At some point in our professional lives many of us encounter a situation where we go after a job in a field that we have no prior experience.

This is not only common for recent college graduates, but something many seasoned professionals face as they make a career change.

Having no professional experience may seem like a disadvantage (and it can be), but it’s actually possible to turn it to an advantage with the right preparation, and state of mind.

When hiring new employees, employers typically look for personality, aptitude, and experience. If you’re lacking experience, you MUST play up your personality and aptitude. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

Talk about your initiative – Just because you don’t have professional experience doesn’t mean you have no knowledge about an industry. I know many job seekers that have carved out time in their busy lives to become students of the industry they desire. This includes taking courses or certification programs, reading books, and networking with people who work in those industries.

Tell recruiters about the efforts that you have made to gain knowledge about the industry. This not only shows great initiative, but it signals to recruiters how important breaking into the industry is to you. If you’re behind in these efforts, put together a plan for upskilling and gaining knowledge, and then share that plan with recruiters. This shows that you’re willing to take ownership over these efforts, and not rely strictly on the employer to train you, if you were to get hired.

Convey your passion – Breaking into a new industry because you think “it will be a better fit” is not a good enough reason. Recruiters encounter job seekers with little experience trying to break into new industries every day. In order to stand out, a job seeker must properly convey their passion and determination for wanting to work in the industry.

In order to do this, job seekers need to establish how they feel connected to the company/industry, maybe even share a personal story. For example, maybe you’re looking to break into nursing because you were inspired by the care a loved one received during a difficult time and it forever changed your career perspective. That’s a story worth telling.

Giving an in-depth, or personal, response to why you want a particular job is not only a good way to show your desire for the position, but it allows you to show a little bit of your personality. It gives the employer an idea about the type of person they may be hiring.

Employers are willing to take a chance on job seekers with no experience!

Every situation is different and there are certain positions where employers will want to hire employees with experience. However, there are also many employers who will take a chance on someone with no experience if that employee has the desire and aptitude to learn.

Every time a company hires a new employee it’s a significant investment, both financially and with the time spent on training that employee. The last thing an employer wants to do is hire an employee that gives up when the going gets tough.

In some cases, a job seeker that has no previous experience, but wants the position bad enough, is seen as a less risky investment. Employers can train anyone, it’s just a matter of whether or not an employee is willing to put the work in to make themselves experts in their new industry.

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