Your dream job just got posted, and you’re super excited. There’s just one problem: you literally have zero relevant work experience.
Maybe you spent the last three years thinking you would be an anthropologist or a writer, but now you’ve set your sights on becoming a wedding planner or graphic designer.
As it turns out, this is totally normal. According to the BBC, nearly 60 per cent of recent graduates are working in jobs they didn’t originally set out to do.
So whether you’re looking for a career change or you’re a fresh-faced grad, there are a few ways to make yourself stand out when you have little to no experience.
Follow these tips and you’ll be heading to that interview in no time:
1. Include relevant skills
Most CVs begin with relevant work experience, but since that’s not your strong suit (at the moment), start with relevant transferrable skills instead. Maybe you studied art but you want to go into PR, or you’ve been waitressing with dreams of becoming a journalist. Think outside the box – write a summary statement highlighting your sense of creativity and your contacts in the art world for PR, or your eye for detail and people skills when applying to journalism jobs.
2. Don’t forget related passion projects and activities
You’ve probably been involved in tons of activities over the years, whether it was organising student events, helping with scientific research, volunteering with children on your gap year, or amassing 10k Instagram followers. Whatever it is, make sure to give side projects like these a prime spot on your CV to show that you’re passionate about what you love.
3. Brag about your academic achievements
If you worked your butt off at uni, make a point of highlighting any high marks you’ve received or academic prizes you’ve won. Were you the editor of the student paper, or the captain of the rowing team? Put that in too. Achievements like these, however unrelated, show potential employers that you’re a hard worker, committed to your goals and have killer leadership skills.
4. Write an enthusiastic and specific covering letter
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Okay, this isn’t technically part of your CV, but where relevant experience is lacking, a stellar covering letter could make all the difference. Be enthusiastic and explain why your non-traditional background might even be an asset. Connect the dots between the company’s needs and the relevant skills and non-work experience you’ve built.