Have you ever needed work experience but you can't get it because you need previous experience?
This was me 5 years ago. Fresh University Graduate with a degree in History and no actual idea on what path to take next. I probably applied to around 100 jobs a day, ranging from bar staff (have you ever heard of a naturalist cafe? Well me neither until I applied to one) to apps developer (I can just about use Microsoft Word never mind code...) I was under the illusion that if I sent my CV everywhere someone will see my eagerness and give me a chance. How wrong I was... I was wasting my time and probably 70 other Recruiters with my basic retail resume and no experience.
How am I going to get experience if no one will give me the opportunity? Well., now looking back at 19 year old me I can see some crucial mistakes in my get a job or die poor plan.
First of all, what did a degree and an entry level retail sales job teach me and what experience can I transfer across to other companies? Now, this blog post isnât another life story, I am writing this so you fresh graduates or active job seekers can understand why you are not being successful. Now that I am a Recruiter, this is what I wish someone told me at the time.
- Have a look at the requirements section of the role... if you donât tick more than 50% of it, ask yourself if you are wasting yours and someone else's time. Tip: If you tick some but not all of the boxes then why not explain in the cover letter why your skills are transferable.
- Even though it isn't mentioned in every job ad that a cover letter needs to be included, it does help highlighting why you are suitable for the role. I would recommend this to people who a) are looking to move industries and b) to people whose resumes at a quick glimpse do not match these skills or experiences. It also shows that you made an effort and are not just another CV.
- If you really want to call the Recruiter or HR team then cut straight to the part of why you suit the spec, think of it as a verbal cover letter. Tip: Say who you are, what role you are referring to and why you are suitable... the best candidates will also either point me to their LinkedIn profile or send me their resume as I am on the phone.
- Outside interests are crucial if you don't have experience, for example if you recently graduated with an IT Degree, I would strongly recommend using GitHub, running blogs or getting involved in meet ups.
This list can go on a bit longer but I must dash as I have a few CVs to look through funnily enough! Spend time on your resume, sell yourself and also don't forget that most experiences are transferable. More importantly, get involved in the industry you are trying to get into it, whether is writing blogs or making a website about it, this will all give you extra bonus points over people with a bit more experience but no outside interests in the sector. The best candidates I work with always show their passion in technology by sending links to various articles/Github/blogs they have written even when they have 10+ years of experience. Good luck!