When you finish your college education and try to land your first real job, you may run into a number of positions that, despite being entry level, simply require too much experience to get your foot in the door. This obstacle is becoming more common, due partly to the overall workforce being deluged with experienced candidates and partly due to employers having unrealistic expectations for lower-level jobs. Instead of just throwing your hands up at the whole process, there are a few things you can do to make employers consider you even with little to no experience.
The reality of experience
Look on almost any job posting, and you’ll see some kind of experience requirement, which is usually several years or more. It’s unrealistic for employers to expect recent college graduates to have this kind of work experience, and most employers recognize this despite still putting the requirement on the posting. The reality is that many employers will fully consider a candidate who only has schooling, and will often translate years of education into years of experience. If you feel the job requires your exact skill set, as long as the position doesn’t require something like ten years of experience, feel free to apply. Just be ready to address your lack of experience in the interview.
See also: How To Best Prepare for Your Job Interview.
How can you gain experience?
There are a number of ways you can gain the experience you will need to land a job. First, consider volunteer work, which not only provides work experience but will look attractive on a resume. Also, consider an internship in your field. It may not pay very much, or at all, but it is a great way to get a little experience to flesh out your resume. Websites designed to help graduates and students find volunteer and internship opportunities are becoming popular: try Monster’s internship site to find opportunities near you.
Education, education, education
If you can’t get a job right out of school, your best bet may be to go back and further your education. Entry level positions are generally targeted towards people without advanced degrees, so if you go back and get a master’s degree, it may let you skip those types of positions and begin interviewing for professional and managerial positions where the employer will be less likely to look down on your lack of experience since you have an advanced degree to show for your efforts. The recent explosion of online learning can even help you earn an online master degree while working a basic job or interning. Online degrees, especially the advanced degrees, are a great way to get the most out of your education while not having to put your life on hold.
As you make your way out into the professional world, there’s no reason to let a lack of experience hold you back from landing the job of your dreams. Even if companies are asking for experience that you may not think you have, they may be more than willing to consider your schooling as experience if you can nail the interview. Even if you can’t seem to get your foot in the door, with a little extra effort and a little extra schooling you’ll be able to blow away hiring managers in no time.
Related: 7 Reasons Employers Will Hire You.
Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing and family life. He writes on behalf of of online master degree sites and has a keen interest in blogging and social media.
Image credit sskennel