How to get an entry level job that requires experience (when you have none)

It’s the ultimate paradox of job searching: an entry level position that requires atleast 1–2 years experience. What gives? It may seem like employers do it just to mess with us, but in reality it’s not as much of a trap as it seems. In fact, once you know how to get around the ‘experience trap’ it’s actually very easy to submit an application regardless of your experience in the industry.

How do I do it?

  1. Reflect.

Think back to every oppurtunity you have participated. Don’t just limit yourself to jobs think bake sales, community events, sports teams, volunteer work, family responsibilities or travelling. All of these situations have given you experience and new skills that are applicable to work life. Better yet they include real life lessons rather than something you read in a textbook. Make a list of every event, team or project you have completed in recent years and prioritise them from most to least important.

2. Compare.

Next you need to go through the list you just made and the job description of the role you’re applying for. You want to find common skills that you can match. Use a highlighter if you make to make it super obvious! For each of your experiences you should be able to find at least one way to link it to a required element of the job.

3. Explain.

Following the format experience + gain skills + future use, show your value clearly to employers. You want to quickly describe what the experience was (keep this part brief), explicitly state what skills you gained from it and then how you could use those skills in the future (in particular for this new role). Add this to your application or video pitch.

4. Be honest.

Employers may not be used to seeing non-job related experience on an application, however this is your chance to educate them on why you chose this structure. Let them know that you’re really interested in the role and therefore you wanted to showcase all the ways you can apply your skills. Also highlight that you may not have any ‘on the job’ experience yet you’re willing to learn and look forward to the challenge.

What to do next

  • Search for your next job.
  • Make your experiences list.
  • Download or look up the job description for your role (on JBA you can find them directly on our job listings).
  • Use the format (in point 3) to create a series of sentences to use in your pitch to employers.

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