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How To Make Irrelevant Work Experience Relevant

How To Make Irrelevant Work Experience Relevant

Irrelevant work experience can feel sometimes totally worthless. You’ve had past jobs, but none of them are remotely related to that one job you really want. So how can you turn this so-called ‘irrelevant experience’ into something more worthwhile?

If you’re embarking on a new career adventure or just starting out in a different industry, take a look at these 6 points to help you turn your irrelevant work experience into the relevant experience.

Look for a correlation

First, attempt to make a connection between a past role and the potential job at stake. Make sure you fully understand what is being asked of you by reading the job description. This is key to highlighting all of the skills you need but do not directly have. Although this can feel a little frustrating at times, try not to be overwhelmed by what you don’t have and instead look towards what you do have.

Obviously, if you feel the job is way too out of your depth (ie going from a junior level to a senior manager position!) then applying may not be the best idea… But if the role feels feasible, write down a list of job requirements you think you can meet. Then look towards your past experience and determine any correlations.

Transferable skills

Transferable skills are the best way to show that your previous experience can be applied to the new potential role. In past jobs, you will have likely gained these skills without even realising. Examples such as; interpersonal, organisational, leadership and teamwork skills are all worthy of mention in your CV.

But to really maximise this, use examples of times when you utilised these skills during past experience and responsibilities to show the employer you can easily adapt to new opportunities.

Numbers

Employers and recruiters love seeing numbers. Numbers can be a crucial element to validate someone’s work experience. Particularly if it’s not directly related to the new potential job role. They can also act as a mechanism to prove to the employer that you can get results, no matter the role.

Percentages are useful when explaining how you can manage budgets, increase ROI or even build upon social stats. This will prove that you’re efficient with your time and resources in any job role.

Set the tone

Since you lack direct experience you need to try extra hard to persuade the employer you can talk the talk. Prove you’re no amateur, and write your CV in a similar tone to the job advert. Include jargon that you think will reflect the nature of the job and industry, to express your keen interest.

Beware! By no means should you include lots of words and phrases that you have no idea what they mean. Keep a professional tone but jargon to a minimum if you’re unsure of its meaning.

Be honest

It’s only normal to feel concerned about the irrelevant work experience you have. However, if you are transparent within your application (i.e no lying!) you can help overcome this issue. Employers and recruiters will look more favourably upon those candidates who are candid and honest rather than secretive, creating the feeling that something is ‘off’.

Use your cover letter to explain the situation and why you are embarking on this new career journey. To convey your willingness to learn new things and how you’re not afraid to put in the additional effort that more qualified candidates wouldn’t necessarily need to do.

Do something different

What will make you stand out from other candidates who have the relevant work experience? Think outside of the box, is there anything you can do with your CV that will increase your chances of getting noticed? Can the format be improved to suit the role? (e.g. a creative role requires a creative CV!). Or have you undertaken any personal projects that could really wow the employer? Even small gestures (depending on the company culture and values…) can sway over the employer. Including quirky job applications that will help you differentiate from the rest.

More obvious choices could be, when applying for a marketing job with no relevant experience, to set up your own personal blog. Or use a social media account for commercial use and prove you can grow, monitor and build upon different social channels.

 

And that’s it! Finding a job without relevant work experience will always be a challenge. But with more effort than the average job-seeker and a little honesty you have the capabilities to really impress the employer.

Good luck and ask us any questions below in the comments or on Twitter @BubbleJobs.

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