“You cannot get the job without prior experience, and you can’t get experience without nailing a job”. If you are fresh out of school, you’ll probably be familiar with this paradoxical phenomenon that seems to be the order of the day. 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 imperative to know that this challenge is not going anywhere. It will be present throughout your career; whether you are a newcomer or and oldie searching for a senior managerial position, job experience will always be a prerequisite to getting a job. Whit that in mind, you’ll want to make it your top priority to develop your skills and get some real-world knowledge within the industry you are interested in.
And if you don’t have prior experience, don’t worry, as there are a number of ways you can make yourself attractive to employers.
Check out the following tips put together to help you get a job even when you don’t have much experience:
Volunteer in your desired industry
One of the most effective ways to get work experience is through volunteering. This is a brilliant way to show employers how active and self-motivated you are. Even though you won’t get paid for it, it can still count as valuable work experience to the eyes of employers. They will appreciate the fact you have made a sacrifice to develop your knowledge, especially if chose to volunteer for an opportunity within your selected industry.
Developing the right attitude
When you don’t have a lot of experience to showcase, potential value takes the lead. This simply means you need to prove to your employers that 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.
Putting together an amazing CV
Never forget that your CV is essentially the first contact with a prospective employer, thus, you need to clearly and intelligently show that 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 CV 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.
• Industrial Training (IT): if you have been on IT, 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 not 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.
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!