The classic CV-conundrum: 'how do I show experience on my CV, when I don't have relevant experience?'. There is no magic formula Honey — we can't magically create experience for you that doesn't exist. But there are a few easy things you can do to make your CV more aligned with the role and appealing to the employer.
Overall, try to remember this one key thing: it’s all about showing your potential and drive.
1. TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS
For the experiences that you have undertaken, you really have to get underneath the skin of them and HIGHLIGHT transferrable skills and duties that relate to the role you are applying for. Avoid listing boring and mundane skills/duties, for each experience you only need to list 4-5 duties you have undertaken.
For example, you might have assisted at a Uni fashion show, but you want to go into Fashion Design. Ask yourself; what did I do there that would be impressive to someone hiring for a Fashion Design role?
Instead of putting 'Assisted with models backstage', (boring! Why would someone in Fashion Design care about this?) you could say something such as; 'Closely inspected each outfit allowing me to analyse current trends, fabrics, colours, shapes and decorative techniques'.
I often speak to employers and they tell me that it isn't just about the experience, it's about what you got out of it and your transferrable skills. You could work in a bar simultaneously whilst at Uni — that shows that you are dedicated, focused and your time-management is top.
2. SHOW YOU KNOW THE INDUSTRY
You may not have direct experience but it's about showing you really know (and love) the industry and sector. To help you with the above (transferable skills) you need to understand what would be appealing to the specific employer. Let's run with Fashion Design as an example...
To build your knowledge base on what is appealing, take a look at a whole range of Fashion Design job descriptions online, from high-street to luxury, from intern to senior. Whilst researching for this article I came across this which explains what Fashion Design is as a sector and job role. So hop on Google and search for 'Graphic Design roles' or 'what do Fashion Journalism roles entail?' and see what you can find. Resources like these are great research for you to understand what employers are looking for.
Showing you know the industry shouldn't just fall into your 'Experience' section, ensure you reflect your industry know-how throughout your CV and CL. My #1 top hack is to scan through the job description (and others) and pick out key industry buzzwords and terminology to blend into your CV and Cover Letter. This really shows them you know your s**t. Check out the FYI article here.
3. COVER LETTER FOR THE WIN
Another great thing about your Cover Letter is that you can get across to the employer how passionate you are about seeking new opportunities. Also, if you are changing industries (for e.g. from Fashion Design to Graphic Design) explain why in your Cover Letter. Just don't make it into a sob story, keep it to the point! Ensure you tell them why you believe you are the one for the role, what you can bring to the table and really show that you know the industry.
4. FILL A GAP
If you are worried about physical gaps in your CV, be cautious not to fill it with rubbish. Again, always having the employer in mind just think what will entice them? When I was at Uni I had a section called 'Live Projects', which linked to my blog and website projects etc. Yes, you may not have any physical experience, but you have amazing creative skills, so how can you show them? Again, using Fashion Design as an example, maybe you link to an outfit you have created or details of your Dissertation Topic if it's related to the role.
Finally ... Whilst you may not have relevant experience in the industry or role, make sure you get across your transferrable skills and passion for that area of the industry. For any role or application, it's all about highlighting the skills you already possess and how they would be valuable elsewhere.
Got a question or wanna know more about this Honey? Drop it in the FB Group! We will be waiting for you!