JOB SEARCH / DEC. 10, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Get a Job When you Don't Have Much Experience

“You can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job”. If you are a recent graduate you are most probably familiar with this paradoxical phenomenon that seems to be so popular today. As far as searching for a job is concerned, you may find it difficult to find one without having the desirable work experience to start with.

However, it is important to understand that this challenge is going to be present throughout your career, whether you are a newcomer or searching for a senior managerial position. Obviously, work experience is essential to getting any job, so you want to make it your top priority to develop your skills and get some real-world knowledge within the industry you are interested in.

Don’t worry if you don’t have enough experience as there are a number of ways you can make yourself attractive to employers. Check out the following tips to help you get a job even when you don’t have much experience:

Volunteering in your chosen industry

The most effective way to get work experience is through volunteering. This is an excellent way to show employers you are an active and self-motivated individual. Even though you don’t get paid for it, it can still count as valuable work experience to the eyes of employers. They will definitely appreciate the fact you have made an effort to develop your knowledge, especially if chose to volunteer for an opportunity within your selected industry.

Having the right attitude

Without much experience to showcase, potential value takes the lead. This means, that you need to prove employers you have the right attitude and set of skills to excel in the position. You can demonstrate this through your enthusiasm and knowledge for the role, work ethic, endless curiosity, and your willingness to learn and develop. This way you will convince employers you have the right mindset and approach to achieve success.

Writing your CV

Your CV is essentially the first contact with a prospective employer so you need to demonstrate you are the right candidate for the position. But how are you going to do that without much experience?

Include anything that seems to be relevant to the position and focus on your job-specific skills. Also, give emphasis to different aspects of your resume so that you highlight your key strengths. When your work experience is limited consider the following:

  • Transferable/Special Skills: skills that can be applied to a range of positions regardless of the type of industry e.g. language, computer skills.
  • Past Responsibilities: refer to past responsibilities/experiences that demonstrate teamwork, leadership and initiative that are not necessarily related to work.   
  • References: Include contacts you have a great relationship with and have something positive to say about you e.g. your tutor or adviser.
  • Achievements/Awards: refer to any awards that makes you stand out and your good degree results. Refer to university subjects relevant to the job as it allows employers to see you have knowledge in some important areas, even though you haven’t yet had the opportunity to work in the industry.
  • Work/Student Placement:  if you have been on a student placement, make sure that you mention this on your CV.
  • Seminars/Events: refer to any career fairs and industry networking events that relate to the position you are applying for. This is a great way to show employers you have been active since graduation and networking your way into the job market.

Any previous work experience that is not necessarily related to the job is vital. In most cases, you will find that you have acquired work experience one way or another, which you didn’t realise you had. Go back and think of what you have done in the past as every detail can make a big difference. It could be a part-time college job or even a seasonal job.

So, it looks like the only way to overcome the aforementioned paradox is to find ways to access current relevant opportunities and encourage employers to realise your potential. In the end, good attitude, curiosity and networking will get you right where you want to be!

Image Source: theknowledgeplymouth

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