Every job posting seems to end the same way. “Experience necessary.” “Experience preferred.” Some of them even say, “5+ years experience.” Many recent graduates are facing the same conundrum: How do you get experience if you have never had a job? How do you get a job with no experience?
There are two ways to work around this dilemma. The first is to focus on things you have done and show how they translate into work experience. The second is to do more things to create more work experience.
You do have some experience
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last several years, you have done things that can be called experience. Any clubs, organizations, or activities you have participated in can be considered experience. Try to highlight any of the accomplishments these types of groups have had, even if you did them as a team. Fundraising, recruiting new members, presenting ideas to other people all can be considered work experience. Even babysitting family members, helping neighbors, or volunteering in groups can be considered experience. You simply need to tailor these experiences to meet the needs of the job posting you are applying for.
Get an Informational Interview
Ask employers for informational interviews. Many working professionals are willing to share their experiences and help young people get started in the field. They can give you direction on how to gain the necessary experience. Be sure to attend any job fairs and take advantage of career centers that your county maintains. Join professional organizations and network with as many people in your area of interest as possible. You never know who you might impress or who may provide that first job opportunity.
Ask to Work for Free
Consider joining the Peace Corp, looking for internships, or study abroad opportunities. These can be life-changing experiences that open the doors to many job opportunities. While you are building a resume, you will also be making a contribution to the world and learning about yourself and your abilities in ways that you could never do from the comfort of your home. Although these are usually considered volunteer positions, you may be given room and board and a monthly expense allowance. You will gain experience and skills in ways that are not possible at home and make connections with people that can last a lifetime.
Gaining experience and building a resume is certainly a challenge for most people just starting out in the workforce. With some creativity and perseverance, it can be done.