By Tess Hobbis
It’s a time old problem: you need experience to get a job, but you need a job so you can get experience in the first place. And there seems no end to the ridiculous amount of previous work experience employers expect for roles that, in themselves, offer on-the-ground training.
Is two years of experience really required for the casual bartending role you’re hoping will get you through uni? And if this is what it’s like now, how hard is it going to be landing a full-time position straight out of uni with only your many hard-won years of bartending experience to your name?
Where does a budding young professional taking their first step up the career ladder catch a break?
I’m here to tell you that there are ways that don’t involve fudging your resume that will ensure you make a lasting impression and come across looking far more experienced than you believe you are.
First things first, if you find you are getting turned down from jobs because of a lack of experience, you might want to start thinking about the things you do possess and how you can sell these qualities to your potential employers above your shortcomings.
The number one thing that will set you apart in job seeking is developing a strong Personal Brand.
This doesn’t mean you need to totally reinvent yourself overnight with a thousand dollar shopping spree to pimp-out your professional wardrobe.
Rather, it’s about conveying a lasting impression of who you are, what you’re capable of and what makes you valuable as an employee. The perfect candidate will be able to project the qualities they already possess into new roles and raise themselves above others even if they don’t have the exact experience in that industry or role.
Which brings me to the experience you DO possess and how these skills tie into your personal brand.
Remember that bar job you slaved away at for years? Of course you do. Well guess what, all the times you were under the pump with 20 different cocktail orders and customers shouting at you that they had been waiting in line for half an hour to order? Multitasking, time management, and organisational prowess!
Ever had to insist to a patron for the umpteenth time that yes, they had had too much to drink, and no, you would not take a photo of them with their own vomit, please remove yourself from the premises? You’ve got communication skills, problem solving, and confrontation management in the bag. Not to mention a lot of patience!
Have a good think about what transferable skills you have acquired from all your previous jobs, write them down even! You’ll definitely surprise yourself at all the experience you can confidently say you already hold.
Now, if you can effectively express your personal brand and relative experience to the position in front of you, you’ve practically got the job!
All you have to do now to show you’re the perfect fit is connect the dots. Use stories and specific examples to articulate how you operate in different scenarios.
If anything can set you apart from the competition, it will be describing in accurate detail how you cleaned up aforementioned spew, put the patron safely in a taxi home, and continued to work another 8 hours despite a distinctly lingering aroma, all with a smile on your face. What a way to showcase you are a hardworking employee who goes above and beyond to get the job done!
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of what your personal brand is, and you’re able to communicate your skillset effectively by sharing specific examples from your work experience, it’s time to fake it till you make it! And I don’t mean by adding fake job titles to your resume or trying to convince your potential employer that you’re an expert in your field despite your tender age.
As corny as it sounds confidence is key. Don’t let the daunting ‘experience required’ on job listings put you off from applying in the first place. Put yourself (and your personal brand!) out there with confidence and employers will most likely overlook your lack of industry-related experience in favour of your ability to demonstrate what you’re capable of and confirm what makes you a valuable employee.
Tess is an Event Assistant at UTS Careers. She’s focused on motivating students in their career development by designing a range of inspiring events. With a solid background in hosting and hospitality management she sure knows how to throw a good party!
Featured image courtesy of Pexels