The Experience Conundrum
Here you are a fresh graduate, ready to welcome the working world with open arms, hot on the job search, but wait …. Error 404: job not found. Entry level positions requiring a year of experience?! Resist the urge to panic, we’ve got you sorted. If you find yourself in this position, there are a few things you can do.
- Emphasize your Soft Skills
In an entry level position, there are a few characteristics that employers like to see. These include hard working, willingness to learn, enthusiasm, helpfulness, ability to work well with others, adaptability, determination and initiative. Try to emphasize these kinds of skill by giving examples of how you have demonstrated them. Job specs tend to have desired personality traits or soft skills and it would be beneficial to use these as a guideline.
- Demonstrate Technical Abilities
If you are a fresh graduate, and under the age of 25, it is safe to assume that you are pretty tech savvy. Microsoft office, Photoshop and social media experience goes a long way. To add to these skills, try to learn some basic coding languages such as HTML. In the digital world, basic coding is slowing becoming a requirement in every field and learning these skills shows determination to grow. There are basic coding courses available for free online via sites such as Codecademy and Udemy.
Not only does this look great on your CV but it gives you some true experience of working with others and contributing to a common goal. Of course, unpaid work is not an option for everyone as some of us have student debt and rent and … and … and to pay for. In this case, if you haven’t already, it would be beneficial to take a waitering/waitressing job or an entry level job not in your field of study just to get the ball rolling on work experience and getting those payments in. Customer service and dealing with management is all a part of the wider working world and will still be considered work experience. While you are slaving away waiting tables, follow this next step.
- Start a Blog / Portfolio of Work
If you are a writer – start a relevant blog (not one about your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend), if you are a designer – start your portfolio, if you are a developer (you won’t struggle to find a job – but) build a website, if you are a marketer, create a campaign. Get involved in your field, offer to do freelance work for friends or family for free to give employers something to evaluate.
- Social Media Marketing
Social media management is a skill. Reach out to small businesses in your area or family friends businesses who don’t have a large social media presence and offer to run it for them. Develop a content plan and posting calendar that you could show as evidence of your work and make use of free services such as Buffer to schedule posts.
Paid or unpaid internships are a great opportunity to not only gain work experience but to learn industry relevant skills, network and can possibly result in a job offer. Many highly reputable companies offer internship programs and this is a great opportunity to get a foot in the door of an industry leader.
Lastly, do not worry. We all go through this struggle and it is possible to overcome. Believe in your abilities and never stop learning.
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