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Ways to stand out with limited experience

Have you found a role you want to apply for but worried you don’t have the necessary experience? You might cringe when you read the words “what experience or qualifications do you have for this role?”

Don’t despair you can still stand out and sell yourself and your ability, even with limited experience. Here are some tips to help you.

Embrace your inexperience – Don’t make out you have qualifications or experience that you both know you don’t. Instead embrace your inexperience and leverage that as motivation to learn. Share an experience you had where you didn’t have the qualifications to do something, but you did anyway, and show that it had a positive outcome.

Do your research on the company – Employers want people who have made some effort to get to know their company and what it is about. There is a plethora of information available online so there are no excuses to not do some Google searches to find out about the company and its leaders.

Show how keen & motivated you are – Enthusiasm is underestimated. I have interviewed people simply because they showed they were super keen, highly motivated to succeed and had a great attitude.

Tell them you are willing to get the experience or upskill as needed – Willingness to learn shows you are fine to move out of your comfort zone and grow as a person.

Share any volunteer work you do – If you do any volunteering work then share it. This says a lot about a person’s character and willingness to be part of a community.

Emphasise your soft skills – You might not have any formal qualifications, but you have personal skills that are relevant. Things like time management, listening, creative thinking, networking, team player, organisation skills are all valuable skills so share them.

Share stories and circumstances where you achieved something similar – You might not have direct experience for the role, but you will have life experience that you can apply. Think of a couple of circumstances where you have been challenged, how you solved them and what the outcomes are. This shows you are able to think and assess situations which is a valuable skill.

Connect with recruiters or employers on LinkedIn with a personalised message – make a good impression – Do not send the default connection message. Craft a short message sharing why you want to connect that is positive and gives them a reason to want to connect with you

Find a way to connect your passions and life experiences with the company – It might not be directly related but if you can find a link or something that will translate it can impress the hiring manager.

Keep it professional, and keep it honest, focus on the positive skills you have, fill your resume with real, valuable experience, have integrity and you might be surprised how much you stand out.

Should you tell your boss you are looking for a job?

Here’s a dilemma! You’re looking for another job and you are trying to work out if you should tell your current boss you’re looking. What to do?

Before you jump in head first or do something you will regret, ask yourself some questions first.

What type of relationship do you have with your boss?
Are you able to discuss most job challenges or issues with them?
Would they respect you or want you to have that conversation with them?

A big question to ask yourself is “Do you really want to leave your current role, or do you just want to feel appreciated or get a pay rise”? Let’s face it, sometimes it is just about wanting to feel loved and appreciated for our hard work.

There are many good reasons why you might want to tell your boss, starting with these:

  • Open & honest communication can open new opportunities – perhaps your boss didn’t know you wanted to move up or there might be a position that is being created that you weren’t aware of. Communication is usually a good thing and can lead to new opportunities.
  • It’s an opportunity to update skills for an upcoming position that might be on your radar – your boss might be aware of a role in the pipeline and be able to ‘prep’ you to get first in line, and this could start with some additional training.
  • You have added leverage when it comes to salary reviews – It is less expensive for the business to keep an existing staff member than it is to hire someone new. They probably don’t want to go through the hiring process again as it is costly & time-consuming – use that to your advantage as it’s much better from a company perspective to keep someone than it is to employ a new person for a role.
  • Your boss will see you with fresh eyes and may help you find new opportunities within the company – they are more likely to know about new positions.
  • There is a preference for the new staff member to be trained by the outgoing team member – this bodes well for all involved so get your boss on side.
  • Having this conversation allows them to plan ahead and put a back-up in place if you do leave, allowing them to restaff in a measured and strategic way.
  • Your current boss might provide increased flexibility to allow you to go to job interviews.
  • Never burn bridges – goodwill goes a long way and you never know who in your current company, will move to another company and be making hiring decisions in the future.

There are some drawbacks that you might need to be prepared for though. Consider these:

  • Be prepared to call the bluff if you say you will walk if you don’t get what you want. If you say you’ll leave then don’t (if you don’t get what you want) you will lose all bargain powering in the future, along with your credibility.
  • Your boss may terminate you before you decide to resign. There are laws to protect you and they need to have a legitimate reason so consider making note about all conversations or put these in traceable emails for future proof (if required).
  • Another risk is that your boss may no longer consider you for any promotions as they might not believe you are dedicated. This is where communication is vital, so you can reassure them you are committed to the company, but you just want some new challenges.
  • Your boss might think you will be less productive, cause issues in the team or will put in less effort. Be mindful of changing your attitude and stay positive, even if you hate it.
  • Some employers may respond negatively, which may impact your future at the company. Only you can determine if your manager will respond favourably to your news and if the risk is worth the potential aggravation.

Try and reassure your immediate boss to not take it personally. If you have a good working relationship with your employer, you may feel confident in approaching them about moving on. This is something only you can determine. If you are unsure perhaps talk to another member of staff or someone you trust that can guide you through this process.