“How do I get experience when employers are only looking for candidates with experience?” is an all too common complaint we hear from frustrated candidates. And you’re right, this is exasperating and while we know this post won’t apply to everyone’s particular situation, we hope that these tips will be helpful to some of you and for everyone else we hope you’ll at least feel validated that you’re not alone.
Here are some tips to help push past this problem:
- Find an Internship. Yes, we know that when you think of an internship you think of kids in college, but they’re not just for college students any more. They even made a whole movie about that (Why? I don’t know.) Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were interns at Google competing with college kids for a few coveted job slots. But this new trend—internships for mature workers are typically targeted towards potential employees that have been out of the workplace for at least two years. Maybe they took time off to raise their kids, went back to school, or were laid off. Regardless, these internships are great resume builders, and who knows a full time job might await you at the end of the program.
- Become a Volunteer. Volunteering your time to fill in gaps on your resume, whether it’s for time that you were between jobs or to gain experience you didn’t get through a paying position—either way it is certainly experience you should highlight on your resume.
- Take a Course. If you feel as though you’re lacking experience that you need to in order to land the kind of job you’re seeking, consider taking a course. You can highlight this on your resume by adding a “Relevant Skills” or “Relevant Courses” section on your resume so recruiters can quickly validate that you’d be a good fit.
- Educate yourself. Today, there is so much free information available online. To be clear we’re not saying that this kind of knowledge should replace formal training, but resources like Khan Academy, Udacity, and Coursera can certainly supplement your experiences and knowledge. Plus, these kinds of courses often offer certifications and that’s a nice thing to highlight on your resume.
We hope that these tips are helpful. And yes we know it’s easier said than done. We get that it’s not always easy to volunteer your time or accept a low paying or no paying internship, but if you think of these tactics as investments—an internship or volunteer position could lead to a full time job that leads to a fulfilling career.
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