Whether you’re a fresh graduate or changing industries, navigating the entry-level job market can be tough. Job descriptions can be convoluted and unclear, and roles marked as “entry level” and “junior” still somehow require years of experience. According to data from the Australian labour market and graduate surveys, 32% of fresh university graduates find themselves without employment opportunities.

If you’re looking for a role with no work experience in that field, how do you make your application stand out above the rest?

Identify applicable skills

Your skills aren’t locked within the confines of your past job titles. Experience can be garnered a variety of ways. Just because you’ve never worked as a sales representative before, doesn’t mean that your customer service experience from your university retail job isn’t extremely useful. 

Take the time to look through your history and pick out skills that you have gained over the years. This can be from your casual jobs in hospitality or retail, volunteer experience, university clubs and societies, or even personal areas you excel in. Examples of these skills include:

•    Problem solving
•    Empathy
•    Written and verbal communication
•    Adaptability
•    Time management and organisation
•    Critical thinking
•    Collaboration and teamwork

All of these skill areas are highly valuable to companies and do not need to be learned in a particular field.

Showcase relevant projects

If you lack direct work experience, highlight projects from your academic or extracurricular activities, or previous roles in a different industry. These projects serve as tangible examples of your capabilities and provide valuable insights into how you approach tasks and challenges. 

Choose projects that align closely with the skills and competencies sought after in the job you're applying for. Whether it's a group assignment from university, an independent research project, or a personal initiative, the project should reflect your abilities in a way that resonates with the prospective employer. Explain how your project prepares you for the prospective job – demonstrate a proactive approach in understanding and meeting the needs of your potential employer.

Develop a strong LinkedIn presence

In the digital age, having a strong online presence is an important component of building a successful career, especially when seeking entry-level positions. During an application process, it’s common for a hiring manager to research candidates online to learn more about them beyond their resume. 

If you have a professional online presence through LinkedIn, it can reflect positively on you, reinforcing your credibility and making you more memorable to the hiring manager. Sharing industry-related articles and engaging in discussions showcases your knowledge and passion for the field you’re looking in. 

Build out your LinkedIn network through connecting with old colleagues or fellow students, attending events, approaching people, and following relevant pages.

Develop your ‘elevator pitch’

An elevator pitch is a concise and persuasive summary of your professional background, skills, and career goals. It is typically delivered in a short amount of time, such as the duration of an elevator ride, in a way that grabs attention, with the goal of making a quick and impactful impression. 

Work on a concise and compelling description of yourself and your skills. Not only will you be prepared to give an elevator pitch in person or in an interview, but you can also use this description of yourself to refine your resume and your cover letter. 

Ensuring consistency in your messaging across different platforms contributes to the establishment of a coherent personal brand. This strategic approach aims not only to make you memorable but also to create a lasting impression that resonates with potential employers.

In summary

Often, searching for an entry-level job can make you feel very lost because of the lack of control you have. Stay open minded, and consider internship opportunities. It is important to ensure you don’t go in with a negative mindset, as this can impact your interview success. Willingness to learn on the job and demonstrating times when you have done that in the past will go a long way.

Recognise and take action on the things you can control and inject purpose into your job search. This gives you the tools to tackle the twists and turns of the entry-level job market with resilience and leads you towards meaningful success.

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