/How to get a job even if you don’t have much experience
You may think you only meet some of the job requirements, but you may still be the right candidate.
We’ve all been there. Browsing numerous job sites, looking at hundreds of job posts, and trying to figure out if the expectations of the role meet our knowledge and skills. You’re not alone if you find it challenging to look for work.
Two-thirds (64%) of young people say that it’s not easy to get a good job these days, and nearly a third (29%) say they have struggled to get interviews. These findings are based on a survey of 5,000 people commissioned by City and Guilds.
For early career professionals, applying to a role after viewing the job description presents a big challenge, as most entry-level jobs still require work experience and qualifications.
Although it’s normal to feel that you don’t quite match all the requirements in a job advert, don’t let this stop you from applying. Take advantage of the opportunity and count yourself in because this might be what you need to land the job you’re looking for.
Why is it good to apply to jobs you don’t feel qualified for?
Opportunity to learn and grow
To grow in your career, you’ll need to do things that will challenge you. If you meet some job requirements but not others, this is the perfect opportunity to develop your skills.
You don’t have to tick every requirement, but does the role play to your true potential? Remember: there can be a certain level of flexibility surrounding job descriptions.
And even if it doesn’t work out as you’d hoped, you’ve already done something great by applying. With this experience, you are much more prepared to continue your job search and handle the pressure of a job interview.
You gain confidence
It takes courage to try something you feel you need more preparation for. The more you believe in yourself and face uncomfortable situations, the more you gain confidence and become more resilient in the face of rejection.
You might not get an answer from some of the companies you applied to but keep going. What’s important here is that you are committed to your development and build the confidence you need to do well in that one interview you are waiting for.
Even if you don’t get hired for the role, you’ve already done a fantastic job in showing yourself that you’re determined to succeed.
Take the first step and see what happens
You never know what opportunities may arise when you’re willing to take a chance on a job, no matter your qualifications or experience. It might be the first step you need to take that might open doors to new connections or learn something new that can help you in your job search.
For example, the job ad says you must be skilled in Java programming, but you know Python? This may be your chance to take an online course and update your skills.
And while speaking to employers in interviews, you can find valuable information about what they’re looking for in a candidate. If you take the feedback onboard, it might be what you need to know the next time you apply for a job.
Here are three actionable steps to follow and increase your chances of success:
1. Search for the right people
Start by looking at people in roles like the one you’re interested in on job sites like LinkedIn. Or visit the company’s profile and skim through its current employees. Once you find someone you can chat with, reach out to them with a message to get an insider perspective into what that career or role is all about.
In the message, you can tell them who you are, mention why they could be helpful to you, and ask if they can have a short conversation with you so you can learn more about their role and how they got there. Their experience and advice can help you in your job interview and decide if the role suits you.
2. Write and submit a cover letter
Cover letters are very important in your job application. Writing a compelling cover letter can help you gain the recruiter’s or employer’s attention and showcase your motivation for the job.
While the CV speaks about your past work experiences and the skills you gained, the cover letter is a great way to explain what you want to do in your career, why you are interested in the job, and why you believe you’re a good fit for the role.
If you have yet to gain the years of experience mentioned in the job description, your cover letter can show the employer why you think you have the skills to do the job.
For example, you might have one year of work experience, but you might also have volunteering or freelance experience where you used the skills required for the role.
3. Prepare for the interview
If you land the job interview, congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare and do a bit more research. Start by looking into the company, the team, and the hiring manager so you can familiarise yourself with their mission, values, and the projects they’re part of.
Once this is done, review your professional experiences and job description and see how these fit together. This step will prepare you for the interview stage, where the company will ask about your professional background, how you handle different work scenarios, and your thought process while solving problems.
Practice your answers using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method . The STAR method is very important, as you will want to prove that, although you’re not meeting every requirement in the job description, your experience still allows you to do the job well.
Practice by taking the following steps:
- Describe the situation: Provide context around the task, who was involved, timeframes, and other relevant details
- Describe the task: Explain what you needed to do
- Describe the action: Explain the steps you took to meet the goal
- Describe the result: Detail what outcomes resulted from your actions
To use the START method successfully, list situations and past projects focusing on the person specification criteria you found in the job description.
Consider some examples of successful projects, examples of times you failed and the lessons you learnt from those failures, including what you would have done differently in those scenarios.
Try to make results as specific as possible, including data where you can, such as percentages to show growth or numbers to show how your contributions added value to the team or company.
Finally, prepare to showcase your technical skills if you’re applying to a technical role. For example, you may need to demonstrate computer programming skills, so any course projects, volunteer work, or freelance gigs can help you do this, so ensure you have your portfolio up to date.
Having the courage to take on a new challenge is the first step to success. If you want that job interview, keep preparing for it and apply to jobs relevant to you and your experience. Give it a try even if you don’t meet all requirements in the job description. Continue to learn and practice your skills.
If you’re new to the job market or want to change your career to a different industry, the Click Start Programme might be just what you need. Courses are free for eligible learners, and even if you feel you’re new to the field of technology and digital skills, we encourage you to apply.
We would love to hear how these tips turned out for you.