by LISA GULASY
Many employers prefer experienced candidates, citing inexperience as the greatest factor for passing on young professionals, which leads to an age-old Catch 22: employers won’t hire inexperienced young professionals, but young professionals can’t gain experience without being hired. You can’t mask your lack of experience without tarnishing your professional reputation forever, but if you’re forced to accept another low-paying, coffee runner extraordinaire internship, you’ll quit the business before you’re able to break the surface.
So what are inexperienced young professionals to do? Leverage your inexperience with these job search tips:
Flaunt What You’ve Got
While some employers may request only experienced candidates apply to be considered for a position, experience isn’t always the deciding factor when selecting candidates to interview, so flaunt what you’ve got. Find examples that demonstrate how your internship skills, extra curricular accomplishments, and personal qualities relate to the position you’re applying for.
A recent study by Scholars at Stanford and Harvard published on The Wall Street Journal found that, in a wide variety of settings, people tended to get more excited about individuals with potential and promise than experienced candidates. On your resume, don’t focus on personal achievements of the past (i.e., an academic scholarship awarded sophomore year), focus on what you can and will do should you be selected for the job.
Network Like Crazy
Unemployed or underemployed inexperienced young professionals need to network like they’ve never networked before. Carefully examine your skills and personality, compare them to employers and positions most similar, then use the network you built in college to get in front of people at those employers. This behavior can help you discover positions before they’re advertised, meaning you can avoid the competition of more experienced candidates.
Sell Your Inexperience As A Benefit
You completed a three-month internship, but experienced candidates the employer interviewed worked in a professional setting for at least two years. Yes, that makes you less experienced, but it also makes you more malleable. If hired, those other experienced candidates are likely to comment, “At my previous job, we did X instead of Y,” while you can be trained exactly to the company’s way of doing things without resistance.
Follow these job search tips and you may be one of the few inexperienced young professionals to get out from behind the cappuccino maker and into an entry-level position.
What are some other job search tips for inexperienced young professionals? Share your job search tips in the comment section.