Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ask a Recruiter: What can I do if I don't have alot of experience in the job I want?

Ask the Recruiter! We're hopefully going to have a series of blog posts along this lines where we ask recruiters, the very people who are going to be looking at your resume and asking you the interview questions, what they think. So first up is Todd Petzold. Todd is a Division Recruiter for the Southeast for Orkin Pest Control. We asked him a few questions based on candidate who don't have experience.

This can be a tough thing, especially with downsizing, sometimes it forces people to uproot and change careers. So if you decide to change what do you do about the lack of experience? Here's what Todd Petzold had to say:

EmploymentGuide: As a recruiter, what advice do you have for job seekers who are seeking employment in an industry where they may not have a lot of experience?

Todd: Companies with great training programs don’t typically just look for people who have a lot of experience in their industry. Those companies are looking for transferable skills. Examples of transferable skills are customer service, enthusiasm, leadership and being a team player. These skills are not industry specific. Take a look at the job ad you are applying for and your resume, are there any similarities? No, then it is time to get to work. Put similar key phrases that you see from the job ad into your resume (only if they apply to you and your work history, of course!) Remember that different jobs/companies call for different resumes.

EG: What attributes should they highlight that can help the lack of experience be overlooked?

T: It goes back to transferable skills. Just because you don’t have “experience” in a field doesn’t necessarily mean you are not a fit for the job. You need to show the recruiter/hiring manager that you have talents that will overcome the lack of experience.

Some examples of transferable skills:

  • Enthusiasm - What gets you excited/motivated to work?

  • Trainability - How easily do you pick up new information?

  • Leadership - Do just think about managing other people, think about à have you trained others or managed a process/project?

  • Customer Service - How do you treat customers- both internal (co-workers) and external?

  • Adaptability- How you deal with change in work load, boss, add responsibility?

  • Analytical Ability – How do you solve problems or issues that come up?

When thinking about changing industries or jobs think about what knowledge and skills you have already that could be of value to the potential company. Market yourself with those skills!

Thanks Todd for participating, and hopefully that helps a little for those out there trying to answer the question about experience. For more tips on answering this question check out the following related posts:

Writing a Resume that Recruiter Will Love
I have no experience? What can I do?
The Interview: You're Overqualified for this Position

If you have questions to ask, please email them to me and we'll ask our recruiters to answer them. All questions will be kept anonymous.

- Rosie Reilman
Photo by cervus


Greg Rollett said...

I like the fact that he said to look for companies with great training programs. These companies can hire for personality, leadership and potential and train them to be great employees.

You do not always need the experience, but you do need a winning attitude and the ability to adapt and learn.

I look forward to more of these in the future Rosie!

jonas said...

Nice blog, you should consider adding it to

The Blog Directory of North Carolina, where you can navigate easily by categories and regions. We hope to grow this as a non-profit resource for all NC bloggers.

If you want to add your blog, the blogs of others please comment in the appropriate region. And please forward to any bloggers you may know that can benefit from this resource as well.