Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
You’re hoping to avoid a long commute, and you like the idea of working for a local company.
Maybe you’re dedicated to boosting your local economy, or perhaps you want to work a hybrid role and be in the office occasionally. But your lack of experience doesn’t align with the jobs available near you.
So, how do you find a job near you with no experience? We’ve got good news. It’s completely doable. In fact, it may be easier than it appears at first glance.
Successfully finding “jobs hiring near me” with no experience or little experience comes down to building a solid job search foundation and leveraging a combination of in-person and virtual job search strategies.
Consider the following strategies to build your 30-60-90 day job search plan.
- Understand your motivations and set specific job search goals.
- Identify and analyze your skills.
- Understand the market.
- Leverage traditional and nontraditional job search strategies for your local job search.
- Goals to keep you on track.
Understand Your Motivations for Finding an Entry-Level Job ‘Near Me’
You’re eager to launch your job search, and that’s completely understandable.
But before you jump onto your favorite job board, clarify your intentions. In order to set clear, actionable goals, you need to understand your motivations.
Discover Your ‘Why’
Ask yourself, “Why am I looking for a job?” Your immediate response might be, “To get a new job, obviously. What a silly question.” But you must dig a bit deeper.
Your answer to this question forms the foundation of your job search. You may be eager to put your new degree to work, or maybe you’re looking for a higher salary. It could be that you’re looking for a better work-life balance or need to escape your toxic work environment.
Understanding the fundamental reasons you’re looking for work ensures you’re happier with the outcome. Otherwise, you might settle for a role that doesn’t meet your needs and find yourself looking for work again.
Try this brainstorming process for a more structured and focused job search:
- Write down your reasons: List all of your reasons for looking for a job. It can be anything from “I need to pay my bills” to “I want to make a difference in conservation.”
- Evaluate your needs: Analyze your list for patterns or underlying themes that reveal your primary motivations.
- Define your “why”: Based on your evaluation, define your “why” concisely.
Identifying your “why” helps keep you motivated and provides a purpose, which makes every application, every interview, and every rejection a step toward your goal.
Set Specific Goals
Now that you have your “why,” you can set specific, actionable goals. To create your goals, ask yourself:
- What kind of job am I aiming for?
- Do I want to work full-time or part-time?
- Is there a particular industry I’m interested in?
- How far am I willing to commute for my job?
- What kind of company culture and professional development am I interested in?
Work Through Your Questions
Then, work through your list of questions in this order:
- Brainstorm: List your ideal job attributes — type of role, desired industry, preferred company size, acceptable commuting distance, etc.
- Prioritize: Review your list and prioritize these attributes based on their importance to you.
- Form your goal: Based on your top priorities, formulate your job search goal.
By working through these steps, your job search goal will become clearer, evolving from “I want to get a new job” to “I want to secure a full-time, entry-level position in [field of interest] within a 30-minute commute from home so I can work a hybrid remote role.”
Stay adaptable, though. Don’t set rigid, inflexible goals. As you learn more about the job market and gain experience, you might find something unique you didn’t even know was possible.
What’s important is to start with clarity but maintain an openness to change as you move forward in your journey.
Self-Evaluate and Identify Skills
With your “why” in hand and a detailed goal, you’re almost ready to get into the nitty-gritty of your job search. But first, you must determine which roles align with your skill set.
Although you might lack the formal experience other job seekers have, remember you still have skills to offer. Don’t undersell your capabilities!
Focus on What You Can Offer
It’s easy to compare your experience to a job posting and get hung up on gaps. But it’s a mistake to focus solely on the boxes you don’t check. Instead, shift your focus to experiences that have shaped you.
Consider your academic achievements, volunteer work, part-time jobs, or hobbies. In each scenario, you likely gained valuable skills that will benefit your prospective employer.
Try this exercise:
- List your activities: Write down all the activities you’ve been involved in over the past few years. Start with college projects, part-time jobs, volunteer work, club participation, and even hobbies, and grow from there.
- Identify your skills: Circle back to each activity and list the skills you used or developed. For instance, if you were part of a college team, you likely developed teamwork, time management, and problem-solving skills.
- Consider it as a job: When you’re struggling to translate your marketable skills, find a similar paid role. Look through the list of skills to discover a new way to look at your experiences. For example, as a military spouse, you might have utilized organization, communication, and project management skills throughout all of your moves.
Emphasize Your Soft Skills
Savvy hiring managers know that, but other job seekers generally focus on their technical skills. This gap can help you find the leverage you need to stand out in a competitive market.
Those nontechnical skills relate to how you work and interact with others. Analyze where you’ve utilized communication skills, problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence, and adaptability.
Once you’ve identified your skills, the next step is communicating them effectively on your resume and during interviews. Use action verbs and provide clear, data-driven examples of how you’ve used these skills in the past.
Avoid fluffy adjectives that leave the recruiter wondering what you actually accomplished.
Understand the Market for ‘Jobs Near Me’
You’ve analyzed your why, set your goals, and taken ownership of your experience.
Before you launch your job search, the last step is finding the sweet spot where you intersect with your target industry.
Identify Suitable Entry-Level Jobs
Start by identifying entry-level positions suitable for your career stage.
Note that entry-level means different things to different industries and organizations. Some are entry-point jobs, and others are genuinely entry-level.
Entry-level is likely what you’re after. These roles are typically designed for newcomers to the workforce and provide opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
These might not be your long-term target in terms of the position you ultimately want, but they’re a great stepping stone to getting there.
Roles range from administrative, customer service, sales, and marketing positions to more technical roles, like junior developers. It depends on your field of interest.
Short-List the Roles You’re After
Use this three-step process to short-list the roles you’re pursuing:
- Research: Explore job boards, industry blogs, company career pages, and social media groups to understand the types of entry-level roles available in your desired field. Set a time limit. Write down questions that come up to ensure you understand the scope of the entry-level positions offered.
- Analyze: Look at job descriptions to see the required skills and qualifications. This will give you a sense of whether your existing skills match and what additional skills you need to develop.
- Short-list: Based on your analysis, make a short list of job titles that seem like a good fit for you. Remember that you don’t need to check every box. FlexJobs career expert Keith Spencer reminds job seekers to “Go for the jobs that you’re only 60% qualified for.”
Find Jobs Near You With No Experience
With your foundation built, you’re ready to launch your search. Use traditional and nontraditional job search methods to maximize your results.
This is true even when focusing your job search locally.
1. Combine the Power of Traditional and Digital Job Search Methods
Traditional job search methods, such as local networking or visiting local businesses to hand out your resume, may feel a bit outdated at first. But just like your favorite throwback song, some things never go out of style.
In-person interactions can be surprisingly effective at helping you stand out in today’s digital-focused job market.
Even if there isn’t a role that fits your needs, introduce yourself and ask to be kept in mind for future roles. You’ll likely need to apply through the company’s online portal as well, but never underestimate the power of a personal connection or impression made face-to-face.
You can apply a marketing standard called the “Rule of 7” to your job search, which suggests that a consumer must interact with a message seven times before they’re ready to purchase.
You’re marketing your services to the hiring manager in a job search. The more often a hiring manager comes across your name, the easier it is to ensure you’re top of mind when they’re ready to hire.
2. Maximize Your Use of Online Job Boards
Don’t write off job boards simply because you’re looking for a local role. Platforms like FlexJobs, LinkedIn, and Remote.co empower you to search for jobs with tailored filters, like location, job type, and experience level.
Rather than casting a wide net over a broad area, such as “New York State,” zoom in on your specific city or town, like “Buffalo, NY.”
Experiment with keywords related to entry-level positions, such as “junior,” “trainee,” or “assistant.” With every search, you’re one step closer to uncovering your dream job in your hometown.
3. Engage With Your Community Through Job Fairs
Job fairs present the unique opportunity to meet and engage with potential employers face-to-face. Research upcoming job fairs — both in-person and virtual — in your area and prepare to make a stellar first impression.
Find the list of participating companies, tag the ones you’re excited about, and dive into research on their culture and open roles. And don’t forget to practice your elevator pitch and dress professionally!
In the same vein, local recruitment agencies can be fantastic resources. Many specialize in placing candidates in entry-level roles and have established relationships with businesses in your area.
This local focus could provide you with a leg up on the competition. Save time by exploring their websites or postings on national job boards.
4. Tap Into Your Personal Network
Networking is a vital tool in your job search arsenal. Engage with family, friends, and acquaintances about your job search.
You may be surprised at how often these casual conversations can lead to exciting opportunities, with tips about openings in their organizations or elsewhere.
Create a quick elevator pitch for interactions around town and throughout your social media. When someone asks what you’ve been up to, share your job search goals in a short, concise statement and ask them to let you know if they hear of any openings.
5. Capitalize on Local Resources
Your local Chamber of Commerce or business association can offer valuable information and connections. They often provide resources specifically designed to aid job seekers.
Visit their websites to explore directories of businesses in your area, which can provide a targeted starting point for your job search.
6. Research Local Businesses
Don’t neglect your research on a business simply because you can see its storefront. Visit the company’s website, explore its career page, and get a feel for the culture.
Even if you’re not the most qualified, you can present yourself as the most dedicated and well-researched applicant. Remember, opportunity often favors the bold.
Persistence and Consistency Are Key
The job search process can be daunting, especially when you’re new to the workforce. There will be rejections and moments of doubt. We’ve all been there. This is where your “why” and goals can keep you focused and motivated.
Following a regular job search schedule will help you maintain consistency:
- Create a schedule: Set aside specific times each day for job searching activities, including researching companies, tailoring resumes, applying for jobs, and following up on applications.
- Set daily goals: Apply to a set number of jobs that align with your goals, even if you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications. Use every rejection as a learning opportunity, and don’t get disheartened.
- Time your research: To avoid spending more time than needed, set time limits for your research. The initial research that allows you to tailor your resume and cover letter doesn’t need to be as in-depth as the research you do for interviews later in the process.
- Get creative: Find ways to highlight your skills and goals and stand out from the competition. If you’re seeking a marketing job, for instance, can you create an inexpensive ad targeting the hiring manager to snag their attention?
Land a Job Near You With No Experience
Remember, everyone starts somewhere. Technology has opened up global opportunities, but your dream job might be in your own neighborhood.
Find a nearby job without experience by creating a solid job search foundation and blending digital and in-person best practices.