How Do I Get a Job With No Real Experience?

Posted: 9th Dec

How Do I Get a Job With No Real Experience?

It is part of that age old dilemma, “I can’t get a job without experience and I can’t get experience without a job!”

1. Take time to explore all the experience you already have

When asked the question, “What work experience do you have?” many people say none. This is mostly because they haven’t been able to think of anything relevant on the spot.

Needless to say, this has given them a real lack of confidence about their chances to get work.

In our experience, working with students from all over the country, we’ve never met someone who has no experience. However, most of these students start off thinking they have none.

When pressed for more information we find that they have lots of really valuable experience but they “forget” or “don’t think it is relevant”.

All candidates will need support to overcome the ‘critical self’ and to rediscover their achievements, relevant to the position, which optimise their chances of success.


Example 1

Not long ago a Year 11 student from Eltham Victoria told us she had no experience relevant to her interest in design and fashion. When asked if she had done any work experience, she said no. When we explored this with her, she suddenly remembered 2 weeks experience at Katie’s (a clothing store). Then she remembered how she had redesigned the shop window display and how much she enjoyed that.

After discussing how valuable this experience is for careers ranging from retail and merchandising (displaying products in stores to increase sales) to graphic designer (producing artwork and wording for brochures and magazines), she added how the display had been so good it was used in Katie’s stores across the whole region!

Needless to say, this person went from feeling pretty unconfident to feeling really empowered about her chances of getting into work that she wanted!


Example 2

Recently we worked with a Year 12 student from Kyabram interested in a career in Sports.

After a career plan and research he decided that he was most interested in Myotherapy (a specially trained remedial and sport masseur).

He asked us what skills he had that were relevant as he lived on a farm. Part of our advice was that his experience in animal husbandry (looking after animals) was relevant as it related to his ability to understand and treat injury.

Additionally, we suggested that his experience working part time in a supermarket was also relevant as he was developing his skills communicating, organizing and managing people.

He also asked where a Myotherapist might work. We suggested that he might be hired by a sporting club or, more likely, he could set up his own business.

We suggested that if he set up his business in his locality he might develop a practice associated with other allied health professionals such as a Chiropractor (generally works with the skeletal system to heal injury) or Physiotherapist (generally works with the muscular system to heal injury).

2. Every experience is important, no matter how small

Take time to fully explore all the experience you already have. Speak to your career teacher if you need help with this.

Second, consider the broach range of employment relevant experiences you already have.Now of course any work experience where you are formally working for an employer such as doing a Paper Round is extremely valuable to build your skills. However, your experience doesn’t have to be paid or even for an employer. You could have experience in activities including:

Helping at the fete (school or church or club)
Playing a role in managing some aspect of the school camp
Helping your dad / mum / family or friend at their work or on a farm
Your involvement in a sporting club – especially organizing and managing games or events
As a class monitor, student representative or team official
Club member, especially where you are part of the committee
Organizing a band or the school concert / drama night
Helping to build something – a house, car, computer or bicycle
Looking after animals

These are only a few examples; you can explore the many more experiences you have which are relevant to developing your skills.


3. Using your experience, explore how you’ve already started developing a range of employability skills.

In all of these activities you are developing and demonstrating work relevant skills and abilities including:

Planning and Organizing
Taking responsibility
Confidence dealing with different situations
Being on time
Handling money and valuables
Showing initiative
Showing your ability to use tools and machinery
Learning quickly on the job
Public speaking
Customer service
Dealing effectively with people
Negotiating and dealing with problems

These are just a few of the employability skills that are relevant to all jobs.

The point to remember is that once you identify your experience, you can demonstrate how you are developing your skills relevant to your career-life interests.