Employers are fond of emphasizing work experience in their job postings because they believe it tends to qualify candidates for their jobs more than any other thing.
Job applicants especially fresh graduates on the other hand, don’t like to see that part of job postings that says “three years of experience required’’ because it sounds like an automatic disqualification to them.
However, you don't have to feel disqualified when you see a job posting that comes with a certain years of work experience. If you sharpen your skills and present yourself in a manner that shows you're the best candidate for the job, you won't feel threatened by the required years of experience in the job posting.
So, if you're eyeing a job and you don't have much work experience to back it up, try the following tips.
1. Submit your portfolio with your application
Most of the time, your experience isn’t all that matters. The hiring manager would like to know your skills and how much you’re interested in the position. So, when you are submitting your application, you can include a well presented portfolio that highlights your passion and enthusiasm for the company and the career field.
Even if your CV is slim and doesn't cover much work experience, the hiring manager may be intrigued by your creativity, skill and interest that you package in the portfolio.
For example, if you’re applying for an entry-level job in journalism, you can include the link to a feature article you’ve written or a video that showcases your creativity and efforts. Doing this might take the focus away from your lack of professional experience and get you endeared to the hiring manager.
2. Align the keywords in your CV with the job descriptions
Another good practice is to make sure the keywords in your CV and cover letter match with the ones in the company's job descriptions. Don’t submit your CV or cover letter without putting these together. For example, if the job listing says they’re looking for someone who can use analytics and pay “attention to detail”, it’s important for you to include that quality in your credentials. However, if you don’t know how to use analytics, don’t lie in your CV. It’s very unprofessional.
3. Use your networking contacts
The importance of networking for professionals cannot be over-emphasized. Get in touch with your friends, lecturers and acquaintances who can help you connect with opportunities at specific companies.
For example, if you’re a fresh graduates and you have close relationship with some of your lecturers, and the entry-level job you’re applying to happens to be at company they have contacts at, you can ask them for a quick email recommendation. If you have a good relationship with your lecturers, don't be shy to ask hem for lecturers.