The Growth Mindset that helps fresh graduates get jobs without work experience.

The Growth Mindset that helps fresh graduates get jobs without work experience.

Written by Thanh Quach @thanhquach

February 14, 2022

(5 minutes read)

Most fresh graduates are struggling to get their 1st job after school because of “I don’t have work experience”. It’s true that some positions require work experience. However, the secret is that work experience is a “nice to have” for most entry-level roles although the job description says that you need 1 – 2 years experience. If this is the case, why do fresh graduates get rejected most of the time?

After successfully helping 200+ fresh graduates to land their 1st job, I can assure you that, instead of work experience, if you can show employers that you have the right set of characters which I call the “growth mindset”, your chance of being hired will increase dramatically. Why is that? Let’s have a closer look at the growth mindset.

What is the growth mindset and why do you need one?

The growth mindset is a set of 4 characters that employers are looking for in a candidate. As a fresh graduate without work experience, how do employers assess your profile? The answer is your mindset which will show employers how you think and why you do things in a specific way. Based on that, employers will assess about your value and potential, then making hiring decision.

Mindset is always overlooked by job seekers who usually focus on keywords, resume template, sample answers,  ATS software…etc. These are all important aspects, however, your mindset will determine what you put on your resume and how you answer interview questions. Your mindset is like the root of a tree while other details are like leaves and branches. Let’s explore the growth mindset characters.

#1 - Being result-oriented

This character shows employers that you really know what you need to focus on in doing your job. As a cashier, your result can be as simple as processing correctly 100+ orders per day. If you build a mobile app in school project, the result will be how many users you have, what kind of benefits your users get from using your app. 

A common mistake is you think that “It’s just a part-time job at Tim Hortons, there is not much to talk about.”, but result doesn’t need to be huge or fancy. Result tells employers that you have certain kind of achievements, and you know how to get the job done properly, which will give them more confidence in hiring you into the new role. If you think about it, when employers pay you money, they expect you to get the job done. The strongest evidence you can give them is you already got results in the past. Small result is better than no result at all.

#2 - Appreciating your part-time jobs

The way you think and talk about your part-time jobs will tell employers if you appreciate the job you are currently having. Because if there is no sign of appreciation, it means you don’t take the job seriously. And you can’t do the job well if you don’t take it seriously. It’s not about the size of the job, it is all about the attitude toward what you are doing.

 You might think “It is just a part time job, I make coffee for customers, nothing special.” And this attitude will translate into your resume and your answer during the interview. Recruiters can feel the low energy, no-appreciation and sometimes a bit of negativity. The way you do part-time jobs will be exactly how you’ll do full-time jobs. 

Your attitude towards your job surely influences positively or negatively the hiring decision, depending on how you describe it.

You should show some positive energy and optimism by describing how you have small conversations to make the customer happy and how you take good care of them so that they leave the store with a smile on their face.

What if you get bored or even don’t like your part time jobs? We got it! But when it comes to presenting yourself to the employers, we strongly recommend you focus on the positive side of the job, you should show pride and appreciation. I mean who doesn’t love positive energy and professionalism?

#3 - Think for the employer

Most of the time, when writing resume or answering interview questions, you list all the things you did, without really asking: 

“Does this really help the employer or the job I apply for?” 

For example, as a crew member at Tim Hortons, you usually focus on telling employers how you make coffee and serve customers (as this is what you do 90% of time at work). But if you are looking for an accounting job, customer service is not the most helpful thing you can do for the future employer. Instead, you should focus on telling them how you deal with the cash, maybe counting them and reconciling the difference at the end of day because these tasks are similar to the accounting job that they need. 

If you are describing a mobile app you built, you should focus on the aspects that relate to the employer’s business. Like how you identify users’ needs and satisfy them because regardless of the type of industries, every business needs to know its customers’ need. A friendly reminder is the employer will be more interested if you can relate what you did to their businesses, it means you really care about helping them solve the problem they are facing.

Your mobile app or part-time job doesn’t have to be fancy or a huge success. You just need to present relevant skills in relative to their business, instead of listing all activities in insolation. 

#4 - Being curious

Employers are not worried about your lack of work experience. They are more concerned about your learning ability “Can I train this candidate to do the job?”. 

A huge indicator of a person with great learning ability is “curious”. Asking questions about the job, the team throughout the interview is a great indicator that you truly care about the job and you really want to learn. Read that again, it is “throughout” the interview, not at the end (which most of us do). 

The most common mistake fresh graduates make is to focus 100% their attention on answering the interview questions and wait until the end to ask a few general questions. 

Interview is supposed to be a 2-way conversation in which you need to show your care and interest in a job. It is common sense that when you care about something, you will ask questions about it. What is the most important skill to succeed in this role? What is the employer’s expectation about the candidate? Is there something you don’t understand on the job description?…etc This the reason why we have interviews, to learn more about each other. It’s dangerous to assume you know all the answers to those questions. You can’t learn if you don’t ask.   

Real-life Example

This video will show you a common mistake that people make in interview by not understanding the growth mindset concept. We will show you how you can apply the growth mindset to answer the question “Why do you want to work for us?” in an interview.

Key Takeaways

Your growth mindset can help differentiate you from the crowd as it shows employers your value and potential in unique way. In a competitive job market for fresh graduates, education and work experience are not a game changer. It’s the growth mindset that is a make-or-break.

In summary, the growth mindset has 4 characters:

  1. Being result-oriented
  2. Appreciating your part-time jobs, school projects and volunteering activities
  3. Think for the employers
  4. Being curious

Next Step

You should integrate the growth mindset into your resume and interview answers to differentiate yourself from the pack. I assure that your effort will be paid off handsomely, just like our 200+ fresh graduates already experienced.

If you want to save time and need a hand on integrating the growth mindset into your profile, please book a free 1:1 consultation call with our career coach.  

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