So, you are very keen on getting a job in your chosen field but possess no work experience? Don’t worry. Almost every student finds himself in the same dilemma. The same goes for cases where you want to apply for a job abroad and you cannot show a full-time work experience other than an internship or short stint at work.
A potential employee with no prior experience does stand at a disadvantage compared to someone who has previous knowledge of work dynamics. For students, in particular, the only tangible things to showcase to an employer is his skills and knowledge. This, however, does not mean that companies do not value employees with no prior experience.
On the contrary, some positions across various fields are specifically meant for people without any past baggage (read: work experience), a willingness to learn and proven ability to acquire new skills in a short timeframe (read: internships).
If you want to apply for jobs abroad and also thinking how to apply for jobs abroad with no experience, the following groundwork and strategies need to be in place before you are considered a serious candidate for a full-time job:
Re-skill and Opt for Internships
Okay, so you do have an ample amount of skills to justify a great job in the field of your choice. But do you know that the dynamic nature of jobs in today’s age implies that your skillset needs a big overhaul every few years? Yes, so when you are looking for a job abroad without any experience, it makes sense to acquire new skills using online Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) from leading universities.
This will ensure that you are the top of your game when it comes to getting those coveted internships at various firms, paving the way for a full-time job in the future.
Display Competence Across Your Academic Career
Academic grade points (GPA) are of particular importance during the initial phase of your career wherein you have no prior work experience. You may ask why. Simply put, the GPA and associated internship and scholastic achievements are the only way a potential employer can judge you, at first sight.
Yes, you may land an interview and then showcase how you can add value to the industry and the organization. But before that happens, your academics, leadership and co-curricular experiences will get you to the interview shortlist in the first place.
Participate in Competitions and Hackathons
Various companies, in their quest to identify top talent, organize regular events and competitions like science fairs, business plan competitions and hackathons.
If you are a job-seeker without any experience, this can be one of the best ways to put your skills to use and achieve top grade amongst other competitors. And yes, a lot of employees chosen by firms come from among the winners of these competitions.
Apart from these events, a student who can come up with practical solutions to problems faced by the industry can hope to reap rich rewards, either in the form of cash or a job offer. The thumb rule is, the bigger the problem, the higher you reward for solving it successfully.
Bag Industry and Academic Referrals
As discussed before, industry internships – both short and long – can be a stepping stone to future employment prospects, apart from being a fantastic learning experience.
Even if you fail to get an offer from the internship employer, bagging a referral from them is the second best thing to further your prospects. Similarly, a referral from your university professor can also do wonders when it comes to shortlisting your candidature for an interview.
Professors and industry professionals typically have strong linkages with the overall ecosystem of companies, which gives their referrals a strong weightage for a successful job offer.
Work Across Multiple Roles
In the age of AI and machine learning, people with multiple skill sets are in peculiarly high demand. So if you are an intern working at a company, widen your horizon by working across multiple areas in the firm. This will not only give you bragging rights, but also the exposure among recruiters looking for talent that can juggle across the firm to provide higher value.
Working across multiple roles is also valid for students who take up summer internships across multiple fields during their academic career.
Students with this exposure stand a higher chance of getting shortlisted for job interviews than the ones who have a lesser breadth of the internship experience. However, this cannot undermine the importance of excelling in academics with a stellar GPA.
Settle for Lower Initial Compensation
If you are on the prowl for a job abroad without any experience but have an above-average GPA with relevant skills, you have a fighting chance of getting an offer. However, at times, the offer fails to match your expectation in terms of compensation. Do not fret. Evaluate the job profile and prospects of future growth in your chosen field.
If you get a hint that the role offers tremendous growth over a period of time, accept the initial lower compensation just to break the entry barrier. Sometimes, companies are not able to offer inexperienced candidates with top compensation due to future uncertainty. But as you perform and deliver results, both your compensation and profile will catch up with the stars.
As they say, a lower compensation at a small firm with promising growth prospects triumphs over a higher pay at a conglomerate with a low growth environment.
Keep Immigration Policies in Mind
Another important aspect to keep in mind, especially when you are searching for a job abroad, is the immigration policy of the country you have in mind. In the current protectionist political environment across the globe, mobility of talent is not a given anymore.
Stricter visa conditions and shorter periods of stay has meant that companies refrain from going through the hassle of employing students outside their home country. This has led to talent shortage or even sub-standard talent across fields in some countries.
If your company is located in an immigration-friendly country, there is nothing like it. But if you are about to apply for a position in the US, for instance, be very careful about the requirements and conditions of your employment before giving it a shot.