How can the inexperienced gain experience?
How are you meant to gain experience if no one will give you experience?
Our Business Support recruiters often talk to candidates who are in retail or hospitality looking to register for office roles in corporate environments. Candidates often think an office administration role is naturally the next step for one who wants better hours, better income and better career prospects.
The most common challenge for these candidates is often the same – employers want experienced candidates, which as a result make opportunities for the inexperienced few and far between. Employers don’t like taking risks and extra training can add costs to hiring which is avoidable.
So, what experience is it that you are looking for and how realistic is this?
Our advice to candidates in this situation is to start small. You should look for a role where you can use your previous experience to get you into a role closer to what you want; consider this as a stepping stone. For example, if you would like to get into an administration role however do not have the skills, consider a Contact Centre role where you will gain some of those skills. If this means working a rotational roster including the odd Saturday night to gain this experience, it may be what you need to do to get ahead.
Often, candidates think quality references are no big deal – this could not be further from the truth.
If you are looking to gain experience, what better way to impress than a previous employer raving about you? Good references are especially important if your experience is light compared to other candidates. Make sure however, you have permission from your references to supply their name. It is not a good look if the reference you have nominated is not aware you are giving out their details, or even worse, doesn’t remember you worked there!
Get the basics right
If you want to take that step into an office role and have limited experience, here are some tips to consider:
- Are there any spelling errors in your CV? There is nothing worse than a candidate telling how high their attention to detail is when their CV has spelling errors. There is endless advice out there on what makes a good CV – take some time to read this.
- How are you dressing when you are attending interviews? Are you going into that interview in business attire or casual clothing? Business attire should be the answer – this makes you credible. Would you feel confident and trust the opinion of your GP if they were sitting there in scruffy track pants? Probably not. You can always research the company to ensure what you plan to wear is appropriate.
- How are you answering your phone? If you are applying for jobs, the reality is you are hoping someone is going to call you. If you are in the middle of something and are unable to take the call, the best option is to let it go to voicemail and return the call when you are able to. One thing to note here is to ensure your voicemail recording sounds professional or this could certainly hinder your application. After all, having an excellent phone manner is a huge part of most office roles. If you are available and answer the call, make sure you are confident upon answering and always say your name – remember first impressions count!
- Is your phone turned off for the duration of your interview? Even a glance at your phone will tell and interviewer they do not have your full attention or commitment to the interview. If you answer a text or call during the interview, you may as well leave straight away. Chances are you won’t get the job.
Make sure your expectation of what you want to do next is not unrealistic in comparison to your experience. Recruitment Consultants are here to help, offer you advice and make sure you are on the right track with your job search, but the way you present yourself is how we will perceive you. Always make sure you are putting forward the very best you.