Raise your hands if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by the ‘2+ years of experience needed’ part of a job application. Even when the job is in the entry level section.
If you’re just out of uni or straight from school, the most intimidating aspect of finding a ‘proper’ job is coming up with that relevant experience—because you literally don’t have any. The devil on your shoulder is telling you to give up on that career life and pouring McFlurry’s at Maccas is not sounding like such a bad idea (free food tho, yaas). Rather than ending up crying in your room, here are some of the best ways to land that experience and kick start your career.
You have no experience and hell, at this point, there’s little you can do to change that. Take this lack of skill and embrace it with open arms. When you apply for a job, acknowledge that you’re running a little low on the requirement but emphasise that you are motivated to learn and grow. This enthusiasm alone will make employers more likely to take a second look. Illustrating a high level of dedication and commitment is exactly what they’re looking for so show off that passion.
We’ve already established that experience isn’t at the top of your resumé, but you’ve got a fair bit of life experience. Maybe you’ve been travelling or you’ve had other weekend jobs in hospo. Anything that show’s you’ve got a bit of maturity and confidence about you will help. Transferable skills and all that jazz. If you’ve worked at a bar, your customer service skills are bound to be impeccable (dealing with customers deserves a medal alone), so include that in your application.
Internships and unpaid work are now your best friend. Unfortunately, you might have to work 2 jobs on top to keep up with rent, but this is the best way to gain experience in your relevant field. Make sure you’re not just making coffee all day and actually use the time to learn as much as you can. The more you can boast about and show these employers evidence of your experience, the better. It may seem totally counterproductive, but you can also make great contacts whilst doing an internship. It may even lead to said job!
Don’t be afraid to go for the jobs that require lots of experience, or ones that are above your level. What have you got to lose, really? You might just find the person reading your killer resume (read this article for some tips) happens to like the fact you went on a gap year to South America, or your 5 year commitment to your teen café job. Risk it for the biscuit.
Don’t put yourself down or think less of yourself. Talk up everything you have done, because actually, it does all matter. However little your experience may be, you have those valuable skills that an employer, somewhere, will want. So put on your best smile and get applying!