“Must have experience.” It’s the phrase that has left many a graduate job hunter feeling a little deflated when reading role requirements. Being fresh out of university, you may wonder what to do if you have no relevant work experience.
It’s not always likely that you’ll have a lot of past work experience, or even experience in a specific industry.
Degrees are enough hard work as it is! However, with the job market being more and more competitive, employers only want to hire the very best candidates.
So, what should you do if you have a limited work history?
1. Have a path in mind
It’s pretty difficult to know which skills and what sort of experience you need to be demonstrating if you don’t have a plan.
The first thing you need to do is choose the direction you want to head in.
If you apply for every kind of job out there, you may get a job but it’s likely you won’t enjoy it. It’s about getting the job that suits your skills and personality.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do long term, not everyone does! However, when applying for your first full-time job, make sure that you know what sort of roles you plan to apply for.
Do your research to find out which roles you think you will be good at and enjoy.
2. Use your free time wisely
If you are really struggling to find a job due to a lack of experience, it might be time to take control.
What are you doing with your free time? Are you making the most of it?
It may be worth applying for a part time/weekend/evening job to strengthen up your CV. Ideally, a role that will allow you to demonstrate that you have any of the following strengths:
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Teamworking abilities
- The ability to manage your own workload and/or time
- Organisation skills
Part-time work may not be ideal, but it can be a brilliant stepping stone for anyone starting out on their career. Alternatively, you may wish to consider completing voluntary work experience within your desired field of work.
This will help you to gain valuable industry experience, make some contacts and get your foot in the door.
3. Don’t forget your hobbies!
Your hobbies and interests can also show potential employers that you have the above skills and more. Don’t underestimate them when you’re crafting your CV.
You can include more about what’s involved in any team activities or clubs you have been a part of or anything else you may do in your spare time, e.g. blogging.
If you haven’t got anything to include as part of the interests section on your CV, then why not give something new a go!
4. Volunteer work
Getting stuck into some voluntary charity work can really boost your employability. Not only will you have evidence of your transferrable skills to show to potential employers, but you may learn a thing or two.
A lot of employers value this sort of work in job applicants, as it takes a motivated, passionate and good-natured individual to take part volunteer work.
You see, the graduate job dream isn’t over if you don’t have any work experience. You just need to use your time productively so you can build up your professional skills and commercial awareness. Luckily, there are lots of different ways to do it, sometimes you just need to get creative!
Paving a career path takes time and effort, if you give it your all, you’re sure to succeed.