“We would love to have you but really, we are looking for someone with a little more experience”.
“Unfortunately, at this time it’s not a good fit”.
“We have decided to not go ahead with the hiring at this moment but we will keep your resume on file”.
If you are (or soon to be) a recent graduate you have probably heard these phrases a couple times by now. It seems like the pattern is always the same: you are mandated to have a college diploma or a university degree to achieve your career goal, you obtain it, you apply for jobs in your field and after an interminable process of resume and cover letter writing, interviews and dry cleaning you receive the ever so irritating e-mail commencing with, “we regret to inform you…”.
So what do you do now? You have gone through 2, 3, 4, even 5 years of schooling to prepare you for the perfect career yet your resume is not even being taken into consideration because the “experience” section is sparse and thin. So… what now?
There are a few approaches you can take that will help you build experience and credentials.
You have probably heard this before, but volunteer. If you have absolutely no working experience in your field it may be a good idea to reach out in your community, find a job or a workplace that you would like to be part of and ask to volunteer. Many companies are open and willing to share their knowledge and take on fresh talent looking to build some skills and gain experience. This will help you build aptitudes and connections, and you will gain professional references, which will be very valuable when applying for future jobs.
Another approach is networking – attend events, job fairs and functions. You will have the opportunity to meet businesses that are hiring, individuals looking for candidates, and you will gain a better understanding of the local labour market and what opportunities and options you have with regards to building your career. You may not get a job at a networking event but it is very likely that you will meet someone that may introduce or recommend you to an employer. And when you meet an employer you would like to work for ask “what can I do to be considered for an interview?”. You will get some insight and guidance of what is expected.
It will also be beneficial to start looking for a job before you finish school. This will give you enough time to job search without being pressured and it will give you a competitive advantage against the other few thousands of students graduating in your class. The hiring process can also be lengthy and if that is not the case, employers are usually willing to wait a couple of weeks until you become available full time.
by Sandra Stepan, Monthly Blogger and Employer Liaison at Agilec