You miss all the shots you don’t take, especially when you think you lack relevant job experience. This is because you just don’t know what to say when you don’t have experience for a job.
Many job seekers, especially those who are young, end up missing out on opportunities because they don’t apply to positions they don’t have the experience for. But just because you don’t have the specific experience for a job, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a good candidate.
In the working world, especially in corporate jobs, recruiters expect to encounter people who don’t have the experience they’re looking for. But, based on the skills outlined in their resume, along with other job experience, they advance to interview.
When you don’t have the specified experience for a job, use your other strengths along with your personality to convince them you’re a great fit. This is your guide on what to say when you find yourself in this position.
We’ll explore the alternatives to relevant job experience and 25 different examples of what to say when you don’t have experience for a job that are sure to help you land your dream position.
What to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you have practical skills that are relevant to the job
You can’t avoid needing to possess certain skills to do the job. But even if you don’t have the 5 years of experience they need, you can still demonstrate relevant practical skills.
When applying for this position, curate your resume to it. This means, identifying what is required, and pulling on examples from your work experience.
You don’t need to add skills that do not relate to the job. Most hiring managers merely skim resumes and are looking for key practical skills to work with.
If your resume is too long, the reality is that many recruiters don’t even bother, because they have a ton of candidate submissions to review. It’s your job to show why you would be a great fit, and to make the recruiter’s job easy by getting straight to the point.
Here are 5 examples of what to say when you don’t have experience for a job, and you want to play on specific KPIs:
What to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you have important transferable skills that are relevant to the job
Some skills are not easy to measure by established metrics, so you’ll have to demonstrate how they can transfer and be relevant to the job. For example, communication skills or problem-solving skills.
This says that while you don’t have the specific experience for this role or job title, you have some skills that are required to carry out the job. To do this, you’ll need to cite specific examples or summarize how you performed over time because it may not be clear to the recruiter if you just list “Strong communication skills” or “Works well with others”.
Here are some examples of what to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you possess relevant transferable skills:
What to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you want to emphasize that you are a quick learner, take direction well, and are coachable
Companies look for people that will fit into the existing system or workflow. They should be able to observe and adapt, as well as take directions and coaching as it comes.
If you are fresh from university, this is a way to leverage yourself in job applications. Use examples of projects you worked on at university, whatever work experience you have and how you performed on the job.
You may also combine this with demonstrating that you’re a fast learner. The best way to go about this isn’t listing “Fast learner” as a skill.
What proves that you were able to catch up with experienced colleagues? Were you promoted or did you accomplish something in a relatively short time?
Here’s what to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you’re adaptable:
What to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you will stick around for a long time and/or you are willing to travel for work
Company loyalty is very important, and you should be able to demonstrate that. It may mean traveling on a whim, moving to other locations, or even working odd hours.
Not everyone is able to do that, especially if they have family commitments tying them to one location. Since you’re not able to explain this over a phone call or at an interview, you should be able to include this in your resume somehow, without sounding desperate.
Statements like, “I live alone and can move anytime”, or “I have no obligations and can travel” make it seem like you don’t have a good work-life balance, or you simply have no important responsibilities, which can make you appear immature.
So, if you can’t say outrightl that your home-life situation is flexible, or that you are willing to do anything for the job, what can you say?
These of some examples of what to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but your personal aspirations and availability make you a good candidate:
What to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you have a passion for the industry or the company
Employers are looking for people who have a passion for the industry, or at the very least, admire the company they work for. This means the employees will be more dedicated to the role, go above and beyond, and work harder.
Some companies are hesitant to hire candidates with limited job experience, and job-hoppers. The reality for many university graduates is they may work multiple retail or fast- food jobs, which counts as experience in that industry, but they may be seen as job- hoppers.
Here are 5 examples of what to say when you don’t have experience for a job, but you are passionate about the industry or company:
When you’re just starting out in the working world, it can be intimidating to see job posts with all these requirements about experience. In reality, experience doesn’t make or break “hireability”.
Use this as a guide for what to say when you don’t have experience for a job to increase your chances of getting hired and boost your confidence. Good luck!