All of us need to have a job to make the money we need to survive, but if you have no experience, you might find it impossible to get started. These days, it seems like even the most basic, entry-level positions for most companies require a robust educational background and several years of experience. If you literally need the experience to get an entry-level job in a given field, how are you ever supposed to take your first step forward?
Thankfully, there are several options available to you.
Your Options: High-Level
Let’s take a look at some of the directions you can take this, from a high level:
- Start your own business. If there aren’t any businesses willing to hire you, why not start your own business? Starting your own business can be challenging and stressful, especially if you’ve never done it before and if you have no experience in entrepreneurship. But at the same time, building a business is highly rewarding. Not only will you be able to make your own schedule, set your own rules, and grow the way you want to grow, but you’ll also have potentially unlimited income. Best of all, you can start a business in literally almost any industry, though some industries make it easier than others. For example, starting a bookkeeping or accounting business is relatively simple once you have the basic training. According to Bookkeepers.com, getting that training and starting a bookkeeping business could unfold over just a few months.
- Take an entry-level job. Start looking for a truly entry-level job. Many jobs are marketed as entry-level, but this is misleading, because those jobs also require you to have some experience. You might be better suited taking a job that requires less education and less training, even if that position isn’t fully aligned with what you want to do. After taking this job, you can work your way to a more relevant position for your interests and areas of specialty.
- Get involved in a side gig. Getting hired for a job forces you to overcome several important barriers, but getting started with a side gig is much easier. Pick up a side gig related to your area of expertise and start making money right away.
Build Your Core Skills
No matter which option you choose, it’s important to spend some time building your core skills. Even if you don’t have any experience in this industry, if you can show that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re going to be a valuable asset, you’ll be much more likely to get hired or find clients.
These are some of the most important areas to work on:
- Education. What is your current education level and do you have a convenient way to increase that level? For some types of jobs and businesses, your best course of action is securing a new college degree. For others, the best path forward could be attending a formal class to learn new skills.
- Certifications and training. You may also benefit from certifications and training. Is there a specific piece of software you could learn? Can you get official certification from a regulatory body in your industry? Are there specific technical skills you could pick up?
- Soft skills. Soft skills are generic skills that are applicable and valuable to a wide variety of different professions. These include things like communication, digital literacy, the ability to work on the team, and so on. Work on refining these skills to make yourself a better-rounded and more appealing candidate.
Get Any Experience You Can
The central problem in acquiring a job with no experience is the fact that you have no experience. Accordingly, the best way to resolve this problem is to get any experience you can. These are some of the best options for you:
- Internships. It may or may not pay you, but you can almost certainly get some experience through an internship. Look for an internship where you’re going to actively take on important responsibilities, rather than just running errands or doing busy work. This could be the perfect foundation for your future career.
- Volunteering. If you can’t find an internship in your area of choice, consider volunteering. Ideally, you’ll volunteer for an organization aligned with your career goals, but almost any volunteering experience is going to be valuable for you. You’ll be able to list it on a resume, get some active practice, and meet new professionals at the same time.
- Shadowing/mentorships. You can also gain experience through mentorships and shadowing others. Try to find someone in the industry with ample experience who’s willing to teach you and help you develop.
Expand Your Possibilities
You’re going to have much better luck if you remain open minded throughout this process. Expand your possibilities with the following strategies:
- Open yourself up to more opportunities. Too many people end up struggling to find a job because they only consider a narrow range of specific opportunities. Sometimes, it pays to make compromises and look for opportunities outside of your ideal descriptions.
- Look in unconventional places. If you’re only browsing one job board or one website, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You can find job opportunities almost anywhere, as long as you’re willing to look.
- Network. Most jobs are filled through networking in the modern era, since people are more likely to trust personal referrals and recommendations than a stranger’s resume and portfolio. Use this to your advantage by fleshing out your network as much as possible; work to meet new people in your industry, stay in touch with them, and provide them whatever value you can. They’ll keep you in mind if they hear of any new opportunities.
Finding a job when you have no experience can be difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible, especially if you utilize the strategies in this guide. Try to remain patient, as you’ll probably encounter multiple rejections before you break through.