Have you just graduated and are looking for your first real job? Or maybe you’re looking for a career move and are ready to try something totally different. Whichever way, you’re probably dealing with a major issue for job seekers — trying to land a position without any direct experience.

Here are 5 ways to land a position with no job experience:

  • 1. Try bartering your skills.

  • So you don’t have a full resume of prior jobs doing exactly what you want to do next. That doesn’t mean you haven’t got any skills to offer. If you’re great with social media and you want to get into a marketing position, see if there’s an opportunity to help with a company’s Facebook page or tweeting campaigns. It might not get you directly into the role you were looking for but at least it will get you in the door. If you’re a secretary who wants to become an event planner, see if a company is willing to let you do some of their office work, in exchange for some free interning hours shadowing the event coordinator.


  • Promote your soft skills.

  • Soft skills are abilities that are not related to specific information or knowledge. Soft skills can include great communication skills, being detail-oriented, or being highly organized.

    Soft skills are often underestimated and can be difficult to learn. If you can describe specifics, such as “excellent time management – balanced an 18-hour class load with a part-time job,” that really can resonate with your audience and help you get a job without experience.


  • Interpret your experience.

  • You might not have direct experience for the job you want, however you can try to articulate what you’ve done in such a way that it’s easy to see why the learning curve for you will be a lot lower than for someone else.

    If you are just coming out of college, look at your activities on campus. Did you do a lot of fundraising for a cause? Tally up those numbers and translate them to sales – after all, persuasion is persuasion. If you can say “raised $5,000 during a 3-day phone-a-thon,” that indicates that you’ve got the people skills and persistence that could appeal to a sales team.


  • Work for cheap.

  • If you really want to do something in a field that you are new at, you’re going to have to earn it. If you know that the starting salary in your dream field pays roughly $25 per hour or roughly $50,000, offer to work for $15 per hour or $30,000 (and tell them you expect your compensation to be revisited in six months or a year).

    Another suggestion may be to look for a part-time position in the area that you want and agree to a reduced rate. Then you can maintain work in another job (in your old career) that helps supplement the income.


  • Work for free (for a bit of time).

  • Even though it is not ideal, everybody loves getting something for free. If your cover letter opens with “I’m looking for an opportunity to learn – and I’m available for free for X amount of time,” you’re likely to at least grab attention.

    And again, it’s not forever. Ask for a one-month or three-month trial to make it clear you don’t plan to be an apprentice for the long haul. If you’re currently not working already, you’ve got the free time, so why not do something productive?


It’s not easy to land a position without job experience, but it can be done.

Be optimistic but realistic by truly assessing your skills and taking stock of your history.
Let others know you’re looking, because the more you network, and the more experience you get promoting yourself, the more likely you will find an opportunity to land that dream job with no experience.

(written by: Whitney)

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