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Help! I Have No Job Experience. What Should I Do?

So you’re ready to get a job. You’re revved up to earn your first paycheck, try a new line of work, or reenter the workforce after some time away. There’s just one little problem: you have no experience that is relevant to your chosen field. How are you supposed to convince an employer to hire you with an empty resume?

It’s the age-old dilemma: you can’t get experience without a job, but it’s hard to get a job without experience. The struggle is real, but take heart — everyone else in the workforce was in your shoes at some point. Here are some tips to help you get that first job.

Create a Solid Entry-Level Resume Before Applying for Jobs

No matter what kind of job you’re looking for, you will almost certainly need a resume. It can be hard to figure out what to include, especially when you don’t have much to put in the experience section.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can put on your resume besides formal work experience:

  • Skills
  • Volunteer work
  • Educational achievements, including certifications
  • Informal and/or unrelated jobs (e.g., babysitting or mowing the lawn for your neighbors)

For jobseekers without much experience, the trick is to emphasize your skills and positive traits. You likely have at least a few soft skills you’ve shown while pursuing your education or helping out in your community. Maybe you demonstrated leadership and teamwork skills by pulling a major group project together for school, proved your organizational skills by running a food drive, or developed problem-solving skills by babysitting your neighbors’ kids.

Keep in mind that while some informal activities can go on your early-career resume, you should never include hobbies. The point is to show potential employers how you can contribute to their organization, which means sticking to experiences where you helped your community or demonstrated a good working attitude.

The Best Resume Format for Early Career Jobseekers

There’s more than one way to format your resume. Traditional chronological resumes work well if you have a lot of continuous experience, but if you’re early in your career, you may be better off with a functional resume.

Functional resumes highlight your skills and abilities rather than work experience. Most functional resumes have the following sections:

  1. Summary Statement: This is typically a few lines of text summarizing your best traits, what kind of job you are seeking, and how the job fits into your career goals.
  2. Summary of Qualifications: This section should have bullet points listing your most relevant achievements, certifications, and/or courses taken. Be sure to mention any qualifications you have that were listed in the job description.
  3. Professional Skills: Include bullet points listing any relevant skills you have, including both hard and soft skills. You may want to group related skills together, such as by listing your second language and public speaking skills under a subsection labeled “Communication.”
  4. Experience: If you do not have any formal work experience, you can include volunteer efforts and informal work such as babysitting. If you do not have these types of experiences either, you may be able to get by with leaving this section out, or you can try signing up for volunteer work before seeking employment.
  5. Education: Include the name of your high school(s) and the years you attended. If you attended college or a formal training program, include the name of the institution(s), the years you attended, and the degree you got. If you didn’t graduate, state how many years or credit hours of education you completed.

Regardless of which format you use, be sure to check the page over for common resume mistakes. A little attention to detail can go a long way toward helping you get a job!

Interview Tips for Job Seekers With No Work Experience

Be Honest

If your hiring manager asks about your work history, don’t try to pretend you have a lot of experience. Emphasize that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity and willing to learn. If you are changing careers, explain the reason.

Talk About Experiences From Other Parts of Your Life

You may not have work experience, but you do have life experience. Don’t be afraid to talk about personal anecdotes in which you demonstrated a relevant skill such as problem-solving, working on a team, or patience, especially if your interviewer asks whether you have that skill.

More Tips to Help You Get Your First Job

Focus on Getting Your Foot in the Door

Entry-level jobs typically involve more unexciting tasks, lower pay, and/or less desirable hours than other jobs. You’re probably not qualified for the job you really want yet, but you may be able to get there by working your way up.

Rather than trying to get a specific type of job, focus on getting your foot in the door so you’re one step closer to where you want to be. For example, you may not be able to get a job as an office manager, but you’ll be one step closer after a year of clerical work experience. At the earliest stage of your career, virtually any work experience is helpful, even if it seems unrelated to what you want to do later on.

Consider Working With a Temp Agency

A temp agency matches job seekers with employers. If you’ve been having trouble finding a job on your own or want to increase your chances of finding work fast, you may want to try applying through a temp agency. These organizations can help you submit better job applications, prepare for interviews, and find out about opportunities you couldn’t have found on your own.

If you are looking for a manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, or clerical job in Utah, apply with LG Resources today. You can also call your local LG office to learn more about how our temp and temp-to-hire jobs work. We typically place qualified candidates within 1–2 days.

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