Monday, November 10, 2014

Singing the "No Experience" Blues--Don't!

If you're a college student getting ready to graduate and hit the job market, you may be wondering: why would anybody hire me? I have no experience!

Well--everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone on the other side of the interview table has been in your shoes at some point, a shiny new degree but no experience.

Besides--you do have experience. It looks more like persistence in coursework; service learning projects; clubs and activities on campus where you've played a leadership role (like working with faculty at the Open House events, meeting and greeting prospective students). Awards, honor societies.

And there are things you can (and should) do to offset the objection that you lack experience, so you're not merely puffing hot air on a list of things any college student could do. You can and should:

  • Find an internship that gives you a taste of the kind of work you want to do in the near future. Even if the internship fizzles (you hate that industry, that line of work), you'll still have developed self-knowledge, a clear understanding of what you can commit to doing well.
  • Connect with others in the field. This can mean informational interviews, or even collaborating with other students who have similar goals and ambitions--pool your resources as you track down companies and opportunities. Who knows--some years from now, you may find one of your college buddies interviewing you for a job.
  • Join and participate in online discussions, forums, face-to-face events (everything from networking groups to job fairs). Get practiced; learn to be comfortable in a variety of situations related to the profession you want to join.

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