There is a very old saying that “you need a job to get experience, but you need experience to get a job.” The gist of those words is that it’s difficult to land your first job as employers are looking for relevant experience in those they hire, but new graduates often have no experience after graduation except for maybe an internship. FYI – internships are a topic we’ll tackle some other time.
It’s a conundrum that makes a new graduate’s initial journey into the career world frustrating, to say the least. If you were lucky enough to land an internship that provided REAL experience that was truly relevant to the jobs you seek after graduation, you’ll certainly have an easier time competing for jobs after graduation. Then, there are grads like me. Some of us find relevant jobs as undergraduates, jobs that we work full or part time, often getting paid well (often 20-50% above minimum wage). Doing well in your college courses can open doors – seek guidance from your undergraduate advisors to research such options.
So, for those who did not get an internship or relevant experience as undergrads (or high school students), how do you get experience if no one will hire you right after graduating?
Great question! Here are some options that have worked well for my clients and students alike.
Find ways to incorporate experience (relevant to your degree and chosen career path into your current “non-career-related” job. For example, as a business/marketing major or graduate working at a restaurant as a cook, speak with the owner or supervisor and ask if you can provide assistance in generating social media marketing? In doing so, your position now becomes a cook/advertising assistant (you can work out an appropriate job title with your boss. I imagine most restaurant owners will not have the funds to pay someone to do advertising beyond what is already being done. If that’s the case, do it for free! The experience itself usually pays off in little…