Many women, despite having a good education and advanced degree, are not economically independent. Women, in many societies never get a chance to have a career for various reasons. Some families do not allow a daughter or a daughter-in-law to go out and work. Sometimes, women themselves do not take their professional life and the value of economic independence seriously when they are younger and agree to get married and stay at home until they realize the importance of being self-independent.
There are of course women who take a career break for raising their kids or to stay at home when the kids are younger. Sometimes, getting back to the regular workforce after a long career break is also quite challenging.
If you are not in a situation, or not interested in getting back to work full-time but looking out for options for working from home online, please read this post for some wonderful ideas on work from home online
Getting a job with no or little experience is always difficult, but not impossible if you really want it.
1. Believe in yourself
Around eight years back when I was thinking of starting my career, I did not have any prior work experience. I had graduated from university quite a few years back but had to stay away from the workforce because of some personal commitments.
I still remember some suggestions of my friends and well-wishers. Many of them felt I would end up doing some small jobs, and would never be able to have a proper career. Most them told me ‘ there is so much competition and such a huge unemployment rate, how do you expect to get a decent job when you never worked before? ‘
I knew I had many limitations, but never stopped trying and always believed in my ability. I hope my Linkedin profile today would vouch for the fact that I did the correct thing by listening to my heart. I am not a genius, but always believed in this line by Paolo Cohelo “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Unless you believe that you can do it, you would probably never be able to do it.
Just because no one else has done something, does not mean that you would not be able to do it.
There is no proven formula to get a job, and in spite of doing everything possible, it might take a very long time for you to land to a job. This phase might seem to be hard, trying and frustrating. Believe in yourself and in your dreams. Make sure you never stop trying for what you really want. Some people get a lot of benefit by reading inspirational books and watching motivational videos to keep them motivated and on track. My personal favorite inspirational and motivational books are Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, The Secret and The Magic.
2. Do Not be too choosy about any specific field- keep all the options open
If you have a professional and advanced degree, you may expect to get a job in your own field. But with so high competition and so many experienced people in the job market, don’t get disheartened if you are not getting a job in your chosen or preferred field.
In the process of narrowing down the field, you may be potentially reducing your chances of getting hired by companies working in other areas. Keep all the options open by applying to diverse jobs in different fields.
When you are looking for a job after a long gap or looking for your first job many years after obtaining your last degree, it is very important to get your hands dirty by starting with whatever offer you get. Being able to go out, gaining some experience and making your presence felt is really pivotal at this stage. Salary, Position, Profile of the Company, or the sector or industry come secondary.
Get some experience, work hard and sincerely, master new skills. Be ready to be positive about everything you do start loving it and then start enjoying it. Once you are in the workforce and you have some experience, you would gradually be in a place to assess where do you want to go next from there.
Make sure to be patient, whichever route you choose, it will most likely take a few years till you can have a really successful career.
3. Refresh your skills and knowledge – get certified or join a course
When you have a long career gap or never worked before, going back to School for any certification, Professional courses or diploma is a good option. You may join some part-time or online programs or do any certification to upgrade yourself.
Only some full-time degree programs have placement guarantee. Most of the online or part-time programs do not have any placement guarantee, but at the same time, they are a really good way to upgrade and refresh your skills and knowledge. There is no one specific short-term course or program which can make us very well prepared for any job. Depending on one’s interest and educational background, there could be hundreds of certification programs to choose from – starting from programming to nursing.
Pros: You are more confident. Your resume looks better. You have better chances of selling yourself in the job market.
Cons: Even with a certification, employers might prefer someone with experience. Be prepared for that.
4. Gain experience by volunteering, doing internship or freelancing
Once you are in a position to figure out what type of work you are looking forward to do, look out for volunteering or free internship experience in your specific fields. Volunteering is a wonderful way to develop valuable skills along with gaining new experience.
When you don’t have any previous experience to show in your resume, meaningful volunteering or internship experiences would definitely add a lot of values in your resume. Freelancing is another legitimate way of gaining experience. As you are trying and working towards your full-time career to take off, register yourself in some of the freelancing websites.
A combination of volunteering or freelancing experience and any certificate or diploma would definitely give your resume and your confidence level a huge boost.
You would also develop a lot of contacts and may potentially develop a good professional network through volunteering. Some organizations also hire interns or volunteers for permanent positions.
5. Networking is the key to new opportunities
Work on to build a robust professional network. Connect and engage with people on professional social media like LinkedIn. Join some relevant groups in your area or niche. You can also join different groups of professionals on Facebook or Twitter. The professional networking groups can help you to:
- Connect with professionals from different fields and areas of work
- View job postings, seminars, events and job fairs
- Connect with several recruiters and Human Resource professionals of different companies
Attend job fairs, seminars, professional events to increase your networking opportunities. You never know whom will you get in touch with on which meeting. Don’t miss any opportunity to meet new people who could potentially help or guide you to a new career direction.
6. Use personal contacts and references to search jobs
The very first job which I got was not through any job agency or online job board but through a friend. It was in a very small start-up who was looking for someone as an administrative assistant. They were a very small organization in the incubation phase. They preferred to hire someone from their personal contacts, rather than going through the hassles and expenses of advertising on job boards or newspapers. I got to know about this opening from a friend and eventually got hired, which changed my entire life.
When you do not have any experience or your resume doesn’t look like the typical resume for the field, the resume may easily be overlooked or rejected. Personal recommendations may be more helpful than traditional methods of the job application, in this situation. Use your personal network – friends, family, neighbors, ex-coworkers to help you find a position.
7. Make sure your resume reflects the real you
Be honest and authentic when you are writing your resume or a cover letter. Don’t forget to briefly highlight why you want to pursue a career and why having a career is important to you.
There are millions of people in the job market. Your resume should speak out for you and it should stand out. You should not be just another person looking for a job without any experience. Your resume should tell a story about yourself. It should also reflect your passion to follow your dreams.
Don’t miss to highlight:
- Why you want to pursue a career and why having a career is important to you.
- How you want to learn and grow.
- All your skills and strengths. Market any skills you’ve developed, not necessarily from a traditional job but in any other areas of life.
If you are looking for some invaluable tips on how to make your resume stand out, please read this post on how to get your resume seen.