No Excuse: 4 Ways to Defeat the “No Experience” Objection During Your Job Search

Mark Babbitt is a father of five, a grandfather of two… and CEO and Founder of YouTern, named by Mashable as a “Top 5 Online Community for Starting Your Career” and by Forbes in both 2012 and 2013 as a “Top Website for Your Career”.

Have you ever said this to yourself:

“I can’t get that job… I don’t have the right experience.”

During a job hunt, this cliché mindset sneaks into most of our minds – regardless of experience level. Like most clichés, it exists for a reason… Generally, it’s true – at least in the moment said.However, If you’re still saying that three months from now…

Well… there’s no excuse.

There are many relatively painless ways to remove the “no experience” barricade during a job search. Let’s take a look at the best options available:

Internships and Apprenticeships

Regardless of your years in the workforce, internships and apprenticeships remain the single best method of getting past the “no experience” gatekeeper.

In an internship and apprenticeship, you gain:

Industry-relevant experience over a short period of time.

The chance to show a prospective employer your potential.

The opportunity to network – online and offline – with influential individuals in your chosen field.

There are literally thousands of internships available across the country, right now. Apprenticeships, while a bit harder to find, are making a significant comeback in the workplace. So it’s highly likely an internship or apprenticeship exists in your field.

Volunteer Opportunities

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

I was once on a panel discussion with the dynamic Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success. When we were asked a sure-fire way to get the attention of influential people, the immediate answer from this amazing  leader was: “Volunteer!”

She went on to give specific examples where the passion, work ethic and character of a potential employee was clearly on display during volunteer activities – and that she would go out of her way to recommend someone who volunteered right along with her.

This is true in many arenas: start-ups, non-profits, charities, church and civic activities and more.

Volunteering makes your best character traits come alive – mostly because you feel good about yourself while helping others. Many times, this happens in front of influential people who can make a difference in your career, providing you with connections and recommendations.

Get out there, show your passion, hustle… and someone will notice.

Volunteering makes your best character traits come alive – mostly because you feel good about yourself while helping others.

MARK S. BABBITT

Freelancing or Entrepreneurship

Essentially, there isn’t much difference between searching for a job and searching for customers – both, in their own way, pay the bills. Many businesses – especially small businesses and start-ups – would much rather pay “You, Inc.” for 10 hours a week for your specialty than hire a new employee.

Perhaps you have a knack for social media, public relations, event planning, marketing, graphic design, or spreadsheets. These are valuable – and marketable – skills.

Take a chance. Invest in yourself. Along the way, you’ll gain critical experience employers will covet.

Passion, Ambition, and Guts

At some point, you’re going to be running your own department, or business…

Who would you rather work with, and trust with the future of your company: A) the stale, over-confident loner with ten years of experience? Or B) the person who walks in displaying confidence, a passion for the work and the team, and who obviously has a clear path to success?

I choose “B”. Every single time.

Not sure how to make that kind of impression during the interview? Walk in with a strong handshake, good eye contact, and an unsolicited, unexpected “plan.” For example, bring in a well-thought out marketing strategy, a social media plan to extend brand awareness, or a thorough analysis of the competition. Then, lean forward in your chair, and walk the recruiter through your ideas with unbridled passion, ambition and guts.

By the time you’re done, you’ll be shaking with adrenaline. And so will the person you just talked to about your job.

How many of these practical tips can you apply to your job search? Since none of them are mutually exclusive – your answer may be “all of the above”. You can certainly engage in a 10 to 20 hour per-week internship while volunteering Saturdays or Sundays. It is more than possible to build a blog or website and get business cards in a few man-hours. And in just a couple hours a day, you can spread your promote your freelance work or entrepreneurial message through Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t convince yourself you don’t have the right kind of experience. Leverage these four ways to gain the right kind of experience. Then, two to three months from now, you won’t need an excuse for lack of experience. You’ll have it hand – and employers will notice.

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