No Experience? No Problem: How to Showcase Your Character to Land the Job

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Every job wants experience first. Here's how to sell your character as a valuable addition to a company when your experience is too junior.

I’ve always enjoyed the riddle that is the chicken and egg.

I can’t say that it keeps me up at night, but the quandary does have its place in my synapses.

Think long, boring drives, waiting in line or those awkward flights sitting next to the sleeping stranger.

While we’ve long since solved the questions around gravitational force, the speed of light and other complex equations, the good old chicken and egg will likely remain a mystery.

Along the same line of thinking, in my profession I’m often asked the question, “How do I get experience if employers only want to hire people with experience?”

Related Article: Comparing Candidates: Should You Hire Experienced Workers or Recent College Graduates?

While at face value, the question does seem to harbor the same merits as that of the chicken and egg, the same paradigm doesn’t necessarily apply.

We all know people who go out into the world with little to no experience and land great careers. So how do they do it?

Here’s the secret: while your resume must absolutely detail the experience you have, those who are successful at landing sweet gigs despite their lack of experience know how to distract recruiters from their shortcomings and refocus them toward their character. 

I know it may be a tough pill to swallow, but your parents and grammar school teachers were correct: A good attitude and strong character are virtues that can carry you far.

In the competitive landscape that today’s job seekers face, it’s important to understand how you can harness your character in a way that tees you up to be selected over those who may be more skilled and seasoned.

I don’t plan to leave you with any riddles, so here are some methods you can use to accomplish this feat. 

Get Social

Over the years, the notion that social media is a hindrance to job seekers has changed.

Today, social media is very much a part of the job search and part of the vetting process used by recruiters and hiring managers alike.

This goes beyond professional networks such as LinkedIn and delves into the world that is Facebook. With that, prior to appending the link to any of your networks, make sure that you’ve cleaned things up, if needed.

Start managing your accounts today to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. Take care of the obvious. Eliminate unsavory photos, etc.

After that, think about your posts and those who may follow you. Can you be seen as influential? Does your online media persona capture your proficiencies?

If so, you’re well on your way to bolstering the skills you may have thought you lacked. 

Related Article: The Value of a Degree: Why Silicon Valley Startups Need More MBAs

Go Clear

Stop, and put down the copy of Dianetics. The clear I’m referring to is simply being transparent.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to disclose your most closely guarded thoughts, but consider simple things like including hyper-links to the organizations for which you’ve worked, schools you’ve attended, etc.

This makes your resume easy to research and adds a bit of modern flair. Don’t go overboard. Be strategic in where you place links.

If you’re linking past employers, provide a link for each one of them, unless they’re simply not available.

Providing direct links emphasizes that you have pride in what you’ve been doing and will likely take pride in your future endeavors. 

Remember the Best Policy

Honesty, of course. One of the easiest ways to advertise your character is to simply be honest. Never embellish your resume.

Yes, a quick adjustment of the truth may take your skills to the next level, but when the recruiter cracks this case, you’ll not only be cast aside from future opportunities, you risk becoming a hiring pariah.

Likeminded professionals talk. This is most certainly the case within the HR industry. Cross this line at your own risk. You’ve been warned. 

Flaunt the Faith

Any stroll through a dictionary to define faith arrives at the conclusion that at the center of faith is trust.

Trust is something that is generally tough to earn, but its power and bond are among the strongest out there.

Employers want to trust you, that is, they want to be assured that, not only will you be capable of doing a great job, you’ll continue to perform at a high level for more than a nanosecond before leaving them high and dry.

Showcase your commitment to your work. For many who have less experience, one way to do this may be to focus on repeated seasonal work. Were you asked back summer after summer by an employer? Showcase this in your resume.

Related Article: The 5 Most Successful College Majors and Why Your Company Should Hire Them

All those in hiring capacities have a certain set of skills and experiences they’re looking for.

That said, there is much to be gained from including a glimpse into your character. As you craft your resume, be sure you’re scrutinizing it for such opportunities.

You may not be the most experienced candidate, but showcasing these soft skills is often what puts one person behind the desk over another.  

 

 

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