Trying to get a job is like trying to navigate a professional obstacle course. You have to climb career walls, breakthrough glass ceilings, wade through the muddy waters of job skills, jump through degree hoops, learn the office ropes, master the corporate ladder, and get through rigorous interview hurdles.
Luckily, there’s a better solution.
In this article, you’ll learn how to land your dream job fast, boost your resume, and rock your interview—even with little to no professional experience!
To help, I took a deep dive in an interview with Job Jenny. Jenny was named by HR Weekly as one of the 100 most influential people in HR. She now runs JobJenny.com and gives awesome career advice! Check out our video tips below:
Tips to Land a Job Fast (& Without Experience!)
Make Sure It’s Your “Like” Job
It should go without saying that you should look for jobs that you actually will like, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know what kind of job is meant for them. This doesn’t have to be your dream job, but it should be your “like” job — a job that will give you satisfaction and engagement.
In his TED Talk, my friend, the late Scott Dinsmore explains how people find themselves unhappy at work because they’re climbing a career ladder towards goals they never wanted to achieve and are stuck in careers that they have no passion for:
Before beginning your job search, think about factors such as daily responsibilities, benefits, and company mission to make sure you’re pursuing jobs that will bring you happiness.
List 3-5 day-to-day job activities that make you happy. This can be anything from programming games on the computer, writing killer content, or getting daily work hours outside.
List 3-5 job skills that you feel you do better than others. If you can’t think of any, write down skills you’d love to work on and improve.
Write out your ideal work day. Start with the moment you wake up to the moment you arrive home or finish work. What does your day look like? Does it match up with your dream job’s reality?
Research Company Cultures
As you’re searching for the job of your dreams, look for companies with cultures that fit your personality. Studies show that how you feel at work is correlated with your overall mood so it’s important to find jobs where you know you’ll be happy.
For example, if you’re a quiet introvert who prefers working alone, you don’t want to end up at a company that requires constant collaboration among employees.
However, if you’re an outgoing extrovert, look for companies that emphasize teamwork because you love being social.
Don’t know anyone who can tell you about the culture of the company you’re applying for a job at? Try these tips:
- Check out sites like Glassdoor to read employee reviews and see how well you fit.
- Talk to mid-level employees at your ideal companies and see if their day to day is what you expected.
- Check out your ideal company’s Twitter Profile and see if they have tweets that interest you–would you follow them if you didn’t work at the company?
Dress Up Your Resume
This one may be obvious, but without a resume, you’re at the mercy of relying entirely on your social connections. But if your resume looks a little something like this…
No worries! You can fill up your resume with online certifications that are relevant in your chosen field. Here’s a list of some certifications you can find online:
- Google Analytics
- People School
- Emergency Management
- Google Cloud
- National Preparedness
- Scrum Fundamentals
You can even become an official Pokémon Professor… although this certification would be very niche…but a great talking point in an interview!
Pro Tip: Show off your soft skills on your resume by listing them as part of your job experiences. A study conducted by the research firm Burning Glass analyzed 25 million job postings in 2015 and found that 1 in 3 skills requested were soft skills. This was true even in technical fields. In their study, they counted soft skills including teamwork, communication, collaboration and writing.
Want more tips? Check out our video here:
Complete Your LinkedIn Profile
The best social media for employment is arguably LinkedIn. In fact, 77% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to reach candidates. So if you’re not set up on LinkedIn yet, try out these tips to be job-ready:
- Pivot correctly. Are you tackling a new industry? Make sure your LinkedIn profile targets employers in that industry. If you’re unsure about this, ask a friend in the relevant field to take a look and see if they would hire you!
- Fill out your profile. A lot of profiles end at the short summary up top. But what about the job duties, education, certifications (you did take some courses above, right?), and past experience sections? All it takes is a handful of minutes to set up each section! Head on over to our article for more tips: The 15 Best LinkedIn Profile Tips To Make Your Profile Pop
- Get a professional headshot. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie, either. Keep in mind you want to look approachable, relatable, and professionally relevant in your field. You can even take a professional selfie yourself with a little bit of photo-taking knowledge:
Pro Tip: Use data! The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that the most persuasive way to prove your competence is using logic. Few strategies are more effective in creating logical arguments than incorporating data.
For example, if you’re a product manager you might have a phrase like this on your resume: “Oversaw the development of [new product].” Not very persuasive, right? Compare it to this one: “Lead a team of product developers to create [a product] that increased revenue by 17%.” The second one is more compelling to employers because it proves you create results.
Mind Your Keywords
75% of resumes are rejected before a human even sees it.
Because many companies—including 99% of Fortune 500 companies—are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). The ATS system scans your resume and tosses it out if it doesn’t pass the marks.
An obvious way you might be failing the ATS is by the keywords you’re using (or aren’t using).
For example, if you’re in marketing and your desired job title is “marketing coordinator,” you might miss out on all the potential opportunities for a similar role titled “PR associate.”
This goes for both ways—during your job search and for employers searching for you, too.
Simply changing your keywords can lead to you landing your dream job.
According to The Balance Careers, the best keywords to use should focus on are related to your:
- Field or industry. Think words such as “marketing,” “publishing,” or “database engineering.”
- Location. Are you searching by a specific city? Or maybe you’re looking to go remote. Include these keywords, too!
- Desired job title. Keep in mind variations of the job you’re looking for. One company may call the position “marketing coordinator,” while another calls the exact same role “PR associate.” Try different variations to see which generates the best results.
- Industry-specific skills, tools, and jargon. Think words related to programming-related skills, SEO and marketing skills, psychology terms, and others for your specific industry.
- Company names. If you have a dream company that you’d like to work for, include it!
- Job type. Are you looking for full-time work? Part-time? Freelance? Being more specific can allow you to stand out better.
Position Yourself as An Expert
Even if you’re not an expert, it’s important to act like one.
Becoming an expert is about building up your knowledge and sharing it with others.
If you’ve got more time during your job search, don’t be afraid to post—quell your anxiety and try this exercise:
Imagine you’re in a room and you have your dream job and your dream team. What are you talking about? Are you sharing a relevant TED Talk? Are you talking about a piece of industry news? Are you talking about an article you wrote? Whatever you wish you were talking about at your dream job with your dream team, make sure to share it!
And if you don’t know what to publish, think:
- Blog posts
- New news and research in your industry
- In-depth how-to guides
- Quick tips in your field
- Live video broadcasts
- Professional photo updates
The key here is to add value and post from an angle of authority.
Build Your Network
Sometimes the best jobs are the least advertised. If you’re struggling to find openings that are the perfect match for your skills and interests, attend more networking events.
In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell reported that 83% of people who find their jobs through a current contact do so through people they see only occasionally, if at all. Meeting more people in your industry is the best way to build casual relationships with people who can introduce you to awesome opportunities.
Try these steps:
- Read Never Eat Alone. Keith Ferrazzi has a great approach to building your network. Highly recommend reading his book.
- Sign-up to MeetUp.com and go to one new event each week–don’t forget these can be book clubs, hiking groups or networking events. Do something you actually enjoy and you will meet like-minded people who can hook you up with a job you will love.
- Get awkward at networking events? Try reading a mind-blowing book! We have original research on how to make networking easier.
Unlock the Secrets of Charisma
Control and leverage the tiny signals you’re sending – from your stance and facial expressions to your word choice and vocal tone – to improve your personal and professional relationships.
Succeed with People
Master the laws of human behavior. Get along with anyone, increasing your influence, impact, and income as a result.
Join a Recruiting Agency
Don’t want to go it alone? You don’t have to. Reach out to recruiters in your agency or field and let them help you find a job.
Remember, a good recruiter is striving for you to win. After all, if you win, they win, too!
Just keep in mind that not all recruiters are the same. Some recruiters may take a huge cut of the potential profits—so definitely do your research beforehand.
You can even use a bigger recruiter such as Robert Half, but keep in mind your results may not be as specific as you might want.
How do you find a recruiter? LinkedIn has a handy guide just for that: How to Find Recruiters on LinkedIn
Find Your Job Board
Before you start applying for jobs, keep these tips in mind:
- Use a job board. The more specific you can get, usually the better. For example, use ProBlogger if you’re trying to be a writer. Or if you’re a designer, try Behance. If industry-specific boards don’t work, try expanding your search to general job boards like Upwork or Indeed.
- Take the experience required with a grain of salt. Unless a job states specifically they’re looking for a senior-level position, you don’t necessarily need to follow the requirements. This is usually to filter out people who may not be good enough. If you’re doing the shotgun approach (more on that below), try applying anyway!
- Use a grammar checker. You might be surprised how many applications contain spelling mistakes. Don’t be that person—use Grammarly or another grammar checker to stay sharp.
Use The Sniper Approach
Now comes the fun part—actually applying for jobs. You can either use one of 2 common methods:
- The Shotgun Approach. As the name suggests, this approach entails you applying for as many jobs as you can with the time you have. You might get lucky with this approach, but expect your rate of response to be very low.
- The Sniper Method. My favorite approach. Instead of aiming for 100 applications per day, pick anywhere from 2-5 to aim for. These jobs should be the ones you highly desire—and you can show your potential employer that by creating a thoughtful application that stands out above the rest.
You can definitely use the shotgun method, but I like the sniper method because your rate of response will be much higher… Plus, you’ll sound more genuine when applying for these jobs.
- You’ll first want to pick your jobs. You might not have a high filter, but choose jobs that you are at least somewhat qualified for and feel like you’ll be a good fit for if you’re accepted.
- Find their internal team. Track down their hiring manager, recruiting specialist, or even CEO and send them a personal message. You can use a tool like Hunter.io or jump on LinkedIn to find their details.
- Once you found the insider, craft your message. Your email should be like your elevator pitch—short and full of value. Avoid being vague, be specific and let them know why you value their company.
Remember, even if you’re doing the sniper method, there is an element of numbers as well. The more people you purposefully outreach, the higher your chances.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to follow-up twice or three times (or even more!) if you don’t hear a response.
Master Your Interview Skills
Once you finally land your interview, you’ll have to go through the interview process. For some, a live interview can be equivalent to trying to fight a fire-breathing dragon.
But in order to fully conquer, you’ll need to prepare well in advance. Check out these interview tips to sharpen your sword:
- Be similar. A Northwestern University study discovered that interviewers tend to hire people who appear similar to them. Their findings are supported by the fact that we’re biased to like people who are like us. During your interview show similarities between you and your interviewer by tailoring your answers to reflect company values and processes. For example, if the company does a volunteer trip once a year, talk about your charity work to try to show shared values.
- Use a clear and consistent tone. In an experiment on salary negotiations and business pitches, MIT researcher Alex Pentland found that “the more consistent [people] were in emphasis and rhythm while giving their pitch, the more convincing they were to others.” and that “people with greater consistency were also perceived as having better ideas and a better presentation style.”
- Avoid blocking cues like crossing your arms or hiding your torso behind your resume. Every little detail counts—interviewers might even look at the back of your shoes! Learn all you need to know about interview body language here.
- Prep for questions. Of course, there will be questions. But which ones are almost always asked in any interview? Check out our interview article here to find out!
- What about questions you should ask the interviewer? Read on: 10 Behavioral Interview Questions to Ask In Your Interview
And of course, what you should completely avoid saying in any interview:
That’s a wrap! If you’re looking for the next steps, learn to brush up on your career: 13 Career Training Strategies for Greater Success