Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Does it seem like most entry-level roles still require one to three years of experience? You’re not imagining that. You’ve probably come across entry-level job postings that require some experience, resulting in a catch-22 for your job search.
So, how do you get that first job when you’re just starting out?
Your best move is to retarget your job search and build a new career in an industry that welcomes newcomers without any experience. To help you get started, we’ve listed a few suggestions for you in the following.
But before we dive into the details, let’s clarify what “no experience” means. Once you get on the same page with recruiters, gaining momentum in your job search is more manageable.
What Are ‘No-Experience Jobs’?
The term “entry-level” means different things in different industries. And sometimes, the meaning can vary between recruiters.
Finding an entry-level role can be frustrating until you understand which ones align with your experience level.
Let’s unpack that a bit. Some employers use “entry-level” to describe an entry point to a career. That entry point requires foundational knowledge and a bit of experience.
Then, there are the “no experience” roles that might align better with your expectations — jobs that actually mean no industry-specific knowledge or skills are required.
What Recruiters Are Looking For
There’s a twist, however. Recruiters aren’t looking for a blank slate.
They’re looking for potential, adaptability, resilience, and a range of soft skills you already possess. Skills like time management, communication, and leadership are invaluable in any industry.
While you might not have thought about experience in those terms, recognize that having no experience doesn’t mean showing up to the role with nothing to offer.
In fact, regardless of your career stage, you likely have quite a bit of real-life experience. For example, did you captain a school sports team, showcasing your leadership and team-building skills? Or, have you juggled part-time work while being a caregiver?
In that case, you’ve honed your time management and multitasking abilities. These life experiences can be just as valuable as professional ones.
With that understanding in your pocket, let’s dive into some industries where “no experience,” paired with your unique skill set, can open doors.
6 Top Jobs That Don’t Require Experience
The following industries are excellent for professionals looking for a fresh start in a new industry with no experience.
1. Administrative Jobs
Does organizing events or managing schedules come naturally to you? Step into an administrative job. In this role, you’ll help keep things running smoothly by executing the following:
- Coordinating team activities
- Drafting emails and managing an inbox for a department or executive
- Facilitating phone calls and scheduling appointments
- Maintaining and organizing essential files
- Scheduling travel and completing expense reports for an executive
Many administrative positions offer significant flexibility. Policies vary from company to company, but an administrative job’s flexibility might let you set up shop anywhere — on the sidelines of your child’s soccer game or at the local coffee house.
An added advantage? The skills you’ll acquire are transferable and will pave the way for career growth.
- Projected median salary: $39,680
- Standard degree or certifications: Entry-level administrative jobs that don’t require a degree are prevalent. However, additional credentials can help build your marketability.
2. Call Center Jobs
Consider taking on a call center role if you’re a great listener and communicator. Pivotal to any company with a high volume of customer calls, your duties might include any of the following:
- Documenting interactions and customer feedback
- Managing inbound and outbound customer communications
- Navigating databases and customer management systems
- Processing orders or transactions
- Resolving customer inquiries and problems
Call center workers likely need to commit to specific working hours to help companies ensure adequate phone coverage throughout operating hours. Most companies also require a quiet, distraction-free work environment to provide an excellent customer experience.
With robust potential for career growth, you could progress from problem-solving customer issues to leading a team or managing quality assurance.
- Projected median salary: $36,920
- Standard degree or certifications: Entry-level call center roles are some of the best jobs without degree requirements. When you’re ready for a promotion, it’s helpful to consider acquiring specialized certifications or training.
3. Customer Service Jobs
With a knack for solving problems and ensuring everyone is happy, a customer service role might be perfect for you. Customer service jobs are traditionally some of the best jobs that don’t require a degree and often entail:
- Documenting customer interactions
- Interacting with customers to address inquiries and complaints
- Processing transactions and orders
- Providing product and service information
The beauty of customer service roles lies in their flexibility. Many companies support traveling or working overseas. You’ll have the chance to fit work into your life, rather than adjusting your life around work. Throughout your career, cultivate key skills, like problem-solving and communication, and leverage them to move into leadership roles down the road.
- Projected median salary: $36,920
- Standard degree or certifications: A high school diploma usually suffices for customer service roles. However, a bachelor’s degree or the career certifications can help you stand out from your competition.
4. Data Entry Jobs
If you’re known for your attention to detail, why not channel that into a data entry job? Typical responsibilities include:
- Checking data for accuracy
- Compiling and organizing data
- Inputting and maintaining information in databases
- Transcribing documents
Data entry roles often offer flexible schedules, and whether you want to balance side gig or pursue a full-time job, growth opportunities are abundant. Data entry jobs sharpen your attention to detail and proficiency in data management systems, creating potential progression into data analysis roles.
- Projected median salary: $36,190
- Standard degree or certifications: Entry-level data entry jobs rarely require a degree. You can, however, gain an advantage as your career progresses with relevant degrees and certifications.
5. Sales Jobs
Imagine turning your persuasive charm into a career. Taking a sales role with no experience, you’ll be trained on the job to handle customer acquisitions and learn closing skills. Essential duties in sales roles usually include:
- Documenting sales activity
- Identifying potential leads and clients
- Maintaining client relationships
- Meeting sales targets
- Presenting and selling products or services
While the sales industry has traditionally included some roles that support remote work, the growth in e-commerce has made working outside of a traditional office even more prevalent. When you need to work around your other commitments, sales should get a second glance.
Hone critical skills, such as negotiation, communication, and customer engagement, for managerial or executive roles.
- Projected median salary: $62,400
- Standard degree or certifications: Many sales roles offer on-the-job training, making them ideal entry-level jobs. However, certifications in sales or software specializations, such as Salesforce, can provide an advantage.
6. Writing Jobs
When you have a flair for words but lack professional experience, there are still writing roles that offer a great starting point. Typical responsibilities may involve:
- Collaborating with clients or team members
- Conducting research for writing projects
- Creating content for various platforms
- Editing and proofreading content
- Ensuring written content meets guidelines and goals
These roles often support work-from-anywhere opportunities, which is perfect when you’re seeking inspiration beyond the office. As you level up your skills, you might grow into editing, content management, or publishing roles.
- Projected median salary: $69,510
- Standard degree or certifications: No degree is required to launch your career; a portfolio often markets you best. That said, you might land more lucrative roles by leveraging industry certifications.
How To Find Jobs That Require No Experience
Have you got your industry short list ready? Good. Now, the real action begins.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and hunt down that first job, even if experience is a sticking point. Here’s how you can build momentum and find a job near you with no experience.
1. Compare Your Skills and Interests
Start your search by skimming entry-level posts in your chosen industry. Try to decode roles that are in sync with your unique character traits.
For instance, a blogging gig could be right up your alley if you have a creative streak and a knack for storytelling. On the other hand, you might feel like a square peg in a round hole in a technical writing position.
Pro tip: Use free artificial intelligence (AI) software to help you reword your skills to match the job description. But never lie on your resume. Instead, adjust your vocabulary to fit the role, as applicant tracking systems don’t understand nuances or slang.
2. Craft a Base Resume
Build a blueprint. Have an up-to-date resume ready to be tailored for each job.
Once you have a foundational resume, updating it with keywords from individual job postings is relatively quick and easy. Likewise, create a complementary cover letter, ensuring you customize it to fit each role.
Highlighting your job fit is even more critical when looking for a job with no experience in the industry.
Pro tip: Customizing your resume for each role can be relatively quick and convenient. Create an easy-to-update resume summary and data-driven bullet points that apply to the entire industry you’re targeting. Then, update each submission with the applicable keywords from the job description.
3. Leverage Your Network
Networking is about more than just small talk at networking events. It’s about building connections both in person and online.
Kick off your networking by listing everyone from your personal and professional life. Search for them on LinkedIn and initiate a professional connection. Be bold about sharing your job search on social media too. You never know who might have a lead.
Pro tip: Start networking by contacting a few professionals you’ve researched on LinkedIn who work in your target industry. Don’t ask them about how to get a job. Instead, let them know you have a particular question about their career that you’d love to get their perspective on.
Respect their time and request 10-15 minutes for the proposed conversation. You’ll likely get better results than a generic request.
4. Schedule Interview Prep Time
No matter how cliche it may sound, first impressions count. Your ability to draw a clear line between your soft skills and past experiences can be a game-changer during interviews.
So, carve out enough time to get into the nitty-gritty of each potential role. Help the interviewer understand why this specific role appeals to you and isn’t just any job.
Pro tip: Start with the company’s website, but expand to press releases, executive interviews, and social media mentions. You can’t control how much experience you have, but you can control how prepared you are for the conversation.
5. Utilize the Full Potential of Job Boards
Streamline your job search with niche job boards.
For example, say you’re specifically looking for remote or flexible work. Discover the career resources available on FlexJobs. You’ll avoid the abundance of scams targeting job seekers and save yourself a ton of time.
Pro tip: Fully update your profile and set up job alerts to save time. Ensure you get the most out of the resources by attending virtual job fairs and webinars and utilizing learning centers.
Finding Your Next Job With No Experience
Don’t allow a lack of direct experience hold you back from a better work situation. You bring valuable experience to the table with your nontraditional background.
Your fresh perspective might be exactly what a hiring manager is looking for. Give them a chance to see how you can fit into their team.