In April, my career took a huge step forward when I earned the opportunity to intern with Flackable for the summer, where I work directly under the agency’s founder as his marketing associate. As a college student and an aspiring digital-marketing professional, my peers often ask me how I landed this coveted role with such limited experience.
The fact is, I earned this opportunity by showcasing my talents and strengths, defining why they made me the perfect fit. I did not have agency experience before this summer, but I didn’t let that limit or disqualify me from pursuing this opportunity. Instead, through personal branding and networking, I positioned myself as a top candidate and, consequently, earned the job.
Now, like many of my peers, my personal brand is still a work in progress. But just because you’re inexperienced does not mean you can’t score your dream job or internship. It just means you need to frame your qualifications so they outweigh your lack of experience. To do this, here are a few things to remember…
Set yourself apart from the herd
When applying for a position, there will almost always be a candidate more qualified than you – but they are not you! You bring a skill set to the table that is unique from the rest of the applicants, so hone in on that. For example, I created and currently manage a food Instagram account with thousands of followers. I‘ll bring this achievement up in an interview to distinguish myself from the other applicants, knowing most of them cannot say they manage a food-blogger account with such a successful following.
Make your skills relevant to the organization
Nowadays, skills and qualifications have become so specific to certain fields that employees tend to forget how they would be of use in another setting. That’s why it’s important to understand how your skills are relevant to the organization you are applying to as well as the position itself.
For example, when I bring up my food Instagram account in an interview, it shows that I can organically grow a strong social media following. I’ll then explain how I would transfer that skill to the opportunity in question.
Additionally, I like to showcase knowledge from my classes and school clubs. Your education and experiences are applicable to more fields than you might think. How can you apply your education and other college experiences to your career? Reflect back on your college experiences thus far and look for the skills you developed during those times—you will notice you have developed many more skills than you initially thought. Being able to apply your seemingly irrelevant skills will go a long way, and you’ll realize you are more qualified for the job than you think.
Be driven and relentless
When applying for a job or internship, show the employer that you are driven and committed to the opportunity. Potential employers want to know that you are willing to learn new skills and apply them. On top of that, revealing your drive and passion shows them just how much want the job; that you are willing to conquer new challenges —making them not only feel inclined to hire you, but also connect with you on a more personal level.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, selling yourself with limited experience is a skill that will take time for you to master. Although this may make job-hunting a bit more difficult, do not let it discourage you. Just showing you are aware of your transferrable skills demonstrates to your employer that you are capable of seeing the bigger picture—which benefits you and your employer.