edge can go a long way. You can sign up to platforms such as Udemy and become an expert at Excel, Python or improve your writing skills. Regardless of the industry you go into, skills such as these are invaluable and will show employers that you have gone above and beyond a typical CV.

Look for other routes into work

There’s a range of different paths in the recruiting process that can help you get your foot in the door to begin climbing the career ladder. Let’s look at three: 

Temporary work 

This is the unsung hero of the working world. It gives you a breadth of experience, constantly learning new skills to bring with you to your next job opportunity. But not only that, it’s a great opportunity to show you are more than your CV by proving yourself on the job and giving your employer a reason to offer you a permanent position. If you don’t believe us, then read how one of our candidates landed her dream job through temp work

Entry-level job at a startup

Have you ever considered the fast-paced world of startups? Finding work in startups offers you the opportunity to not only be part of an exciting journey where you can own your role but also make a real impact on the company. 

You can start out in an entry-level position where little to no work experience is required. Instead, they want to see that you are passionate about their mission, with real-life examples of how you can handle a fast-paced environment. You can start out in a quite junior role but by doing well, you can climb the ladder pretty quickly. 

If this sounds perfect for you, then hit the button below to check out all the exciting startup roles we have available on the Tempo platform.

Internships 

Internships or work experience placements, whether face-to-face or virtual, look impressive on your CV and can make you stand out from the crowd. You can acquire first-hand knowledge of a job or an organisation to help give you an extra edge, as well as build a network of contacts. There is often even a job at the end of it. Check out Graduate Coach’s ultimate guide to virtual internships.

“It is only by developing these skills – ones that are right for the job you want and the environment that you work in – that you will be hired.”

Get creative with your application

You are more than your CV, so why should you have to rely on a single piece of paper to show employers why you are right for the job? You should have the chance to sell yourself and let your personality shine through. This is why thinking outside the box and using different innovative recruitment tools to give your application an extra edge is the way forward. 

And video is the perfect way to do this. You can put a face to your name and showcase your skills and experiences in a unique way. On Tempo, you can record a video to add to your profile which helps you to stand out to employers. 

One candidate Yolanda even said, “In a lot of my interviews, they said the reason I got to that stage was because of my video. It helped me to stand out – communicating what I was looking for and the key skills and experiences that I could bring to the table.”

Start volunteering 

Just because you weren’t paid for something doesn’t mean you didn’t gain valuable business skills from it. 

“Employers value other employability experiences that can show them that although you may not have had formal work experience, you are demonstrably “work-ready.” 

Look for opportunities to volunteer and then shout about your experience in your application. Be sure to detail the length of time you volunteered for, relevant tasks you completed, and the skills you developed. It shows a long-term commitment to something and that you are able to apply yourself in a professional capacity, developing people skills.  

For all job seekers, finding a job with no work experience is never going to be easy. Especially when you are faced with tough competition and a world of more experienced workers. But if you can show employers that you are willing to go that extra mile, bringing a range of transferable skills that will help you to hit the ground running, then there is no reason why you won’t land a graduate job in no time. You’ve just got to put yourself out there and show them that you are more than your CV.

If you want extra advice, then check out our ultimate guide to getting a job below.