You need the experience to get a job, but you can’t get a job without experience. Next to getting a credit card without a credit history, it’s one of life’s most frustrating phases.  

Your ability to get a job even without experience doesn’t require you to force your way through. You don’t need to camp out on a company’s doorstep or offer to work for free. Instead, you need to get creative, be patient, and change up your approach.  

Are you trying to get your first job or your first job in a while? We put together our best tips to help you get the job done.  

Apply for Jobs (Even Without Professional Experience)  

Employers ask for a lot in their job posts. They want a bachelor’s degree and three years of experience for a job at a retail store these days.  

However, asking for more than they want isn’t necessarily a sign of unrealistic expectations. It’s a negotiating tool. Employers aren’t trying to rule out all applicants who are just starting out in the field. Instead, they are trying to lure in candidates who are far more qualified to try to win them at a discount. (Hint: it doesn’t always work well.)  

In other words, apply for entry-level jobs that ask for more experience than you have because there’s a good chance that you are qualified to do the job.   

Talk About Your Soft Skills  

If you have a limited work history, you need to rely more on your soft skills, which you can develop outside of a professional context.  

Instead of worrying about technical skills, share strengths like:  

  • Teamwork  
  • Communication  
  • Leadership  
  • Work ethic  
  • Time management  
  • Problem-solving  
  • Coachability  

You can develop these skills in school, volunteering roles, and just generally in life. Plus, they are often more valuable than technical or process skills that your employer can teach you on the job. Why? Because you need the desire to build these skills yourself, and your employer can’t teach that.  

Hint: do research on the company to get an idea of what skills they most emphasize. A quick browse of their website will often point out their most valued employee characteristics.  

Focus on Your Motivation  

The one thing all employers want no matter their industry is a highly motivated candidate. These are so hard to find. A Gallup poll found that over the past 18 years, only 30% of employees consider themselves “engaged” at work.  

Sharing your motivation requires more than saying: “I want the job.” Your actions speak louder than words. Answer communications quickly, do plenty of background research, and when they ask, “Why do you want to work here,” give a thoughtful response.  

You Can Get Your First Job Tomorrow  

Getting your first job seems much more complicated than it needs to be. Just know that the skills you built up outside of formal employment still count and that you don’t need five years of experience for an entry-level role (even if it’s in the job posting).  

Are you looking for your first job and find yourself coming up short? Energi Personnel can help. We place great candidates with prospective employers to make sure neither of you misses out on a great opportunity.