STUDENT LIFE / JAN. 27, 2014
version 7, draft 7

How to Get Job Experience Without a Job

no expereince?

Nothing bugs recent graduates more than the ever-present minimum requirement of job experience in all job vacancy ads. Where do the employers expect you to get the job experience if no one is hiring fresh graduates with no job experience? One would be forgiven for getting disillusioned with the whole job searching exercise for this reason alone - but before you throw in the towel, I have good news for you - you can get job experience without a job!

The first mistake that recent graduates do is to have excessively high expectations. For instance, most graduates are more money oriented than career growth oriented. The truth is no employer wants an employee who is in it just for the money. Money is a great extrinsic motivator, but beefing up your career profile could be the best starting point to ultimately achieve the good salary you always envied.

So how does one get job experience without a job? Here are a few simple ways you can get the job experience without a job:

#1. Internship Experience

Internship experience is just as good as job experience. After my graduation from university a couple of years ago, I worked as an intern in the largest health research organization in my country- the equivalent of CDC in America. I got a small stipend that was barely enough to cover my expenses, but I was not there for the money. Did it pay off? Yes it did! As fate would have it, I came across a job ad that required relevant job experience. Long story short, I got the job. Don’t shy away from working as an intern- whether paid or unpaid.

#2. Volunteer Experience

When most people read the word volunteer, the thing that comes to their mind is humanitarian organizations. This is a grossly wrong connotation especially since almost every company today accepts volunteers. Rarely will the HR manager turn down your offer to work as a volunteer and even if you get turned down in one company, you won’t be looking too long before you get another organisation that will grab hold of you before you even finish saying the word volunteer.

#3. Entrepreneurship Experience

A startup business is another great way of getting some much needed job experience. One or two years down the line; your business might be so successful that you forget all about employment. However, if your business is doing really well and you still want to get employed, you could sell your company or hire a manager to run it for you. The kind of experience you can get as an entrepreneur is completely different to the kind of experience you will get anywhere else.

#4. Freelance Work Experience

Millions of people around the globe are thriving on freelance work. Some experts believe that freelance work is the next big cash cow as far as earning is concerned. Take America for instance; freelance workers from the US in the year 2005 were estimated to be around 10.3 million. Today, the number has grown to a staggering 42 million. There are lots of great freelance work websites and all you need is a simple Google search. Before starting on your freelance work, you should first establish what your skill set is. For instance if you are a graphic designer, you may want to concentrate on graphic design gigs. This will help you polish your skills as well as get relevant experience for career advancement purposes.

#5 Show the Interviewer Your Strengths

Last but not least, take advantage of the job interview to sell yourself and showcase your key strengths and how these relate to the company’s goals and needs. To succeed doing this, you need to research the company and the role you are competing for so as to position yourself accordingly. If the interviewer makes a point of lack of experience, try to redirect and spin the conversation back to the skills that make you suitable for the position.   

There you have it! 5 ingenious ways of getting job experience without necessarily being employed. Show dedication to the industry you are seeking employment and make the most of every opportunity that will take your skills and work experience to the next level. Consider also going a step further and seek for placement opportunities abroad, participating in international workshops, bootcamps and other extracurricular activities to prove that you are passionately striving to broaden your horizons further.

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