How to get a job when you’re overqualified and inexperienced…

If you’ve ever heard this before – and chances are, if you are human, you probably have – then it can seem like a real catch 22. How do you get experience if you need to have experience to start with?

Luckily, there are a few tips you can follow when you are searching for a job but you are overqualified and inexperienced… Graduates, we’re looking at you!

You’ve just finished university and you’re ready to face the big wide world. You have a degree under your belt and heaps of knowledge in your brain, but finding a job that relates to your degree is not always as simple as it sounds.  

These days, a lot of companies require a sufficient amount of experience when hiring new staff which can be a problem for newly graduated candidates. But unless you have been on placement as part of your course, how do you land an interview, let alone a job?

Always be honest

Some employers might look at your CV and think you are inexperienced but that doesn’t mean you should lie to make yourself sound better. Even if you are lacking experience, or you have none at all, use your skills and other experiences to talk about why you would be great for the job.

For example, you may never have worked in digital marketing before but if you have a marketing degree and you have a set of skills you’ve developed through your course, shout out about it. Perhaps you were responsible for leading a particular project during your course and from that you developed leadership skills. Explain this on your CV and remember to always use examples.

The worst thing you can do is lie. If you write on your CV that you can speak fluent Spanish and then you get asked about it in an interview, you’re not going to be able to back it up with any evidence. Be smart and always tell the truth.

Use a recruiter to help you

Using a recruiter can be beneficial for many people, but especially for new graduates who don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to searching for jobs.

A recruiter is there to take a look at your CV and find you roles that match your criteria. This can take the pressure off you having to trawl through the many pages of Google looking for potential jobs because the recruiter does the work for you.

A good recruitment firm will likely have long-lasting client relationships and they will be able to offer you some great advice when you’re on the hunt for a role.

Keep in regular contact with your recruiter and make sure you communicate with them thoroughly to make sure they have all the information they need to find you a job that will match your requirements.

Tailor your CV

Every time you apply for a job, your CV should be tailored for that specific role. If the role you are applying for doesn’t involve managing a team but you have lead a project in uni, you can still talk about it – just make sure you don’t focus too much attention on it.

Rather, you should talk about which skills you have that will match the role you are applying for. For example, if the role entails working in a fast paced environment and you have a lot of experience meeting deadlines and managing your workload, talk about this on your CV. It will show that you understand the role you are applying for by using examples that are relevant.

Sell your experience at the interview

If you happen to land an interview and you don’t quite know how to tackle it, write down some notes to help you prepare. Practice answering questions such as ‘What makes you right for the job?’ and jot down anything you think might be relevant to the question from your uni experience so far.

For example, if the role entails working in a team, mention the fact that you have developed teamwork skills at  uni and use a specific incident in which you contribution to teamwork was successful.

Talking about being well organised, meeting deadlines and being hard working is great information, but always use examples to back up your statements so the interviewer knows that A) you understand the role you are applying for and B) that you have relevant skills and experiences in order to be able to handle the job.

Don’t give up

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t give up! It’s easy to throw the towel in when you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere but try to understand that this is only the beginning. There will be knockbacks and there will be times when you might even be down to the last two candidates and the other person is offered the position instead, but it won’t be like this forever.

Try to make sure that you get feedback from every rejection and then use this information to help you apply for further jobs. So for example, if your covering letter didn’t cover all the job requirements this time, make sure it does next time.

Take any feedback you are given and use it as a learning curve. And remember, everybody starts from somewhere