After graduation, you may feel as though the world is at your fingertips. It’s an intense transitional period and an incredibly exciting, albeit frustrating time. We often hear that you go to college to get a job, so when you’ve completed college, full-time employment feels like the next natural step. However, finding a full-time job in your desired field with little to no outside work experience can be tough. Especially one that pays well enough for you to have any semblance of a life. Click on something titled entry-level and 9 times out of 10, your met with “at least two years of experience.” It leads to the frequently asked question, “how can I gain experience if I always have to have experience?” Here are some tips to help you wade through it all.
1. Go for it. The job market is hot right now and you have the opportunity to get the job, even if you might not meet the exact qualifications on paper. Think of your experience in college and how it could translate to the job at hand. Maybe you do have some experience after all. If you don’t, there is still no harm in trying. You studied in school for this, you have done research and projects, written papers and done presentations, you have the set of knowledge needed and the employer knows this. You might not get paid as much, but hey, there’s always room for a promotion.
2. Like I previously suggested, look at what you did in college and market that in an employable way. Look at the clubs you were in, the classes you took, the side jobs and internships you worked, etc. You gained skills from those things. You worked at a coffee house? Customer service, sales, and patience. You were in a charity club? You have fundraising skills. You were in student government? Leadership skills. These things are crazy important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. College is all about developing into who you want to be, and all of these aspects have given you certain abilities that you can sell to employers.
3. Take the less than dream job. I hate to break it to you, but sometimes you have to start at the bottom. Especially if you just graduated and have zero career experience. Sometimes taking a job somewhere in the realm of the field you want to be working in can open up doors you never thought possible. Remember, you’re young! You have time to learn, grow, and score the career you always wanted.
4. Check out companies that hire recent grads. Many businesses pride themselves on this practice and offer training to help their new hires learn what precisely what they’re looking for. Some companies prefer to mold you to their liking, rather than have you come in with some other company’s ideals and practices in your head. This is a huge benefit to you, so do some research.
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Time right after college is tense and there is a lot of pressure, most of which is internal. Finding a job takes time, and you might have to have some jobs before the big job to gain experience and earn a living – and that is absolutely fine. You’re not a failure if it takes you a few months, or even years, to get your feet on the ground. When you stop seeking perfection, imperfect circumstances can sometimes become exactly what you needed.