“Experience Needed” -But You Have No Experience. Sound Familiar?
2020 has been quite a year, with the global pandemic meaning thousands of people losing their jobs and having to find new ones. So how do you compete with that much competition out there? It can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle, but try not to be disheartened. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do (for free!) to improve your CV and boost your chances of success.
Just remember to stay focused, determined and proactive, and you’ll get there in no time!
More and more people are taking to the internet and using a number of online learning courses to help build their knowledge, understanding and skill set. You can add each completed course to your CV, which shows future employers your ability to be proactive and motivation to learn.
Kahn Academy is a non-profit educational organisation offering practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalised learning portfolio that helps you study at your own pace. And it can all be done online! This is a great place to start if you’re looking to build the foundation for your future career.
Founded in 2012 by Stanford University, Coursera offers free online learning courses, some of which can be completed in eight hours or less. These courses are affiliated with top American universities such as Yale, Stanford and leading companies such as Google and IBM – so you know you’ll be getting a quality learning experience. Find a course that’s right for you here.
Google Digital Garage is another free online learning platform, which helps you learn or develop your digital skills. The world of digital has become a lot more common and is expanding for a lot of businesses, so learning a digital skill can be valuable in showing future employers your ability to adapt to the changing business environment.
Don’t Forget the Value of Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool, and shouldn’t be forgotten on your learning journey. There’s a wide choice of online communities and groups, who can help and support you when developing your skills. You just have to find them!
For example, if you’re looking to step into the world of TV and Entertainment, you’d search for groups relating to those areas. You can find these groups on a number of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and even TikTok. Joining a group and engaging with them can be crucial in helping you find any future job opportunities as well as providing you with a fun learning environment.
Build an Online Portfolio
As you acquire more knowledge, create a CV that stands out to employers. A way of doing this could be by creating an online portfolio via social media. All you need to do is create a page or profile, using a social media platform that works for you, and document your learning journey to show future employers.
Some great platforms to document your learning, and show off your new-found skills, include Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.
Remember when we talked about joining those online communities? Well this is another reason why you should engage with them. Talking to other people within those communities is a form of networking, which is so important in helping you build the right connections.
Not sure what to say? If you’re part of a community, all you need to do is put your question out there to the group. LinkedIn can also be a great place for networking and can be useful when job hunting too. For example, if you’re looking to work for a particular company, why not message someone who works within your desired department and ask them what it’s like or if they know of any positions open that haven’t yet made it to their website.
Internships and Apprenticeships
These can be unpaid, so if you’re in a position where you can afford to take on unpaid work, then go for it. These can help you gain experience, make you stand out from the crowd, and get your foot in the door.
Internships are jobs which can last anywhere from a week to a whole year. Whereas apprenticeships take longer to complete (one to four years) and involve being employed for a period of time, whilst studying for a formal qualification. They can also often end in an employment offer from the company!
You can find internships or apprenticeships by doing a generic search online, but the most effective way would be to go on the company website or contact the company yourself.
Volunteering can be easier to get into compared to interning or being an apprentice, and is a great way to boost your employability skills, especially if you have no previous experience.
Try to volunteer in a sector that you’re interested in developing a career in. For example, if you’d like to work in medicine, then seek volunteering opportunities in hospitals or medical organisations. This allows you to gain experience in an environment which is relevant to your career aspirations. You’ll also develop a range of transferable skills such as teamwork, organisation, time-management and communication. It’s a great way of showing future employers that you’re a committed, self-driven person with a strong work ethic – what’s not to love about that?!
Target Realistic Roles
It’s always great to aim high, but if you haven’t got any previous experience in a job, then be prepared to start from the bottom and work your way up. Applying for entry-level or junior level jobs will allow you to do just that. Equally, applying to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) can be a little less competitive, and can help you discover roles that offer more responsibility and development opportunities.
Stay Focused, Determined and Proactive
And finally… stay focused, determined and proactive. These characteristics can be crucial to showing employers that you’re the right person for the job. Be sure to do your research and don’t just send out a ‘one-size-fits-all’ CV. Tailor each application to that company, and go for jobs or companies that genuinely interest you.
Remember, even if a company doesn’t have any advertised job positions on their website, doesn’t mean they can’t provide you with entry-level work experience. So go ahead and ask them! The worst they can say is no, but if you didn’t ask, you’ll never have known.