Whether you are coming fresh out of high school or just desiring to switch from one career to another, it can be very difficult to find office work with no experience. During my last year in high school, I started an office position through the work-study program but got fired. So, needless to say, I could not use it on my resume. This became a dilemma because for about two years after graduating, I worked as a sales associate in department stores and other retail settings. With no office experience to speak of, I crafted a retail-ridden resume and sent it to office managers hoping someone would give me a chance. With no such luck, I almost gave up until a friend suggested that I go to a staffing agency. I found that although I had no worthy office experience to add to my resume, there were other things that I had that could help me qualify for an office position.
Benefits of Joining A Staffing Agency
As an unskilled or under qualified job-seeker, staffing agencies can actually help you get your first gig that may turn into a permanent position. Most staffing agents have high-end jobs that require 2-5 years experience but they also have entry-level positions. When applying, see if you can speak to someone over the phone first, preferably a recruiter or someone who places workers. Communication is always the key so explain that you have this skill or that skill that you think would be essential in an office setting but you are concerned with not having office experience. Some of these nice recruiting people will address your concern by offering an interview to assess your skills. If you are genuine enough and committed enough to place a call every other day to check on new job postings, you may wind up with an entry-level position that are usually reception, file clerk or data entry positions.
Speak Volumes on Your Resume and Cover Letter
Never mind that you have been working at Bob’s Fish and Hooks for two years. Outline everything that you have done that pertains to office work. If you ever used a computer to enter product data and your typing skills are 25wpm or better, that is considered data entry. You re-arrange and organize the store; that’s organizational skills. Put that on your resume.
As a store clerk, the fact that you performed customer service duties is just too obvious, so make sure that “Customer Service” is part of the job description. “Cashier” sounds miniscule. You probably did more than just the robotic transaction of taking money and giving change. The register is a cashier; you, however, are a Customer Service Clerk or Sales Clerk.
Now steer clear from fantastic lies. Some jobs do background checks and this could affect your chances of getting a position once lies are discovered.
A cover letter is no different. This is where you are telling the employer that although you have no office experience, you do have x, y and z that would make you an asset to any office team. If the advertisement says 2 years of experience is required, still apply and specify the desire to find entry-level office employment. It would also be okay to spell out goals for your office career. Even though you are working odd jobs now, speak about what direction you would like your office career to go in.
Bottom line, it takes creativity, commitment, and resourcefulness to get into a field that you have no reputable experience in. It took me nearly a year to go from a retail position to an office position. I applied to companies over and over but nothing happened, then one day after I revised my resume for the hundredth time that year, I got a few calls.