How do I get a job in a new industry with no experience?

Question:

“I’m trying to land a role in a new industry (fashion) but I’m coming up against the barrier of ‘no relevant experience’ from both agencies and recruiting managers. How can I get over this hurdle?”

Answer:

First of all, congratulations for having the courage to follow your passion and take your first step towards a new career. As a career and confidence coach who has helped hundreds of mums find fulfilling work, I know how daunting changing careers can be.

The great news is that you will already have a wealth of experience from previous jobs as well as life outside of work that will be relevant to your new role. The secret is being able to recognise these key strengths and skills and communicate them effectively to any would be employees.

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To help you, here are my four top tips to help you overcome the “no relevant experience” hurdle so that you can land your dream role in fashion.

1) Identify your transferable skills

Take the time to identify any skills from your past that will be relevant to your new role. Then write down the best stories that illustrate how you have demonstrated that skill.

For example, if the role you are applying for requires creativity, think of your most creative moments and describe what impact you had. Don’t limit yourself to workplace scenarios, it could be how you organised an event for a local charity or school.

Finally, don’t forget to make sure that these skills are highlighted in your personal statement at the top of your CV or in your covering letter – to be sure you catch the eye of the recruiting managers or agencies.

2) Demonstrate your passion for the industry

Think of evidence that shows your commitment to the fashion industry. Do you attend fashion events and read the right magazines to stay abreast of the latest trends?

Try to find extra ways that fuel your passion – such as making your own outfits or designing clothes for your children. Where appropriate use Instagram or Pinterest to show off any work you are particularly proud of…. remember your digital footprint can be a powerful selling tool.

3) Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer

Be resilient, persuasive and insistent. The most successful people in life find solutions to obstacles in their path. Take steps to gain some industry experience – even if it isn’t your dream role.

This could be finding a work placement, doing a short-term contract or asking to shadow someone for a few days. You will not only be gaining valuable experience that will look great on your CV, but also building up a network of people who know you in the right industry.

4) Use the power of your network

Finally, don’t underestimate the powerful role networking plays in helping you land your dream role.

Put time aside to proactively build your network – this could be connecting with friends of friends, ex-colleagues or building an online network with LinkedIn or Twitter. Be specific about the types of roles and experience you are looking for – after all around 70% of jobs are never advertised – so your network may hold the key!

Answered by our career agony aunt Fiona Clark from Inspired Mums. Ifeel you need help selling yourself on paper or in person, email Fiona or call her on 07789 597209 for a FREE 30 minute 1-2-1 consultation.

Need more advice? Download Inspired Mums’ free e-book For mums stuck in a career rut – 8 steps to finding work you love.