4 ways people have found a job with no experience.

by K B , updated on October 22, 2013

arrowYes you can get a job with no experience….

I write a lot on how to find a job. I talk a lot on how to find a job. I’ve helped a lot of people find jobs.

Over the past five years I’ve answered thousands of emails to CareerOne’s “Ask Kate” from people desperate to find a job, when they have no experience.

Yet when a friend of mine, James Evangelidis, interviewed me for his blog and asked me: “what’s the the number one thing people should do to to find a job if they have no experience?” I had to stop for a minute. Then I didn’t say “get your resume in order.”

I didn’t say get your resume in order as the number one priority because if you don’t have much experience a snappy resume will only take you so far.

You’ll be competing with hundreds of equally snappy resumes.

You’ll all make claims that sound the same on paper.

So how can you find a job with no experience?

There is no one right answer to how to get a job with no experience.

That’s because there are actually a number of ways to find a job without experience. So I thought a few small case studies might help.

Here are four ways people have found a job without experience.

Case study 1. How an Indian engineering graduate found a job with no experience.

One client of mine was an engineering graduate.

He had solid marks and some university work experience with one of Australia’s biggest miners. However he was  older than other graduates. He’d completed his masters and had a few years work experience in India. I suspected he wasn’t having much luck as his background didn’t quite fit the bill of “typical graduate.”

He went door knocking. He picked a light industrial area, where there were small to medium sized businesses and where he knew that if he dropped in his resume to the receptionist, he was one level away from the owner. So he knew his resume would make it into the right hands. He found his first job as a draftsperson this way.

Case study 2. How a public servant found a job in HR with no experience.

Another client of mine had a long career in the public sector, then she went overseas.

She wanted to work in HR but had trouble convincing anyone that her public sector skills were transferable. Plus she felt that she was being labeled as someone from the “public sector.”

She was sun baking at the beach one day and started to chat to the people next to her about what she had done. It turns out that they needed an HR Manager. The next week they interviewed her.

Case study 3. How someone who had a long break from the work force found a job with no experience.

A third client came to me a year ago.

She had had a long break from the workforce and spent a large part of that helping her child who had a disability. Her English was poor.

She was lacking in confidence, plus she wanted to work in accounting. This is a really tough ask without any experience.

This client volunteered in a tax agent’s office, joined a few social groups and read heaps of English books. One year later she came back to see me. We then put the volunteer work on her resume as a “real job” and the tax agent gave her a glowing reference.

She applied for two professional public sector roles and was offered both.

Case study 4. If you have no experience tell people you are looking for a job.

James and I interviewed 25 Australian employers for our book” “What do employers really want?”

We asked them about the strangest way they’d recruited someone.

The  Director of one of Australia’s biggest manufacturing successes said that she had hired one person from a bus stop and one person from a service station. Both of them had no experience and both are now in management roles within her company.

There’s no simple moral to this story, but there are a few common themes.

All of the people I describe were active in ways that didn’t directly relate to their job search.

They were happy to talk to people and tell them what they wanted. They look trustworthy. They didn’t look like they’d sell their grandmother in her sleep 😉

My first client, by door knocking, was demonstrating things he could only ever claim to have on his resume – initiative and good communication skills.

My second client was an engaging listener.

My third client was prepared to do a number of things with one end goal, making herself more employable.

So if you do have no experience and you do need a job, one of the best things you can do is get out and get active.
Try to think of the ways your experience in the past can benefit your in the future.

If you have an iPhone download our new app, myPitch. There are real-life videos in there that show how you can pitch your experience to a potential employer in a very natural way.

Download myPitch here. The videos and examples that will be most relevant to you will be the graduate examples. Although they are coming from someone who is new to the work force, essentially they are good examples to anyone who wants to change direction.

Get ahead of the pack for your next interview? Download our free e-book!

Deborah Barit wrote this book. She is one of Australia’s leading interview coaches. It is packed full of easily actionable interview tips.

To get your free e-book and some of our best interview tips direct to your inbox, simply click on this link and answer a couple of quick survey questions about what makes you waffle in interviews. Easy as, hey!

Here’s what happy readers said about the e-book and interview tips:

“Deborah Barit is a very smart lady…She is good at figuring out what an employer is looking for. It’s like she has ESP — with her help in preparing, I found no surprises in a recent interview and I was prepared for every question….” Cathy, Leichhardt, NSW

“Because I read so many of your posts, I feel as if you were my personal employment coach. I start my new position in two weeks. I had so many obstacles to overcome and each day you posted a solution to my dilemma and how to improve my search. Thank you so much for your input and PLEASE continue to do what you do!”

Click here to get access to the e-book.

K B

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

lumintoari July 23, 2010 at 10:18 am

RT @InterviewIQ: #jobhuntiing #resume There are times your resume won’t help! How to get a job with no experience http://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-j

nickya73 July 23, 2010 at 10:37 am

@InterviewIQ I think I need to employ your skills – can you determine what I should be when I grow up? #peterpan

nickya73 July 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

@InterviewIQ watch out Tinkerbell!

InterviewIQ July 23, 2010 at 9:25 am

#jobhuntiing #resume There are times your resume won’t help! How to get a job with no experience http://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-j

InterviewIQ July 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

@nickya73 I think of you more as Captain Hook 🙂

tekiebelu July 24, 2010 at 5:06 am

RT @InterviewIQ How to get a job with little or no experience: http://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-jhttp://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-j

Chef Shane July 24, 2010 at 12:52 am

Great article.
I was once unemployed as a youth, and was hitchhiking from my small town in Northern NSW to do some fishing (so we could EAT!) A 30 year old guy who was driving alone picked me up and gave me a ride. Once we started to talk, he began questioning me. Then he went in depth about my work and where I lived. I thought he was a weirdo and I began to get the willies, but it turned out he owned the local hotel and he offered me a job 🙂

InterviewIQ July 24, 2010 at 4:47 am

How to get a job with little or no experience: http://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-jhttp://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-j

Karalyn Brown July 24, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Very funny Shane, I was once offered a website management role by a repairman who came to fix something for me. He saw me working on my website and we got talking. Turns out that he was really into SEO and needed someone to help him.

Judith Copeland July 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

I really enjoyed your post. Statistics out there say that despite all the computer linking in etc., 70 percent of all word are gotten because of someone you know. Getting out there and meeting people. The best advice I got at a Microsoft Bispark meeting was from a professor at Stanford who said (paraphrased), talk to everyone, in the supermarket, at the bus stop , in the post office, everywhere you go. You never know who you will meet and who will be kind enough you help you.
I firmly believe the best thing we can do is help someone else. After all, most of us spend a lot of time on ourselves. A little helping hand makes a big difference and it feels good too!
Judith Copeland

Karalyn July 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

That’s so true Judith. Thanks for your thoughts. I wish more people would say this more often. Sometimes people just have to put themselves out there a little more. I have had success in helping people find a job with no experience through door knocking. People really do give you points for trying, and these folk had very little English and big barriers to finding work.

Nimo Hassan July 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Thanks Kalaryn for the sharing this post.
I really enjoyed reading and learnt beautiful listen from it.
Thanks once again and I can wait for the next post

karalyn July 28, 2010 at 1:36 am

Thanks Nimo, Glad you enjoyed it. Have a couple of funny ones coming up shortly you might enjoy as well.

BridgelandAdmi July 30, 2010 at 10:55 am

RT @InterviewIQ: How to get a job with little or no experience: http://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-jhttp://interviewiq.com.au/how-to-get-a-j

EelynnLee August 7, 2010 at 9:09 am

To be honest, I really really (you know 🙂 I have to say it twice) enjoy this post and the comment from Shane and Judith.

I particularly like the third case. It is inspiring to hear people are doing well because of the hard work they are putting in.

PJCurran August 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Thanks for sharing this post. It’s realistic and practical at the same time. I’m now in a position where I needed a “guy who picked-up a hitchhiker”, a ” guy who fixed the computer” or that someone who “talked and chatted with her prospect employee at the bus station”. In short I’m looking for an employer. I tried and applied for thousands of jobs online, even posted my resume/cv to propect employer…tried the knocking on doors but still have no luck for a job. My experience was overseas but I am globally competetive..all I need is a chance to show it. I want someone to take a chance on me with an administrative/clerical/secretarial job. Please email me at shayne_azalea@yahoo.com

Yulander October 21, 2011 at 2:10 am

Thank you for the post, Karalyn.
I am a recent graduate looking for a position in accounting department. I have half a year of internship experience but i feel like online applications doesn’t work for me cos i’ve been applying job like three months plus.
So, i’ve decided to try door knocking and i came across your post. I am a little scare at first until i finished reading your first client’s experience. Your post gives me energy and confidence that i needed. Cheers!!! 🙂

vickie October 26, 2011 at 10:50 am

I found australian emloyment market was really strange, I live in overseas and worked for so many big international companies. But here really depends on who you know. My current workplace was like family trees, all relatives, family members ,friends all working in the same places, which I unlikely find in my overseas companies. I used working in a big American company, the receptionist married the marketing manager so she had to leave the company. I donnot know how would make differences if you have a lot lot friends working in the same places, this seemed like back old ages but as we know, right qualification and working experience would lead the job more efficient and the company more productive.

AJ November 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I recently turned 18 and have applied to every job possible around my area. however i still didn’t get any response. it has only been a week or two but i need an advise on how to increase my chances of getting the jobs. it would be very helpful to get an experienced person opinion so thank you.
p.s great article.

allie April 15, 2012 at 4:16 am

I am 35 and have only held down a handful of jobs, mostly in sales environment of call centres. I have been married and have stayed at home being a house wife. I have taken a long time to grow up admittedly but am now so ready to be able to stand on my own two feet. However, with such a slack background I am not able (so far) to find employment! I am afraid its too late!! What would you suggest?

Shirley June 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I am so glad that people can find jobs. I have been looking for jobs for last 3 years- have applied for thousand of jobs. I go to see the recruitment agencies they will all get beck to me and hardley ever they do. I am so sure that I am older person and not white person. I got two factors going against me. I have 25 years of experience working in Australia and have qualification to post graduate and experience to management level. I get reject emails and call, that I am too qualified or not enough experience or someone better has applied. I am desperate to find jobs, I even ready to try any new field of work but when I apply I am told I dont have experience. Please can anyone give me a break. I am a very hard working and dedicated person.

Karalyn Brown (@InterviewIQ) (@InterviewIQ) (@InterviewIQ) August 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Five weird ways people have found jobs http://t.co/YH2GJCSA #jobsearch

Angela buzi November 9, 2012 at 9:22 am

Im looking for a job but i don’t have experience, i desparate im a hardwork, im a quick learner. I want to make a better life for me and my family . Im from queenstown south africa

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