One of the most difficult aspects of finding a job immediately out of college is approaching a competitive job market with little to no actual work experience. With so many qualified individuals on the job market today, it can be a real struggle to get your foot in the door. Experience is everything. Or at least that is what many employers would have you believe. If you’ve been job searching at some point in your life, you’ve probably heard it before—”we’re looking for someone with more experience” or “five years of experience minimum”. This is a real challenge for new graduates. You’re right out of college and ready to work, but have very few of the actual tools to land a job. The job market is a frustrating and tricky place, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you are continually running into the “no experience” issue when you apply or interview for positions, there are several things you can do to help your odds. Try these three resume tweaks to help display solid work experience on any young resume.
Volunteering can be one of the best ways to gain direct experience in the area of work you are interested in entering. If you are having trouble finding work or can only find a part time position, try taking on some volunteering opportunities. Find areas that relate to the professional field you are interested entering and look for volunteering options in those areas. While this doesn’t actually count as “work experience”, it can add a lot to an individual’s resume. Try to find volunteer positions that would directly relate to the area of business you are interested in. While this can be tricky, they are surely out there. Not only can this be a wonderful addition to your resume, it’s also a great way to make professional connections. Networking is key for job searching today. Volunteer and get to know your peers and supervisors. They may be just the person you need to know to get your foot in the door in the right office or business. Even though it’s not paid, volunteering demonstrates that you are passionate about your field of interest and you want to stay busy even in your unemployment—all positive things to a potential employer.
Take an Internship
Just as a volunteering opportunity can look good on a resume, so too can an internship. Of course, a paid internship would be the ideal situation for any job hopeful, unpaid internships are also greatly worthwhile. An internship that is related to the area of work that you are interested in entering provides valuable experience for your resume and for future employers. An internship for many is as good as “real” work experience. Be sure that you use the opportunity to network and get to know the business. Many people enter internships simply so they have something to put on their resumes. Get to know the people you are working with. Try to make some business connections that might be able to make the difference in your job search. At times, just knowing the right name during a job interview can make all the difference. It is important that you make the most of every opportunity that is presented to you.
While this may sound like a back step to some, adding some education to your resume can be a good step to take if your job search has fallen flat. However, rather than heading back to school and taking on more student debt, consider other educational opportunities. Of course, this all depends on the area of industry that you are interested in entering, but there are typically some certifications or specific classes that can really supplement your resume in a positive way. Look into taking accelerated programs for certifications that will look good to a potential employer. If there are no certificates that you need, look into online or open courseware classes that you can take to supplement your resume. Many big name universities throughout the US offer online open courseware options for any individual with internet access. You can take specific classes from MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and many others that can look really good on a resume and add to your body of knowledge on a subject. Explore you educational options. This doesn’t meant that you have run back to school for a masters or a new bachelor’s degree. Think smaller. Even just one specific class can be a huge attribute to your resume.
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.