Selling yourself: Don’t let a lack of experience put you off

It's always tricky writing a CV or covering letter, particularly if it's not in your nature to boast about your achievements.

But what many people mistakenly believe is even tougher is selling yourself to an employer when you lack relevant work experience in their field.

Rather than letting gaps in your employment history stop you from applying for a job that you otherwise meet the criteria for perfectly, embrace those skills that will help you shine and focus on personality traits that make you the ideal candidate.

Here are some top tips for making yourself irresistible, even when you don't have experience.

Focus on what you can offer

Being enthusiastic, reliable and above all interested in the role you are applying for will stand you in great stead, as these are qualities every boss wants to know their new employee has, particularly when it comes to hospitality careers.

Fill your CV and cover letter with examples of organisational skills you've gained from any role you've had, and highlight what aspects of your education could help you thrive in this position. Think about any personal projects you've worked on and what you learned in those, and find a way of relating them to your application.

Have you done any charity work?

Employers love seeing that potential candidates have been actively involved in community work or volunteering for charities, so if you've got any experience of this under your belt then flag it up as early as possible in your CV and covering letter.

It'll help them to build more of a picture of your character, and prove you haven't just sat around during your period of unemployment, but changed people's lives in the local community. You should also focus on any extra-curricular activities and societies you're involved in.

Show you understand what the employer is looking for

One of the biggest things that puts managers off CVs and covering letters is when the candidate clearly has no real idea of what the job description is, and is just applying for the sake of finding work. Why should they consider you when you haven't put in the effort to tailor your application to their needs?

You don't need experience to win over an employer if you successfully demonstrate you have read the criteria and show enthusiasm for the role. Particularly in a sector like hospitality, which requires employees to be polite and cooperative at all times, passion is very important.

Score points on presentation

Another pet hate of employers is receiving CVs and covering letters that are unprofessional in terms of layout. This means not making yours too long, cramming it full of information so that it's messy to look at, or using an inappropriate font.

A neat and stripped back layout is advised, although in some cases experimentation could help you to stand out – as long as it still looks professional. For your CV, use bullet points and place all your contact details at the top, while with your covering letter, stick to three or four short paragraphs summarising your main skills and qualities.

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