Dear Jen,

I am a hard working, driven creative with less than 2 years of accumulative work experience on my resume. I feel when applying for work on job boards, Indeed, CareerBuilder etc., that I am at a disadvantage to other candidates who have more experience.  What is something I can do to gain more recognition and improve my chances of being selected for a phone call or interview with a company who sees a resume lacking work experience?

Thank you! 

Inexperienced Creative

Dear Inexperienced Creative,

You pose a great question that so many new graduates and job seekers early in their career ask. It can be hard to know where to go or how to get started. The fact that you are asking the question shows your genuine interest and motivation to do what it takes. That is a huge plus right there!

There are two things that immediately come to the top of my list of things you can do to gain more recognition and improve your chances of being selected for a phone call or interview when your resume is lacking experience:

  • First, when applying to creative focused roles that require graphic design, copywriting or strategy experience, you need a portfolio site. And the link should be included on your resume and LinkedIn. There are plenty of websites that offer templates for portfolios such as WordPress, Squarespace, WIX and others. Include pieces of work that you are most proud of and provide the goals/objectives/details of the project and what you contributed to the project. Don’t forget to share results if you have them. If companies won’t hire you based on your experience they may hire based on your potential.
  • Secondly, be proactive to gain more experience. Take on work via Craig’s List and other help wanted postings. This is a great way to get more experience, paid or pro bono.  Another option is driving your own projects.  Redesign your website or a friend’s. Improve the design or copy of an email newsletter or advertisement in a way you think would get better results. Explain a different implementation strategy for a particular marketing campaign. Share it on your portfolio site to show your creative abilities as well as your thought process.

The combination of these things will help you get a leg up on the competition while showing employers you will do whatever it takes to get the job done. They will be able to see your drive and desire to learn and grow.

Good luck!

P.S. Don’t forget the importance of networking and a well-written resume and LinkedIn profile!