8 Ways to Make Yourself Employable Without Work Experience
Finding a job is getting pretty hard, especially since some employers want unrealistic work experience. An entry-level position requiring 20 years of experience? Come on! Don’t they remember what it was like just starting out in the professional world?
Well, thankfully, even if you don’t have tons of work experience, there are a few things you can do to make yourself look like the perfect candidate for the job. Here are some tips you should follow before you submit your next resume.
Use proper grammar and punctuation.
Do not underestimate the importance of proper grammar and punctuation. Spelling correctly and having a solid grasp on grammar is the best way to make your resume and cover letter look professional.
No one likes to be a grammar Nazi, but sometimes it’s necessary to get past the first hurdle of finding a job. If your writing skills aren’t top notch, don’t freak out. There are plenty of websites to help fine tune your emails and resume before you send them off. Grammarly is a particularly good site to give you basic help with everyday issues like spelling errors, punctuation problems, and proper word usage.
Choose your words carefully.
When you’re writing your resume, you want to be careful with the words you use. Some words can make you look bad, while others immediately make you stand out from a crowd of applicants. Try to avoid clichés like “detail-oriented,” “results-driven,” “team player,” and “hard worker.” Those words are seen so often that employers become immediately turned off.
Give names to any gaps.
If you don’t have a gap in your work history, congratulations. But for those of us who do have gaps here and there, all is not lost. There’s no shame in gaps. In fact, studies show that taking a gap year between high school and college can help you perform better.
The issue is giving names to those gaps. You can’t just turn in a resume and leave your employer wondering why you didn’t do anything for two or three years. If you cared for your family, then put the dates and write “Family Care.” Don’t put a negative spin on the gap, because you probably did something useful during that time. For instance, you showed dedication to family. Um, resume material!
Network like crazy.
No one likes to hear it, but in the professional world, it’s less about what you know and more about who you know. Networking isn’t easy, but it’s one of the best ways to get a job with little to no experience. Stay up-to-date on conferences and other social events in your desired field and attend as many as you can manage.
Not only should you exude confidence in your demeanor, but also in your writing. Don’t ever seem hopeless or apologetic. Emotions are contagious, even though text. If someone comes across as sad or desperate in their emails, employers are naturally going to avoid them. If you seem like a fun, professional, energetic person, then the company will be much more interested in offering you an interview.
Practice, practice, practice.
Interviews and first impressions suck. The hiring team is seeing you under less-than-ideal conditions—you’re nervous, jittery, and what the hell do you do with your hands? But how they perceive you in this awful state could make or break your chances of landing a job. Before you go to the interview, practice answering questions and making yourself as relaxed as humanly possible. Ask a friend to pretend to be an interviewer, or just talk into a mirror if you must. It’ll feel weird at first, but you’ll feel much more prepared for the actual interview.
Dress for the job you want.
Dress as Batman! Wait, no! That position is already filled. Unless you can take down Batman (you can’t), you have to dress for the job that you applied for. Even if you feel weird in a tie and jacket, no one else notices. Bite the bullet and dress professionally from head to toe.
“Professional” means no rips, tears, and if you’re wearing a suit, it has to be tailored. If you sweat a lot, consider wearing a jacket to cover up any stains you may get before the interview.
Study a foreign language.
Nothing gets an employer more excited than a prospective employee who knows a foreign language. And the more fluent you are, the better. Some of the most important languages to companies in the United States are Spanish, French, Mandarin, and American Sign Language.
Of course, the language you should to know depends on the specific industry, your location, and your career goals. If you live in California, Russian may not be the best language, so be sure to find out what language is most pertinent to your specific case. If you aren’t fluent in anything, now is the time to start studying!