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6 Tips to Landing your Dream Job Without Relevant Experience

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Written by Seun Oyediran

6 Tips to Landing your Dream Job Without Relevant Experience

Would you like to know how to land your dream job without relevant experience? Well, here’s some good news because we’ve got you covered! In this article, we have prepared six tips that will land you your dream job, even if you have zero experience. Want to find out these secrets? Let’s roll!

Landing Your Dream Job: The Experience Paradox

Job searching can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the relevant experience. Sometimes, it’s difficult even to know where to start. How can you successfully convince someone that you’re perfect for a job when you have no direct experience in it?

Not having the experience necessary for a job is understandable. For many job seekers, you’re not able to get a job because you don’t have the relevant experience, but you can’t get the relevant experience if someone doesn’t offer you a job. This experience paradox or Catch-22 of getting a job is real.

If you don’t overcome the experience paradox (Catch-22), you can easily set your career back by up to 5 years. The bad news? You cannot overcome this paradox with general career advice. I’m not saying this to scare you – It’s simply the truth. But don’t worry, there’s a right strategy that can help you land your dream job. 

Can People Without Relevant Experience land their Dream Jobs?

No matter how much emphasis on experience is placed on job ads, many people have made it through without experience. And many more will, especially if they come across this article in one form or the other. What they simply did was to find different ways to show their skills and motivation.

So, can people without relevant experience land their dream jobs? The short answer? Yes! Let me relate my experience to you. Fortunately for me, I discovered that experience is not everything.

  1. Be Ready to Work for Free

I was 21 years old and fresh out of college. As a first-generation graduate in my family, I needed a job so badly. But no one was ready to hire an inexperienced 21-year old. And you can’t blame them because it’s only logical. 

When push came to shove, the words of one of my mentors struck me. “Don’t pursue profit once you get out of college. Learn to work for free to gather experience because it will pay off handsomely later.” Well, as you have rightly guessed, nobody likes to hear that kind of advice. Neither did I. Even though I was in need of money, I decided to work for free. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I’m glad I did!

Working for free can do two major things for you: it could get you a job in the organization you worked with, or put you in a better position to get better jobs (at least now you have relevant experience). If you can’t work for free to gain experience, then maybe you’re not enthusiastic about getting your dream job. 

Here’s the thing: many employers are willing to have inexperienced staff on their payroll. However, they may be willing to take in volunteers. Once you get this opportunity, dig for gold! Work hard and gain as much experience as you can within the stipulated time frame. You can also get another part-time job that puts food on the table or at least tries to. 

Don’t wait to see any advertisements for voluntary vacancies. Go out of your way to contact employers directly or visit them and ASK for voluntary experiences. State it in your cover letter/CV that you’re willing to work for free for a specified period. You’ll be surprised (or should you?) at how many employers are eager to say yes!

When you work for free, you are building value and leverage. You’re also building a reputation. In addition, you get to build relationships and create networks that could lead to other better opportunities. It’s not an easy process. But nothing great comes easy. 

  1. Build a Foundation

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Once you know what skills you need to succeed in your new role or for a job, then you can start building a foundation. One of the strongest foundations is getting educated. Getting educated doesn’t necessarily mean getting a college degree. I had a college degree but had no relevant experience. 

You can try to build this foundation while you’re at the free job or before you apply for your dream job. I did that while I was working the free job because I was able to get the right guidance on what I needed to do to gain relevant experience. Although this may seem pretty stressful, it was worth it in the long run. 

The three most important media to building a solid foundation are books, courses, and people. Ask them what books they expect a beginner to read and also what courses they consider relevant.

Thanks to growing technology, you don’t have to sit in a classroom to learn. There are online courses on the internet from repeatable educators. Make the best use of them and get certified if you can afford it. After all, it won’t hurt to have a Harvard seal of approval on your CV or your LinkedIn profile.

  1. Network Like Crazy

“Your network is your net worth.” 

Porter Gale

If there is any singular most important thing, then that would be your network. You have got to know the right people. The phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know” holds most times. Your application will carry more weight if your employers know who you are, or if you’ve been recommended by someone they know and respect. There are plenty of ways to go about networking:

  • I intentionally chose my circle of friends and made sure they had the right experience or that they had friends who did. 
  • I attended networking events where I could meet people that mattered. These could be conferences, conventions, etc. 
  • I spoke and connected with people at these events and all. (Be prepared at all times because you can bump into the right people anywhere and at any time).
  • I connected with people on online social networks such as LinkedIn to close the network gap. 
  1. Gather Transferable Skills

“Schooling doesn’t assure employment but skill does.”

Amit Kalantri

Think back at some jobs or volunteering you’ve done in the past. They may be unrelated but still confer specific skills needed for your dream job. This way, you can generally hone skills such as multi-tasking, organizational skills, negotiation skills, communication skills, etc. 

It could be anything at all that highlights your skills. Never held a job nor volunteered before? Just highlight something you did before (even extracurricular activities), where you had to use one skill or another. 

  1. Take Up Related Hobbies

The Beach Boys was a family hobby that we turned into a profession. We’re very blessed.

Mike Love

There are always hobbies you can take up that will help you get a feel of your dream job. For example, if you’re looking forward to a career in politics, it would be worthwhile joining a local debate club. Want to be a marine? Why not take up scuba diving? All these can show that you’re enthusiastic about that career path. Besides, when you join clubs, you could have access to useful marketing, and in some cases, even have extra qualifications. 

Another option is to launch a side gig and reach out to friends and families to tell them what you’re working on. You can also pitch local businesses and even start freelancing. That way, you can gather evidential skills and a demonstrable work ethic.

  1. Make the Most of Every Opportunity

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Seneca (Roman philosopher)

Success is when preparedness meets opportunity. When you finally get an opportunity, do everything in your power to make the most of it. Crush it and let people know that you’re hungry and ready! Take the time to perfect your craft so that you can deliver above what is expected of you. 

Conclusion 

The good news is that more companies are now putting more emphasis on the skills of people they want to hire and not particularly their experience. So, my advice for you is to spend every waking moment gathering the necessary skills that will put you in the position for the job of your dreams.

In conclusion, if you seek out to work for companies that hire for experience and skills, you have a good chance of getting jobs, even if you don’t have experience.

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