15 December 2022
How To Overcome Lack of Experience In Job Interviews
In 2022, the UK government revealed Graduate employment rate saw a slight increase of 0.4% since 2020 up to 86.7%.
However, our research still shows that 64% of UK respondents have been rejected from their first job application because of their lack of experience – an issue which many graduates continue to face when it comes to applying for their first job.
The hardest industries to break into without experience
When asked which industries our respondents were rejected from because of their lack of experience, accountancy/banking/finance and retail both came out on top at 16%.
One in ten also said they were rejected from IT and engineering/manufacturing jobs due to a lack of experience. Want to see where your industry fits in all this?
Find the percentage of rejections by industry in the table below.
|Industry||% of rejections|
|Accountancy, banking and finance||16%|
|Engineering and manufacturing||10%|
|Business, consulting and management||9%|
|Public services and administration||8%|
|Charity and voluntary work||5%|
|Teacher training and education||5%|
|Leisure, sport and tourism||4%|
|Transport and logistics||4%|
|Creative arts and design||4%|
|Property and construction||4%|
|Energy and utilities||3%|
|Marketing, advertising and PR||3%|
|Recruitment and HR||2%|
|Environment and agriculture||2%|
|Law enforcement and security||2%|
|Science and pharmaceuticals||0.9%|
Which region rejects first-time applicants the most due to ‘lack of experience’?
Is there a city where first time applicants have a better chance of avoiding rejection? Apparently so!
Inexperienced graduates in Leeds are most likely to not see their application progress, with three quarters saying they’ve been rejected from jobs for this reason.
Belfast appears to be the most likely city to get a job without experience, as rejections sit 22 percentage points below the national average [42% vs. 64% national average]. Grand!
|City||Amount rejected from first job due to ‘lack of experience’|
How to stop lack of experience interfering with your job applications
We know it can sometimes seem like an impossible situation for graduates to break into their chosen career sector.
However, rejection is often due to applicants not using the process to really show off the skills that they do already attain. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to shout about them from the rooftops.
Here are our top tips to reduce your chances of rejection due to a lack of experience:
Target entry-level positions
Firstly, try and be realistic, don’t target positions you know are going to be too competitive for the experience you lack. Instead, focus on applying for entry-level positions that put less weight on experience and more importance on what you can bring to the table.
Champion the skills acquired from university
Think about the topics you’ve studied in your course. What experience have you gained from assessments: your theoretical knowledge or simulated ideas? Make a song and dance about your learnings and demonstrate what each has taught you that can be applied to the industry you’re applying to.
Show off your extra curricular efforts
Whilst you may not have direct experience, any volunteering, internships, or part-time jobs you’ve participated in will have built transferable skills that are crucial to your career success. It could be waitressing at your local pub, doing the paper round or babysitting. Make sure you stick it in!
Practice your interview techniques
Finally, spend time perfecting your interviewing skills. The more you practice, the more confidence you will show in the aspects of the job description you do have and will put less emphasis on your lack of experience. This is your time to shine.
Highlight all of your skills with your CV
You can place emphasis on the skills you do acquire well before the interview process. This is where your student CV takes centre stage. Use this opportunity to set the scene for what else you have to offer beyond direct experience when applying for your first job. You’ve got this!