If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably reached a point in your career where you’re yearning to switch lanes. It’s time to take on a new career. But if you’ve not got any relevant experience, you can be left feeling stuck in the mud. Most job adverts seem to want someone who’s experienced, so how can you overcome this challenge?
Here are our tips for making a career change when you’re lacking experience:
- Leverage your current role
- Start out as a trainee
- Take a course
- Attend webinars/events
- Focus on your transferable skills
- Build a portfolio
- Tell your story
9 tips for changing careers when you lack experience
1. Leverage your current role
To gain more experience, your current role should be your first port of call. Once you’ve decided on the direction you want to take, identify all the skills employers want. Then seek out ways to build on those skills in your current job. This will likely mean asking your manager if you can take on some new responsibilities. Examples of skills could be:
- Project management
- Process improvements
- Data entry
2. Start out as a trainee
Sometimes you may need to start out as a trainee in a new career and work your way up. If most employers are looking for someone with experience, try searching for junior positions instead. That way, you’ll be able to find a job that doesn’t require any experience and will provide full training.
3. Take a course
The internet is full of free and inexpensive courses. No matter what career you’re interested in, there will be short courses you can take. They don’t have to turn you into an expert, but it shows the employer you have a genuine interest in the industry. The course will make your CV pop and you’ll be more likely to get an interview.
4. Attend webinars/events
If you’ve got no experience, attending webinars and events is a great way to add some content to your CV. This will make your CV more relevant. By attending industry webinars/events, you’ll show employers you’re passionate about the opportunity.
5. Focus on your transferable skills
Even if you think you’ve got no relevant experience, you will! Go through the job description carefully to identify ALL the skills (both hard and soft) needed. You’ll have some transferable skills to offer, whether it be communication, teamwork, timekeeping or IT skills.
Volunteering is one of the most effective ways of jazzing up your CV. Find a company that can offer you a bit of volunteer work so you can gain some experience. This will show employers you’ve already got your foot in the door.
7. Build a portfolio
This point may not apply to everyone, but it’s a good tip if you’re looking to move into marketing, design, writing or photography. If you’ve got some skills but no formal experience, try building your own portfolio to showcase your skills instead.
Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Try to create some connections in the industry. Use platforms like LinkedIn to build a strong professional network. Be sure to also talk to any people you already know in the industry. Also, attending some events where you can meet lots of industry professionals is a good idea. You never know who you’ll meet and what doors they can open for you.
9. Tell your story
If you don’t have heaps of experience to talk about, you’ll want to make sure you have a compelling story to share. This should explain why you’re interested in this particular career/industry, and how your journey has unfolded. You can include a snippet of this story in your cover letter, and also talk about it during the interview.
A change is coming
Although changing jobs with no experience is harder, it’s nowhere near impossible. There are plenty of ways you can gain a bit of experience to add to your CV. And anyway, it’s not all about experience. Employers have become more and more open to hiring people based on potential rather than experience. So don’t forget to focus on showing employers just how employable and passionate you are above all else!
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