How Do I Get Hired With Minimal Job Experience?

The biggest assets you can bring to any job interview when you have little or no practical experience are your communications skills, your listening skills, your flexibility and your enthusiasm. The ability to communicate effectively, maintaining good eye-contact and asking questions concisely and in a focused manner, listening actively instead of passively, thinking ahead to what you are going to say next, and the personality and attitudes that you project to the interviewer are as important—if not more so—than a good academic resume.

At the entry-level, you are hired more on your ability to communicate effectively and the willingness to learn and accept direction with enthusiasm and flexibility.


Project Self-Confidence Through Your Voice And Body Language.

The word that most comes to mind to suggest to you to increase the effectiveness of your
presentation is ‘projection’. If you are naturally soft-spoken, a conscious effort to speak more forcefully will be helpful. This doesn’t mean shouting at the interviewer, rather it is about putting more energy behind your words—projecting.

You know what you can do; you have a storehouse of knowledge, the accumulated experience built over years in the industry, and if a potential customer asks you questions about how you do what you do, you have ready answers based on that foundation.

Imagine that you are going in to sell a potential, important customer on the benefits and advantages of using you, as if this is a company that you have identified as having great prospects for revenue for your current employer. You will be on your toes, ready to give it your best shot.

Sell the benefits of you: project the strength of your knowledge and abilities through your voice and body language. Employers respond to self-confidence and belief in what you can do. The best salesmen believe in the products and services that they represent.

Engage the interviewer’s imagination through holding their attention with a smoothly flowing narrative, focused on your proven track record: tell them what you have done with time-frames, results achieved and growth realized.

Facing the interviewer squarely, leaning toward the interviewer, holding their gaze, and using your hands to reinforce a point that you are making are simple techniques to put more power behind your words and the ideas you express.

If you project that confidence in who you are, why you are successful and give concrete
examples of your progress and achievements, you will go a long way toward convincing the interviewer that you are the one to hire.

Create Buyer Interest In The Employer’s Mind.

Sports people, high achieving sales people and actors frequently use visualization to enhance their performance and presentations. For an employer to make a hiring decision in your favour, they need to see you working there, and to do that they must identify with what you are saying about yourself, your abilities, and your track record.

Being genuine, projecting your strengths of character, personality, and making the human connection with the employer helps create this buyer interest.

Mentally rehearse how the interview will unfold, what you will say and how you will feel in speaking about who you are and what you can bring in the way of experience, knowledge and achievement to the employer. The more vividly you can see yourself connecting with
the interviewer, the more confidence you will project. Sincere confidence founded on being who you are generates a sense of trust.

Many accomplished speakers practice their speeches in front of a mirror, or will work with a colleague, practicing and polishing their delivery. When salespeople know the features of their product or service and believe in the benefits, they are able to communicate those ideas successfully to the prospective buyer.

The same holds true in interview situations. If you know yourself and what you can do, you can create that buyer interest by being yourself, and presenting your unique features and benefits that the employer can see will bring value to their company.

Communicating Clearly is A Key Hiring Requirement For Most Employers.

When job duties involve any degree of interaction with customers, internally or externally, the ability to write and speak effectively is essential to your career progress. Employers have these skills in mind when they are interviewing for customer contact positions. Poor communications skills mean fewer opportunities for advancement. Higher positions require more developed communications skills. With the competitive nature of the marketplace, misunderstanding a customer’s needs or technical information often spells the difference between a satisfied customer and lost business.

Some employers are willing to hire someone with less experience but a clearer style of communication. If this is an area of technical weakness, it is very helpful to take additional courses or have plans to upgrade these skills. Take the time to learn the language well because you are in competition with people who have those skills already. Communicate clearly and confidently how you see your experience, skills, and abilities serving the needs of the employer. Focus on how you can solve problems, work with minimal supervision, learn new information quickly, and adapt to new challenges.

Companies want to hire the best communicators to effectively represent their products and services.

How Do You Handle The Question,”So, Tell Us About Yourself?”

This question invites you to summarize your strengths, weaknesses, experience, skills and knowledge. It isn’t a casual question. It can trip you up if you decide to tell the interviewer your life history, and lose focus. Keep it brief, concise and finish with an open-ended question.

If you are asked this type of question, you can qualify it by asking, “What would you like to know first?”. The interviewer’s response gives you clues to what they want to talk about. You can then tailor your reply to the areas of interest indicated.

Briefly, tell them how your industry experience, credentials, knowledge and track record represent the value you bring as your unique contribution to the employer. Highlight the personal values/standards that you work from in your business life. Tell them what you believe is the foundation for your success Describe your professionalism, flexibility,  and why people like working with you.

1. Summarize your industry experience and credentials – this serves as the basis for why you are applying for the job.
2. Link that experience to what the job requirements and duties are – create the basis for mutual interest.
3. Explain how you conduct yourself in business terms – what is important to you in working with people; your business personality.
4. Transition to a personal interests statement:, “On the personal side, I am / I believe __________”.

Here’s an example of a brief introduction:

“I’ve been in the ___ industry for the past 10 years, starting in the ____ department , then worked my way up through the ranks to the position I have now where I’m responsible for ____, _____,____ and _____. Along the way I learned the importance of continuous learning and always being open to new challenges. That’s why I’m here today to see if there is a good fit between my experience and what you’re looking for. I’ve read the job description carefully and I think I can bring value to the organization. On the personal side, I believe in going that extra mile for the customer to solve their problems. Joining a company that shares that approach is the kind of opportunity that I’m looking for.”

Follow up your 60 second introduction with an open-ended question to gather information about how your thumbnail sketch compares to the background, experience and business values the employer is looking for:

“What would you like to know about my job at _________?”
“What do you think of my experience and how it fits your needs?”

Your passion, enthusiasm, confidence and focus create a positive initial impression to build on with the interviewer.