How To Get Experience, When You Don’t Have Any Experience
It’s the classic catch-22 of the career world: You can’t get hired for a job unless you have experience. But if you’ve never had a job, you don’t have any experience. If only employers would hire you on a whim and let you prove yourself on the job!
Fortunately, there are many different ways to earn experience for a job. Today more than ever, experience can take several different forms. Yes, experience can take the shape of a traditional wage job, but managers love to see other types of opportunities as well. When you think outside of the box, it is easy to fill your resume with skills you have that you could bring into the workplace.
Here are a few examples of how to get experience, when you don’t have any experience:
Volunteer – One of the best ways to get experience is to volunteer your time. Organizations and businesses of all kinds are always looking for generous people to help out, since there is a lot to get done and very few people to help. Contact an organization that you are interested in working with and ask if they need any volunteers. Volunteer opportunities typically start with manual labor and cleaning, but this gets your foot in the door and networking with the right kinds of people.
Internships – Internships are another great way to gain experience in college. Every college student should have at least one internship in a field related to what they want to go into. An internship, whether paid or unpaid, is a wonderful way to learn more about an industry and figure out if it is something you really do want as a career. It also looks great on your resume.
Start a website – Getting a website up and running is easy and inexpensive. You can go to a host like GoDaddy or BlueHost and have your very own website started today for less than $100. A website is a great place to showcase whatever it is you are known for. It is a way of promoting your business and services online. If you are in any sort of creative field, you can put a portfolio on your website of your photography, your writing, your designs, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Write books or articles – If you have expertise in some area, write about it. Whether your experience is in the sciences, business, the humanities or some other field, it is great to share your knowledge with millions of other people. There are many blogs and websites online you can write articles for. Alternatively, you can publish a book as an e-book or as a physical copy.
Social media – Using your social media channels to promote your knowledge is a great way to showcase your experience. For example, you could use your YouTube channel to create videos for people on how to do something. You could use your Twitter handle to promote blog posts on your website as well as posts from others. If you have thousands of followers, be sure to mention it in a cover letter!
Give a talk – There are lots of places you can give talks about your area of expertise. Many cities have regular events where people come to hear industry talks. Anybody can give a talk. If there is something about your career field you’d like to talk about with others, this is a great way to promote yourself as an expert in your field and also get over your fear of public speaking.
Take online classes – In today’s modern world, you can learn anything you want online. Websites like Khan Academy and Coursera allow you to study the topics you want, at your own pace. Universities like Harvard and MIT offer their courses online for free, so anybody in the world can have an Ivy League education. You can impress interviewers with an endless list of skills and certifications that you picked up via online learning.
Freelance – You don’t need to apply for a job; you can start your own business. There are plenty of people all over the world who want to hire independent contractors. Almost any kind of job can be done as an independent contractor, whether you are an artist or working in technology.
Invent something – You don’t need to wait until you have a career in an industry to invent something. Many people got started creating things in their dorm rooms or their garages. Think of something that would help people in your career field and set out to make it happen.
It used to be the case that the only way to get experience was to seek it from your employer. A manager held all of the cards, and if they didn’t want to hire you, then you were stuck without any skills or experience in your field. But those times have completely changed. We no longer have to go to an employer and seek permission to gain experience in a field. There are a million ways we can gain insight into an industry, as long as you are willing to think outside of the box.