No experience? No problem!
Getting your first job – or a job in a new industry – can be difficult.

If you’re in this situation, you might face what feels like a puzzle: employers want you to have experience – but you need to be given the opportunity to get that experience. So what do you do?

We asked Liz Duncan, Recruitment Manager - Professional Services Portfolio, Monash University and Tina Ng, Director at H2R Technology, for their advice. Here’s what you can do when you’re applying for jobs where you have no experience – and what you should put on your resumé.

  • Highlight your great attitude. Ever wondered why so many job ads list a “can-do attitude” as one of the role requirements? That’s because it applies to all jobs across the board! “Hiring managers are hiring for attitude,” says Duncan.

    “In entry-level roles, hiring managers are looking for candidates with a desire to learn, a strong work ethic and good interpersonal skills. The rest can be taught, but a great attitude is gold.”

    Find ways to highlight your attitude in your cover letter, or in the personal summary in your resumé. Go beyond just saying you have a great attitude by giving examples that show your attitude.

    Ng recommends doing this by explaining how your positive attitude has led to positive actions. “Include your personal achievements, as it’s all about attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to get somewhere,” she adds.
  • Call out your transferable skills. Often employers care more about the fact that you have the skills to do the job, rather than that you’ve actually done the job itself. So, focus on the transferable skills you’ve picked up while doing other jobs, volunteering or working on passion projects.

    For example, a chef might successfully transition into IT as they tend to be organised, able to multitask effectively and be deadline and outcome-driven.

    This transferable skills checklist can help you identify your own skills. When mentioning your own transferable skills in your cover letter, resumé or interviews, be sure to give examples of when you used them. This tells recruiters and employers how you can perform, not just that you can.
  • Connect with the recruiter or hiring manager. Don’t just send your application and hope for the best. Unless the ad explicitly says, “no phone calls”, pick up the phone and introduce yourself to the hiring manager or recruiter and start a conversation about the role. If you can’t contact the company, look them up online so you can show you’ve done your research in the interview.
  • Have an elevator pitch. Your resumé should have a brief personal summary where you state your career objective. But you should also be able to talk about this in person in the form of an ‘elevator pitch’. Many companies now ask people to complete a video interview at home as part of the application process.

    Duncan says to start practising your elevator pitch so that you’re prepared. “Your CV can move to the top of the shortlist if you come across as genuine, able to speak clearly and having some energy or passion. So, start practising on your phone now!”

It can feel daunting to try to find a new job without experience. But a lack of experience means taking a different approach to your job search, by focusing on what else you can offer. Be sure to highlight your attitude, showcase your transferable skills, and prepare your elevator pitch. That way, you can present yourself as someone with the right mindset and capabilities for the role.

No experience? No worries! A SEEK profile lets opportunity come to you. Complete yours today.

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