How Are You Qualified for a Job You’ve Never Had?

How Are You Qualified for a Job You’ve Never Had?

        It’s easy to become discouraged when looking for a job you desire to have but you are missing the required direct work experience. It’s rare that someone sees requirements or qualifications needed on a job they want and, right away, feel 100% qualified based on their experience. While you may have never been an Administrative Assistant before or worked in Digital Media, you may have had experience using skills that will be useful in those jobs. You may think it will be difficult to take what you did at a job that was completely unrelated and apply it to the job you want, but you have to remember that that’s what everyone does when they’re applying for a job they’ve never worked before. It is the way that everyone who has ever moved up has done it. Taking your past experiences and relating it to what you will do is really important to land the job you really want.
         First, think about what you’re good at. This may not only apply to things you’ve succeeded at in past jobs, but also past personal projects, school projects, or volunteer opportunities you’ve participated in. Don’t dismiss the little things you’ve done well. If someone has complimented you on it, it’s something you’ve seen someone else struggle with that you can do with ease, or if you’ve felt accomplished after doing it, it’s probably a skill you should brag about!

        To you, you may think you have only stocked shelves in a grocery store, but you must ask yourself: What skills did I need to stock those shelves? Perhaps you had to read a plan that the store provided you to determine which items went where. In that case, you used your attention to detail and organization to restock those shelves. Maybe your manager asked you to set up a display of items that were on special and they included no plan for you to use. With creating a display on your own terms, you used creativity. If all of the items sold that you put in that special display, you successfully used your skills in sales to understand what way of displaying the items would make your customers want to buy them the most.
         Sometimes it can be difficult to find things we think we do well. If you’re still struggling to figure out what it is you do well or how the things you do well translate into useful skills you can name on your resume or in a job interview, ask someone who knows you. Look to your current/past bosses, coworkers, friends, and even family for help. Sometimes it’s easier for them to see and be able to communicate what you do well and what that really means in a new job.
         Write down all of your useful skills that you can think of and that others have complimented you on. Put this list of items in the appropriate places: on your resume, in your cover letter, on your LinkedIn profile, or just remember how to explain what you did in the past that proves that you’re gifted with that skill so you can use that in an interview. Compare this list to the qualifications necessary for the job you want. Sometimes the comparisons between what you did and what you will do aren’t so direct, but they can be close enough that an interviewer can see you being successful in the job you’re applying for. Maybe never arriving late to your shift as a dishwasher at a restaurant doesn’t seem related to turning in weekly spreadsheet reports on time, but if you’re known for being punctual, that is a useful skill you will use to be great at your next job.
         If you need extra help while applying jobs, talk to an ORT adviser. We’re always here to help you succeed.

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.