No experience? No problem!

Luke Parker
No experience? No problem!

Please note: this article was first published in November 2014

It’s an age-old conundrum - you leave university and scan the vacant job section of the newspaper only to find the majority of positions read, “Minimum x years’ experience required.”

So how do you get a foot in the door when you may have the training but not the experience?

We asked Inside Executive Recruitment Associate Director Paul George what’s happening in the employment market these days and what employers are really looking for.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn: by the numbers

“New graduates and those looking to step into a new career need to firstly realise they are in a highly competitive market, so need to be original and creative in their approach to prospective employers,” Paul says.

Inside Executive Recruitment Associate Director - Paul George

“Flexibility is also a key factor to them being able to stand out above the crowd – be willing to offer your time free for a week, be happy to make the tea, or even do the photocopying or data entry.”

He says employers are looking for a can-do attitude, and great communication skills – everything else can be learnt on the job.

“Outstanding communication skills, confidence, the ability to learn on the fly, and the willingness to go beyond your realms of responsibility all come into it,” he says. “People skills are hugely important, and an area you can never underinvest in.”

But along with this, Paul says completing a degree is pretty crucial in this day and age.

“This demonstrates to employers that you were able to apply yourself, show discipline, and have the ability to learn new and complex information. However, please be aware all the degrees in the world won’t count for much if it's not accompanied by that great attitude and the willingness to start at the bottom if needed.”

Paul believes work experience during school and university is invaluable, particularly if it is gained in retail or a customer service environment.

“Even at the executive level, be it in finance, ICT, marketing or operations, every role will be looking for those excellent people skills and ability to influence others.”

One thing he’s seeing is many young people thinking creatively outside the box to put themselves ahead of the pack and in front of future employers in cut-throat industries.

“Social media is having more and more impact on the hiring process for both employers and employees alike. Personal ‘hire me’ videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, as well as the traditional recruitment application channels provide plenty of ways to catch an employer’s eye.

But he harks back to two invaluable skills that will always get you to the top of the pile – a good attitude and being teachable.

Paul says new graduates and Generation Y often wrongly receive a bad rap for wanting big dollars and management career plans from day one, however the truth is people and their respective skills and talents progress their careers at different speeds.

“It takes time and experience in the workforce to identify your key strengths, what you enjoy, and most importantly what makes you happy. Some will find it quicker than others.”

So remember: be flexible and friendly, teachable and positive, and always keep a smile on your dial – this way you’re ensuring your best foot forward, positioning yourself for a brand new job.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn: by the numbers

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