The job search process is something most people don't look forward to. Very few people enjoy editing their resume, submitting applications and interviewing. This process is even more frustrating for those with little to no experience. How do you land a job where every opening wants x years of experience?
There are some tips you can utilize to really get ahead of the competition and land a new job, especially when you have little to now work experience.
Lead with a summary
You don’t have the experience to lead with which is why you should utilize a powerful summary.
Here are some points you would want to mention in your summary:
- Soft skills
- Any relevant internship or other work experience
- Interests and Activities
Soft skills you can include are things like time management, problem solving etc. You also want to emphasize your education which lead into your skills. You don’t have to be experienced in something to mention it on your resume. If you took a course on a subject, you could list it as a skill.
Example: I graduated from MIT with an MA in Computer Science which I am passionate about. My education gave me a strong understanding of web application development, software system construction and algorithms.
The words in bold should be keywords that are related to the job description. This will help you stand out to both a hiring manager and an ATS.
An ATS is an automated software that scans resumes for relevancy and it’s important your resume is optimized for these scans as they reject nearly 75% of resumes.
Zipjob offers a free resume review where you can see the results of an actual ATS scan.
You of course also want to add in any relevant experience,interests and activities which we’ll discuss later on.
Send a Cover Letter
In many ways your summary and cover letter will be similar. Don’t copy it word for word but mention some of your skills, qualifications, education etc. You also want to ensure you show the hiring manager a strong desire to work for the company specifically. Mention the name of the company in the cover letter and a passion for whatever industry you’re targeting.
This is the single best way to land a job today. Most positions are filled through networking and referrals. Reach out to your network and see if anyone can refer to to a position in their company.
Remember how vast your network is as the person you contact knows other people who may be able to assist you. Reaching out to a handful of people could really mean you're reaching out to hundreds of people who can potentially refer you.
Job seekers often overlook key resources when it comes to finding a job.
One of them being networking as discussed above, but here are some other great resources to utilize:
- School Career Center
- Job Fairs
- Employment Agencies
Many schools have direct relationships with employers looking to hire recent grads. You should also check local career fairs you can attend. Lastly, finding an employment agency to assist you in landing a position could be a great option.
Although not the most effective method, you should still be applying to open positions online. You can try using major job aggregators like Indeed or Monster which have many entry-level positions available.
You can also post your resume to these sites and potentially have hiring managers and recruiters reach out to you.
Here is a good list of sites that allow free resume posting.
Finding a job with little or no experience takes some hustle and strategy. If you follow the tips above you can dramatically increase the chances of landing that job. Good luck with your job search!
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