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How to Prove You Deserve the Job When You Don’t Have Direct Experience

By hire-up-staffing in News and Updates

Lauren Milam

Vice President of the West Coast

Hire Up Staffing

There are endless opportunities in today’s job market, however, some job seekers may feel frustrated when the jobs that most interest them do not line up exactly with past experience. From a recruiter’s point of view, your best advice when faced with this challenge is to get creative and stay vigilant. Follow along for ways to flex your creativity and persistence to land that job!

1. Be Realistic: It is important when applying for a new position that you remain reasonable. If the job posting lists a mandatory degree in a particular field and you do not have that, move along. Do not waste your time and efforts applying for a role that expects minimum requirements that you do not possess.

2. Transferrable Skills vs Direct Experience: When you do come along a job that could be a fit but you do not have “direct experience,” review the job requirements and consider your experience. Think about how your experience may offer transferrable skills. For instance, if you have worked as a server and bartender and are thinking about applying for a recruiting position, consider the skills used as a server/bartender and how they would support the needs of the recruiting role. To be effective in both positions, you would need strong customer service skills, the ability to multi-task, remember the needs of your clients/customers, and work well under-pressure, to name a few.

3. Update Your Resume to Reflect Transferrable Skills: Once you have identified a strong list of transferrable skills, ensure your resume reflects it. Throughout your resume, you want to highlight your experience in a way that showcases these shared skills. For instance, using the previous example, your experience as a server/bartender might state:

“Delivered exceptional service skills while serving 6-8 tables at once,” and/or

“Selected to sit in on interviews for new servers,”

“As Lead Bartender, responsible for training barbacks to effectively set up and break down,  

clean and polish, stock and restock to maintain the bar.”

Expand on transferrable skills throughout your resume. Help the recruiter or hiring manager see the likeness between your current and past roles and the one for which you are applying.

4. Recharge Your Cover Letter. In addition to updating your resume to showcase transferrable skills, do the same with your cover letter. Your cover letter and resume should be as specific as possible to the needs and requirements of the job for which you are applying. Your cover letter is a great way to speak to your past experience and how you see a direct correlation to the new job you are seeking.

5. Be Proactive.  After applying, reach out to the company directly. There are several ways to do this: You can call and ask to speak to the hiring manager; You can send the hiring manager a message on LinkedIn; Depending on the industry, you may be able to stop by the location in person and ask to speak to the hiring manager and introduce yourself. When job searching, being proactive and showing you are eager can help you to land a job. Organizations want employees who are excited to work for them!

6. Prepare for the Interview. Once you have landed an interview, study up! Ensure your transferrable skills are top of mind and that you have identified examples to share during your time with the hiring manager. In addition to being ready to speak about your transferrable experience, you also want to be ready to tie together even more for them by knowing as much as you can about the company. Do your homework and find as many connections as you can with your experience and what you bring to a job. Research what that organization values and offers its customers and consider how  past work experience and/or your personal values can further support them with those efforts.

7. Be Confident. If you have tailored your resume and cover letter as outlined above, and have done your homework on the organization, you are already ahead of the game when it comes to manifesting your internal confidence. You know what you bring to the table, and you have a good idea of what the company is looking for, now all you need to do is show the hiring manager how well these two things complement each other. Cool confidence goes a long way in an interview.

Through your research, you may have identified some aspects of the job that you do not direct experience or transferrable skills. That is ok. During the interview, you want to demonstrate that you have past experience with quickly adapting, learning new things, and that you remain open and willing to growing your skills.

8. Ask Questions. Prepare a few questions you would like to ask the Hiring Manager about the role and/or the company. Perhaps one is, “What would you say are the most important traits of an ideal candidate for this role?” Then remember what they share.  If your questions are toward the end of the interview, you may not be able to reinforce the ways in which you can connect past experience to these desired traits, however, you can in your follow up communication.

9. Follow Up. Your actions after an interview can further reinforce what you brought to your interview. Show your gratitude for their time with a thank you email or note. Reinforce 2-3 specific ways you can help support the organization, or even better, if you are able to identify a few of those specific traits the Hiring Manager shared with you, tie those into your note.

Above all, Hiring Managers in organizations around the country are all looking for similar things. If you take the time to tailor your resume and cover letter to showcase how their needs are in line with your past and present work, you are already leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. By taking the time to research and connect their needs with your work, you show an eagerness and serious interest.

Think about this process of attaining your new job as though it is your current job. Put the same effort and care into your search as you plan to provide within your new position.  Excitement, eagerness, and interest shines! Do your best to shine and spark the interest of the hiring manager.

Not sure you are ready to jump into the job market on your own? We can help! Reach out to one of our offices closest to you and speak directly with a recruiter. We have a seemingly endless list of opportunities and would be thrilled to assist you in finding your next job!

Follow the Hire Up Staffing Blog to stay connected with a variety of topics aimed to help support you! Whether you are an active job seeker looking for tips and tricks to land your perfect job or an employer looking to fill a challenging position, we are here to help you HIRE UP!

Lauren Milam, VP of the West Coast

Meet Lauren Milam, Vice President of the West Coast. Lauren started in the staffing industry 10 years ago as a Recruiter. Finding success in her role quickly, she promoted through the ranks to outside sales, training and development, and then Regional Vice President. She joined Hire Up in November of 2019 as our first Regional Vice President hire for the California Market. Since starting at Hire Up, she has created and implemented new sales campaigns and initiatives to help the company grow. In her first quarter with Hire Up, she helped the recruiters increase their individual gross profit by an average of 28%. She does this by creating plans that focus on the individual needs of each office and person.