Have you ever wondered how to win a job interview if you have little or no experience at all for the role?
I am sure many of you have fantasized about that and even more have ignored job ads for positions that were ‘out of your league’. However, there are people out there who walked into an office, conducted an interview for a job they wanted badly but had very little experience in and walked out with a signed contract.
Why is that?
How do these ‘lucky’ people get to win job interviews for jobs they have no experience in?
Well, I was one of these people in my late 20s when I wanted to become a child therapist. I applied to several job ads and one organisation in my city quickly replied to my application. They called me for an interview. During the interview I was asked about my experience (which was zero) but, to prove to them I had what it takes to succeed in the role, I told them what I learned in my Bachelor’s studies (I graduated from the Faculty of Psychology) and how I would apply what I learned in there.
To this, I added that I was passionate about the field and am constantly trying to improve. I have a cheerful disposition and am confident during interviews and this counted a lot.
I won the interview on the spot and was hired as a child therapist. That job was, hands down, the best and most challenging job of my life. I’m forever grateful to the people who gave me a chance, and who saw that I had it in me to help children with verbal, emotional and physical disabilities to improve their lives and feel better.
If you’re also trying to get a job that you have limited experience for (or none at all), know that it’s possible to get hired. All you have to do is apply.
Here are a few steps to take to win a job interview with little or no experience:
1. Show you’re interested
I believe the most important thing in any job interview is to show your interest in the work you are applying for. If you’re just applying for a job to get money and pay bills, it will transpire in the interview stage. Hiring managers can realize if you just want this job for the money or if you have a certain interest in the field itself. Someone once said that job hunting is like dating. If you don’t like the person across the table from you, they will sense it. And the date won’t go well.
2. Win the job interview with your personality
A good personality goes a long way in the interviewing stage. Remember that skills can be taught but you can’t teach someone to be a certain way. Personality is a pretty solid construct and it takes months if not years for one to change. Hiring managers know that and would probably prefer to hire people who are agreeable and easy to work with than those who are difficult.
3. Use your volunteering experience
If you have no experience in the field, use your volunteering experience. If you’ve never volunteered before, try to link the job you’re interviewing for to your studies. What kind of training have you been taking at school that taught you valuable skills which can help you succeed in this role?
4. Be confident
Winning a job interview starts with confidence. That’s because hiring managers tend to feel more comfortable with people who project a sense of peace and comfort. It’s not their job to open you up and make you feel at ease, you need to do that.
You may wonder how to win a job interview when you need one badly. Perhaps, the job you’re looking for is in a field you don’t have the skills for. Or you just graduated from business school and would like to work with a start-up.
Having no work experience shouldn’t stop you from applying to your ideal type of jobs. Use your personality, experience accumulated in school and sometimes even your hobbies to impress the hiring manager during the interview.
Give the hiring manager a glimpse of what it would be like for you to work in that company. How would your personality fit in there? Be yourself and remember to learn everything there is to know about the company before the interview.
And, don’t lose hope. The right job will find you.
Marlena is a freelance writer and technology enthusiast with an interest in business, health, and cryptocurrencies. She has written for Thrive Global, Life Hack and Medium. You can say Hi to her on Twitter @MarlenaEeva.