How to get on the career ladder with no industry experience

Kick starting your career and jumping on the ladder can be an exciting time. You’ve finished your time in education and you’re ready to make your mark on the working world. Not to mention the prospect of earning your own money. But where do you begin? And what do you do if you have no industry experience?

Below, we’ll talk you through some helpful advice on how you can get on the career ladder with no industry experience.

Show your passion

Some employers are more than willing to give new workers a chance, regardless of whether you have relevant experience or not. If you show that you have a great attitude and a passion for your chosen line of work, you’ll easily make a great impression and prove that you’re worth investing in. This should come across in your CV, cover letter, online profiles and in your mannerisms when you speak with or meet potential employers.

Tailor your CV

In order to showcase your passion and abilities, you’ll need to have a winning CV up your sleeve. If you are lacking in relevant industry experience, your CV should focus on your key transferable skills. For example, most companies want employees that are great communicators, are highly organised and that can use their initiative. Therefore, focus on explaining how you’re proficient in these key areas as well as any others that they’ve outlined in the job description.

Build up, or tap into, your network

Once you’ve finalised your CV, or perhaps before you even start it, consider the line of work you’re hoping to get into and whether you have any contacts that could help you out. After all, it’s not always what you know, but who you know too. Having a strong network ensures that you’re quickly able to identify opportunities to gain relevant work experience.

For example, does one of your mum’s friends work in the industry you’d like to get into? Could your cousin get you work experience in their office? Consider what’s going to help you out and be proactive. It might seem nerve-wracking but it will look great on your CV and will be a good talking point during interviews.

Do an internship or gain work experience

Gaining work experience or taking part in an internship can help to bulk out the experience section of your CV. Especially if it’s seriously lacking. Keep an eye out for relevant opportunities and look to find short gigs for yourself. This could be as simple as emailing local companies and asking if you can shadow a member of the team for a few days.

The more relevant the experience, the better. For example, if you’re looking to work in communications or PR, why not write guest articles for free on a certain blog, or even set-up your own one. If you want to become a teaching assistant, gain experience in child mining or supporting young people attending youth clubs.


As well as work experience, volunteering can help you to get on the career ladder. Whether that’s in a charity shop dealing with transactions and customers, or helping out with an after-school sports club, employers will recognise your commitment to building upon your skillset.

Many charities and other organisations are regularly looking for volunteers to support them on a day-to-day basis and in most cases, you can fit this around your existing schedule. It may even be one night a week, but it all helps towards building upon your experience.

Attend a careers fair

Careers fairs offer a great opportunity for you to meet and talk to, potential employers. There are plenty of events across the country so have a look to see what’s happening near you. You can also make a list of the employers that will be exhibiting and note down the ones that you’d like to talk to. Don’t forget to dress smart and take along a copy of your CV – you never know what opportunities may arise!

Final thoughts

There are plenty of ways to get on the career ladder with no experience, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re worried that you don’t have what it takes. Take our advice on board and you’ll soon be able to build upon your skillset and find a suitable job in no time.

About the Author

CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent job board and owns a range of other career sites, including Education Jobs. For more expert advice on careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice and Recruitment Insight pages.