Career-changers, new graduates, and college students:

>> can’t get an interview because you have insufficient work experience?

>> or do you get an interview, but can’t get the job because the interviewer still thinks you’re unqualified?

>> or do you not even apply because you don’t meet all the qualifications in the job description?

Use the six points below to help your interviewer look past your inexperience.

* If you don’t have the basic qualifications, you won’t get an interview. With one job posting receiving 50 applications (and even more during times of high unemployment), the basic required qualifications listed in the job description are the easiest way to reduce the number of potential candidates. You will be screened out by the web application system, the Human Resources department, or the hiring manager. Find a way to demonstrate the basics so you will still be considered. This is the only time when sufficient work experience is an absolute must.

* If you don’t know why you’re there, you won’t be invited back. Do you know why you want this position? Do you know why you want to work for this company? Do you know what the interviewer wants to hear and what he definitely does not want to hear? If you get this part of the conversation wrong, you lose your chances of being hired.

* If you think you’re not worthy, you won’t get the job. Yes, you are inexperienced. Yes, you do not have as much job experience as your competitors. Yes, you will have a lot to learn… but you had better have something to offer from the first day.

Do you act confidently and truly believe you are the best person for this job, or do you wallow in your inexperience and make excuses? If you don’t believe you are worthy to be in this job, the interviewer will take your word for it. Goodbye, job offer.

* If you won’t learn, you won’t work. Because you don’t have as much work experience as the other applicants, you must prove what you do have. Show your drive and your willingness to learn. Demonstrate how you will improve your weaknesses and solidify your strengths. Have an action plan ready to show how you will match the job description and remove the interviewer’s doubts.

* If you are stuck in the past, that’s where you’ll stay. No matter how great you were in past positions, the interviewer wants to hear what you can do for him now. Your experience and abilities matter the first day on the job, so past performance does not guarantee future success. Instead of waiting for the interviewer to connect the dots, give examples and tell stories that relate your accomplishments to what the interviewer needs. Connect the dots for him.

* If no one supports you, you’re a high risk. Just like with investments, every hiring manager has a “risk tolerance”. Some hiring managers will take a chance on under-qualified applicants, but most would rather stay with the safe choices. If you don’t have a lot of job experience in the field, you are already a higher risk than the other candidates. Reduce that risk by supplying powerful recommendation letters and references. Get credible people to vouch for how you work, how you learn, and how you interact with others.

Work experience matters but it is not always the deciding factor.

Click the link for more details and a six-step plan to overcome your work experience. Sean Haggard is an interviewer and hiring manager with over 12 years of experience. He tells you want the interviewers really want to hear and how you can wow them at the Interview Backdoor.

Copyright © 2010 Sean Haggard. All rights reserved. This article may be reprinted only as a whole, with the title, body, author byline/signature, and copyright intact. This article may not be sold without prior permission from the author.

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