How to Get a Job With No Experience (12 Tactics)

By Biron Clark

Published:

Recent Grads

Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Writer & Career Coach

Looking for how to get a job with no experience? you’re in the right place.

If you’re looking to change careers or you’re a recent graduate with no hands-on experience, finding a job in the profession you want to work in can be challenging. You probably don’t have much experience you can include on your resume, and you may not have the education that relates to the role.

However, even if you don’t have any experience with the job you’re applying to, that’s not an automatic knockout. You can find ways to spruce up your resume and exhibit transferable skills or pursue additional education that will give you the knowledge you need to be successful in a role. 

While this isn’t easy for most people, you can do it if you follow the right steps. And I’m going to give you those steps right now in this article. Keep reading for the best ways to find a job without any experience.

How to Get a Job Without Any Work Experience

1. Tailor your resume for each job posting

When you apply for jobs without experience, always look at the job description and try to identify what skills and traits the employer wants. What’s mentioned first, or most often?

Even without experience… think about courses you’ve taken, projects you’ve completed, internships, volunteering, etc.

And think about how all of this relates to the job you’re applying to. What seems most important on the job description? Leadership? Problem solving? Ability to work without close supervision? Now highlight what they’re looking for in all of your past experience on your resume. You can do this by reordering items on your resume as well as adding bullets and other content if you notice a gap between what the employer wants and what you mention. While customizing your resume is going to make a job application take longer, you’ll get more responses.

Would you rather send 100 applications and get 1 response? Or send 20 applications and get 5 responses?

Plus, it doesn’t take as long as it sounds if you use this tailoring method.

Now, if you’re still thinking, “I don’t have any experience to talk about on my resume, so how can I customize my resume to fit the job?” then keep reading. In the next two points, I’ll share more ideas of what to put on your resume.

Watch: How to Get a Job Without Any Work Experience

2. Highlight academic experience as much as possible

When you’re trying to get a job without work experience, your academic experience is your work experience. Think back to class projects, presentations, internships, and even individual work you completed as a part of your education.

You can emphasize this on your resume and in job interviews to show employers that you’re a great fit for their role. You can use your academic work to highlight job-related skills (such as Python programming, Excel, or financial analysis) as well as soft skills like leadership, public speaking, multitasking, and more.

If you graduated recently and have absolutely no work experience, I suggest putting your resume “Education” section at the top of your resume (just below your contact info and summary paragraph) and treating it like a work experience section. By that, I mean put specific accomplishments and bullets starting with verbs like “Led,” “Organized,” “Facilitated,” etc.

Here are two articles to help you write your resume in a way that will attract employers:

Of course, the advice above works best if you graduated somewhat recently. So if you’re trying to get a job at 30+ with no experience, then this next tip will help you more.

3. Take courses and get certifications

Here’s another effective way to get a job with no work history: Enroll in some online courses and certifications.

For learning general skills like marketing or sales, I recommend Skillshare which offers a free trial and thousands of courses. Certain industries and topics have specific certifications you can find, too. For example, if you want to learn software engineering, there are online coding bootcamps.

The right course for you will depend on your situation and goals, but don’t neglect to look at this option if you’re trying to get a job with no experience and feeling stuck. Beware of expensive certifications, though; you can often find a similar education for much cheaper on sites like Skillshare (mentioned above). And while some specific certifications are well-known and highly-regarded (Like the PMP certification for project managers), many are just used to entice job seekers into paying a lot of money.

In my opinion as a former recruiter, for most industries, it’s more important to show you completed an online course and learned the job-related skills than it is to show a certification. Fortunately, many of the budget-friendly courses on sites like Skillshare and elsewhere do offer a certification to show you completed the material.

4. Email companies even if they aren’t hiring or don’t have a relevant position

Spend 20–30% of your job search time sending emails to companies that aren’t advertising the perfect-fitting job. Why? Less competition. You never know when a company is about to start hiring, or growing and open to adding new entry level people even if they don’t “need” it right away.

One of my previous companies always did this. Sometimes they actively recruited recent graduates or people without any work experience, and sometimes they stopped or paused the recruiting efforts. But if someone great emailed us, or was referred to us, we’d ALWAYS interview them.

5. Network as much as possible

I just mentioned referrals. That’s one of the most powerful ways to get into a company because if you come recommended, you’ll immediately be more trusted and seem like less of a risk to hire. If you need a good place to start, here’s an article with some networking tips.

If you’re a recent graduate, one of the best places to start is to ask former classmates and friends who already found jobs. Find out if their companies are hiring more people without work experience.

Don’t be apologetic or timid when you ask them either. Sometimes these companies offer a BIG referral bonus to the current employees if they refer a new hire. So you might be making your friend hundreds or even thousands of dollars (seriously!)

I know it’s a little nerve-racking to ask people for help or to network in general. But trust me – it could be the difference between finding a job fast and searching months without any good job offers. One or two phone calls (or emails, text messages, etc.) can turn your job search around overnight when it comes to referrals.

6. Start with entry-level jobs

When looking for a job in a profession you don’t have experience in, you should focus on entry-level roles. An entry-level position is on the low end of your professional ladder, but it allows you to build the skills you need to progress later in your career. 

Usually, you’ll stay in an entry-level position for one to two years before you take on a role with more responsibility in your chosen profession.

You can easily find entry-level roles online through company websites and job aggregators like LinkedIn and Indeed. For instance, a search of remote entry-level financial analyst roles on Indeed turns up 20 positions:Indeed-Financial-Analyst

Indeed also allows you to filter the experience necessary to perform the job without using the entry-level quantifier in your search. When we expanded our search to include financial analyst positions with an entry-level filter that allows remote work, we found 161 jobs:Indeed-Financial-Analyst

The entry-level filter is available for every search you perform, and you can filter further by type of job (full, part-time, or contract), company, and education level.

7. Do It on your own

Sometimes, it’s possible to get experience in a role as a freelancer or even on your own time. Creative writing or marketing positions are especially susceptible to the “do it yourself” approach.

For instance, if you’ve got your heart set on a full-time copywriter position but don’t have the applicable skills or experience, create a website to showcase your writing prowess. Regularly post articles concerning topics you’re interested in. 

This side project will give you the writing experience you’re looking for. Bonus points if you can turn your website into a passive income stream with proper SEO management.

If you’re aiming for a digital marketing job, try using your personal social media platform to build a following. Instagram and TikTok are ideal platforms for social media creators; you can use your account to talk about things that are important to you or showcase your expertise in specific topics. 

As your posts gain traction, you’ll learn more about what resonates with your audience and start seeing an uptick in followers. You can monitor your success and try new tricks as you expand your audience. You might even start your own company.

8. Follow a routine

Decide on set hours that you’ll apply each day (yes, it takes hours per day). Keep a consistent routine and hold yourself accountable. It’s like a job, but you’re the boss and you need to be honest with yourself about how much effort you’re giving, and if it’s enough you need to do something about it.

None of the other steps in this article will help you get a job without work experience if you don’t put in the time.

That said, there ARE some ways to save time…

9. Use LinkedIn Easy Apply to apply to more jobs in less time

To be clear: You shouldn’t spend your entire day applying to a high volume of positions online. That alone won’t find you an entry level role.

However, if you’re also networking, emailing recruiters directly, etc., (slower, more targeted, thoughtful method) then there’s also room in your job search for some quick online applications. It’s certainly possible that you land your dream job through an online application. And LinkedIn is the best place to do it, thanks to their Easy Apply feature, which allows you to apply in just a few clicks and often without a cover letter.

This is one of my favorite time-saving methods for job seekers. It’s going to save you HOURS when applying for jobs online.

And you don’t need a strong LinkedIn presence or many connections. I just suggest completing your LinkedIn profile before you start applying to jobs here, since the hiring manager for a role will typically see and review your LinkedIn profile after you apply.

Here’s an article showing you how the method works: How to use LinkedIn “Easy Apply” to find a job.

10. Follow up and stay organized

This is another place you can save yourself a ton of time in your job search.

Track where you’ve applied, and send a follow-up email after the application if you haven’t heard feedback in five business days. It takes 10% as much time to follow up as it did to send the initial job application, or probably even less. Definitely worth it. But you can only do this is if you stay organized and actually track where you’ve applied and when.

I recommend keeping a simple Excel spreadsheet with a few columns:

  • Company name
  • Position title
  • Date you applied
  • How you applied (email, online form, LinkedIn, job board, etc.)
  • Followed up yet? (yes/no)
  • Response? (no response, declined to interview me, interested in interviewing me, interview scheduled for __)

11. Demonstrate the right soft skills

If you want to find an entry level job, it’s important to show a positive attitude in your interviews. Think about what traits or signals an employer is looking for as they search the job market. What could entry level candidates do to impress them, personality-wise? What might some entry level candidates be doing that’s a turn-off?

I’ll answer those questions for you, don’t worry.

To land your first job, or any entry level jobs, you want to seem like you’re enthusiastic, coachable, honest, and hard-working.

Employers will hire an entry level candidate based on potential to learn and grow, even if you don’t have any prior job experience or relevant skills for the exact position.

At the same time, hiring managers may not hire an entry level candidate with some relevant skills, if that person seems like they’ve got an attitude problem, is arrogant, not a team player, etc. So make sure you’re showing the right traits and soft skills to land your first entry level job. These traits can go a long way and are a big piece of what employers look for in the interview.

To show you’re hard-working, do some background research on the company, and to understand your desired industry overall. Show that you understand the career path you’ve applied for.

If possible, relate some of your past experiences to the necessary skills in the job. You can point to academic experience, even if you haven’t worked at all.

12. Ask for feedback after a job interview

Starting a job hunt without experience in the role you’re applying for isn’t easy. You’ll likely encounter a few setbacks before landing a position. While being denied a job can be upsetting, keep your chin up and keep applying. Remember that persistence pays off, and you’ll eventually find a suitable position.

If you attend any interviews for jobs you apply for, note the questions hiring managers ask that you don’t feel you have a solid response for. Similar questions will likely arise in other interviews, so developing an answer that fits is critical for future interview prep

You can also consider asking for feedback from the hiring managers. Send an email that inquires about ways to improve for future interviews with other companies. 

Here’s an example email you might use:

Dear Mr. / Ms. ,

Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me on MM/DD for the role. While I understand I didn’t get the position, I wanted to ask you for constructive feedback I can use when applying to future roles. Your guidance would be highly appreciated, as I’m amid a and I know I don’t have extensive professional experience.

Kind regards,

If the hiring manager responds, you could receive helpful tips to implement into future applications.

How to Get a Job With No Experience: Interview Preparation

Once you’re getting interviews, it’s time to focus on preparing to turn those interviews into job offers. Getting interviews is half the battle when it comes to getting a job with no experience, but you need to take advantage of each opportunity you get to interview!

First, make sure you’re researching each company before talking to them. Employers are going to be impressed if you know about their company, industry, and competitors, and it can help set you apart and put you over the top when you’re trying to get hired without experience.

Next, be ready to explain why you’d succeed in their job. Even for an entry-level position, or a job requiring no direct experience, employers are going to make their choice based on who they feel is most likely to be able to step into the job and succeed. So think about your soft skills, your education, any internships or work experience you have from other industries, and how it will help you.

That will prepare you to answer questions like, “Why should we hire you?”

More interview resources to help you find a job with no work experience:

Conclusion

If you read everything above, you now know how to find a job with no experience… including how to get job interviews and how to turn those interviews into job offers. The tips we covered will help you succeed in both areas so you can get a job fast and end your job hunt!

To wrap up, here are a couple of other useful resources to help you get a job with no experience:


Biron Clark

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13 thoughts on “How to Get a Job With No Experience (12 Tactics)”

  1. Hey Biron,

    Quick question about applying to job postings online. I’ve read that it’s best to respond to job postings within 2-3 days if you really want any chance at getting a response or hearing back. How accurate do you think that is?

    What cutoff would you recommend someone NOT APPLY to a job posting after it’s been up? 1 week? 3 weeks? 1 month max?

    • Hi Joseph,

      Great question. I’m not sure about the exact data. I haven’t done a study on this. If a job was posted within the past month, I’d apply. Don’t rule yourself out. Maybe don’t spend as long on the application (if they require a cover letter, etc.), but do apply.

    • Biron,

      I found the main article that was talking about the data (supposedly) for applying to jobs online within 72 hours.

      https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/the-early-bird-gets-the-job-the-best-time-to-submit-your-resume

      It mentions a 2019 study by Jobvite (https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2019-Recruiting-Benchmark-Report.pdf) saying that employers only consider the first 50% of job applications making the case for why you should apply as soon as possible (within 72 hours).

      I get that it makes sense to respond to a job posting as soon as is feasible, but I’m not sure I agree with their data here. Sounds like they’re concluding that you are (basically) wasting your time if you don’t apply for a job within 3 days (and that’s if you’re qualified for the job too).

      I think that’s absurd and severely limits a job seeker’s options dramatically if they only responded to job postings that have been posted within the past 3 days.

      Thoughts on this article and study?

  2. Emailing companies that aren’t hiring or don’t have a position. not a conventional way of searching for jobs but it absolutely make sense.

    • Thanks, Ren. Doing something a bit differently is almost always a good thing :). If you follow what every other entry-level job seeker is doing, you’re going to compete with 100+ people for each job. So if a company posts a job publicly on a site like Indeed, it’s going to get a TON of applications. Especially if it’s a job with no experience required. But if you email companies that aren’t actively recruiting (but might still have hiring needs), then you could be one of the only people to contact them that week, so you’ll get more attention.

    • When you say email companies, do you mean send a cold cover letter/letter of intent or trying to email one of the hiring managers directly?

    • Email a hiring manager or the company’s HR department. Depending on what’s available on the contact page or the information available to you.

      Don’t attach a cover letter. Nobody likes to receive unsolicited attachments. Instead, write a brief, well-spaced email (no huge paragraphs) saying how you came across their company, why you’d love to work for them, what some of your strengths and skills are, and then end with a specific call to action.

      Example of a call to action:

      “When would be the best time to discuss this further, via a phone call?”

      I’ll try to write more articles about this in the future. It takes a while to get the hang of, but if your email does the following, you’re doing MUCH better than most people:

      -Keep it brief
      -Keep it extremely well spaced with short pargraphs
      -Make it about them as much as you (literally press CTRL + F and see how much you’re saying “you” vs “I” before sending)

    • Sweet! Thanks for clearing that up Biron! Would you still recommend attaching a resume or no attachments whatsoever?

    • I think you could argue either way on that…

      If it were me, I’d send it with zero attachments, but I’d put a link to my LinkedIn profile at the bottom and tell them they can go there to get a better sense of what I do and how I could help their company.

      (Just make sure your LinkedIn is good first, of course).

    • OK sounds good, thanks for the suggestion. I can’t wait to start trying this method out and see what opportunities open up!

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