How To Sell Yourself When You Have “No Experience”


Suppose you’re a student or recent graduate with little to no experience. When you have no experience, you’re probably familiar with the endless cycle of wanting a job to gain experience but coming across job postings that require applicants to possess previous work experience beforehand. As a result, this predicament can be a constant struggle when it feels like you’re perpetually stuck in this seemingly impossible job hunting paradox. Luckily, we brainstormed some tips and tricks to help you improve your resume and impress your future potential employers. 

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Include Keywords From the Job Posting in Your Resume

It is not uncommon for large companies to receive hundreds(or even thousands) of applications. Consequently, more and more companies are incorporating the use of an applicant tracking system (ATS) to quickly sift and scan through resumes before it lands in the eyes of the recruiter. This means for job hunters that unless your resume includes relevant keywords, it may be automatically rejected by the ATS. If that’s the case, then those resumes never end up being reviewed by the employer. To mitigate this issue, try to scan for buzzwords and implement them onto your resume. These buzzwords are usually sprinkled under the “qualifications” or “responsibilities” subheadings in the job posting. Incorporate these words in your own resume to increase your chances of passing through the ATS. 

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Creatively Phrase Skills to Best Represent Yourself to Employers 

Sometimes leaving sentences “short and sweet” is not the best route to take. Especially when you want to convey every aspect of your skills to the best of your ability. You may not think the random part-time jobs from your past will be relevant to the job you apply to. Still, once you shift your perspective, you will start to see how valuable that experience can be. 

For instance, did you manage a cash register, or did you operate the POS system to process customer orders with 100% accuracy? Did you work directly with customers, or did you provide product recommendations to enhance a customer’s current purchase, which increased overall profitability?

Switching around your phrasing like this does two things. It helps fill up white space on your resume and ensures that you are giving employers the best possible picture of all the skills you have to offer. 

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Build Skills Using Online Courses

The job hunt can be a long and tedious process, so why not learn something new in the meantime? Sites like Udemy, Coursera and Lynda offer online courses and certifications that you can complete within the comfort of your own home. These will help you bulk up your resume and allow you to learn new skills during your free time. Not only will this help you to become more qualified for the jobs you’re applying to, but you’ll also be able to stand out amongst your competitors. 

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Use Personal or School Projects to Showcase Relevant Skills. 

Another great way to showcase that you are skilled and qualified to a potential employer is with your own portfolio. Suppose you’re a student or recent graduate. In that case, you may not have past professional work to pull from, but you almost certainly have school projects. Compile 3 or 4 of your best pieces into a PDF document and submit it along with your resume. 

“But what if I don’t have any relevant school projects?”

Create them! Write a blog post on something you love, design a logo for a brand that doesn’t exist- the possibilities are endless. Personal projects are just as valid as paid commissions and will still show a potential employer that you have the required skills. 

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It can be hard to get ahead in the job market when you feel like you have no experience. The only way to get experience is to find a job… which feels impossible because you “lack experience.” It’s a vicious cycle, and you are not alone in dealing with this seemingly impossible problem. Use these tips and tricks to fortify your resume and make an impression your future employer will never forget!

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