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Landing a job with limited experience

Five actionable tips and examples to help you land a job with limited to no work experience!

November 9, 2023 — 

Have you ever felt like you are in a vicious circle of “I can’t get a job because I don’t have experience. And I can’t gain experience because I can’t get a job?” Many job postings require prior experience and qualifications, and you do actually have experience, even if it isn’t paid work experience. But, if you are wondering how to gain experience and you feel you have “limited experience”, this article is for you!  Listed below are five actionable tips and examples to help you land a job with limited to no work experience!

  1. Reflect on your experiences

Although you may not have paid work experience, you have gained valuable skills overtime – perhaps in school, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. Identifying these experiences and the transferable skills you have gained is important. This can include time management, communication, organizing skills. Highlighting theses skills within resumé, perhaps a combination style resumé, will strengthen your employability to prospective employers. If you are having trouble identifying your skills use the skills matching worksheet in the resumé workbook.

  1. Write your resume

Now you have identified skills gained overtime, it’s time to write an effective resume! We recommend creating a combination style resumé when you may not have as much work or volunteer experience or if your most relevant skills for the position were developed from school. A combination style resumé can also be the style or format that most easily integrates competencies gained from school, volunteer, work and extracurricular activities.

Receive feedback on your resume and cover letter through the Resume Learning Centre. Consider attending a Resume and Cover Letter Workshop; register for workshops on  UMConnect

  1. Apply for lower level or entry-level jobs

Apply for jobs that are attainable for people with limited work experience. Entry-level positions typically have on the job training opportunities; these could look like customer service jobs, STEP positions, FSWEP positions, or other student work programs. Check out the Get Hired aticle each week and learn about current job opportunities UMConnect.

  1. Network within your field of interest

Networking can expand your connections and enhance your professional connections. This will help you learn about the industry, reach collective goals, learn about the opportunities and grow professionally. Some areas to meet people and network include student clubs and councils, professional associations, conferences and career fairs.

Register on UMConnect to attend a Networking workshop.   

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to develop new skills and network. There can be volunteer opportunities within associations or for industry events, which can support you in developing relationships within your field.  Volunteering can allow you to apply skills gained through school and/or build new skills and references. Utilize our online resources to explore opportunities and meet with a Career Consultant for support with determining which opportunities…. [link to occ library and/or employment resources pages?]  If you are struggling to identify past relevant skills to the jobs you are applying to, consider volunteering! Check out Finding volunteer opportunities.

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