How to Break into an Industry without Work Experience

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It’s hard enough to find a good job when you have plenty of relevant work experience, but it’s almost impossible if you don’t have any experience. Ideally, you could gain work experience through an internship but that isn’t always possible.Whether you’re a career-changer or recent graduate, here are some tips for getting your foot in the door:

Temping

Companies are hesitant to invest in permanent employees even under the best of circumstances, but they definitely don’t want to make a commitment with an unproven candidate. Therefore, temping can be a great way to ease into permanent employment. A company can try you out and, if they like you, hire you on permanently. Even if you don’t get hired at a company for which you temp, you’ll have valuable work experience to add to your resume.

Volunteering

Inquire at local non-profit organizations to see if volunteers are needed in your area of interest. You may have a better chance obtaining volunteer work since you aren’t being paid, and the organization doesn’t have to invest anything other than training time. Most non-profits are grateful for volunteer workers and it serve as an opportunity to expand your professional network, so don’t pass up the chance to volunteer.

Don’t Ignore Small Businesses

Large companies tend to have more formal, tedious hiring processes. And entry-level hires are usually former interns. But a small business might be more open to hiring someone without relevant work experience, as long as you can prove that you’re reliable and hard-working. When small business need someone, they often ask around or look at current resume submissions rather than putting out an ad. So it’s important to network, which leads to our next tip.

Explore your Network

You may not think you have a professional network, but everyone has a network. Even if your network just consists of friends and family, it’s likely that some of them have connections to your chosen field. Put the word out that you’re looking for work and be specific about your skills and desired position. Ask if you can email them your resume so that it can be passed along. Hiring managers may ignore resumes from strangers lacking experience, but are likely to consider a candidate that’s recommended by a company insider.

Your job search will be much more challenging without related experience, but it’s possible to find work if you know where to look. It may take a lot of perseverance and patience, but you can gain valuable experience and break into your chosen field.

For more job search advice, read Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring: Take Charge of Your Career, Find a Job You Love, and Earn What You Deserve

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