How to overcome the need-experience-to-get-experience loop
As many students are graduating from college and looking for jobs, they are more than likely in the situation of not having enough experience. But how do you get experience if no one gives you a chance?
I was in the same boat last year when I graduated from college. I knew I wanted to get into a recruiting position but wasn’t sure how to show experience that would apply to the role. There aren’t many internships available in this field, so I had to get creative. I learned a few things along the way that may help you when looking for your first job.
Seek out an internship to make sure you picked the right career path.
Going straight into the job market after school isn’t for everybody. Especially if you’re unsure of what career you want to pursue. I did several health industry-related internships but realized the aspect I liked best was working with people, which led me to recruiting. Internships can help you fully grasp what it’s like to actually do a certain job and shed light on whether a career is a good fit for you. If not, you don’t end up in a full-time position that isn’t right for you.
Research your career choice before jumping into it.
Much like doing an internship can help you decide on a career path, so can research. I found that reaching out to people on LinkedIn currently in the type of role I was looking for was very effective. I asked them about their role, what they liked about being a recruiter and what skills are most important. And I made sure to play up those skills during my interview. Most people are willing to talk about their career choice and are happy to help a new grad, so don’t be timid about it. It’s also important to make these connections early in your career to increase your network. Many times, networking is how people land a job.
Speak passionately about what you have done.
I had an internship with Gwinnett County’s Department for aging services prior to graduating. I was also a CVS pharmacist tech for several years during college. In both roles, I worked with all kinds of people and problem solving on a daily basis. And I loved every minute of it because I enjoy working with people. In my interviews, I related those experiences to recruiting, because a major part of the job is talking to people and problem-solving. And, even though I never actually recruited before, I had a lot of experience interacting with people.
Vocalize your willingness to learn and grow.
Showing an interviewer that you’re willing to learn goes a long way to show why they should give you a chance. Then, take an active role in your learning and development. Do your own research to understand what new skills you might need to do the job well. It also helps to ask questions about ways you can be successful in this role, even without direct experience. This conveys your desire to contribute to the company, not just earn a paycheck. And once you’re on the job, don’t be afraid to say, “I’m struggling with this” and ask for help. No one expects you to know everything, so asking questions of a coworker with experience is a great way to learn.
Play up the skills you do have.
For the recruiter position, I didn’t have direct technical knowledge, but I did have experience communicating and being on the phone. I was able to demonstrate those skills during my interview. I also focused on highlighting key character traits, like that I’m outgoing, self-motivated, and goal-oriented. Sometimes, these soft skills are more important than the experience itself. And now, I speak confidently to people on a daily basis about Software Engineer jobs, System Engineering jobs and more.
I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary with Synergis, and thanks to their training program, one-on-one mentorship, and my own research, I’ve learned a ton. But I’m not stopping anytime soon. Learning and improving each day is the fun part!
For anyone in the job market, we have lots of opportunities and resources available to you. Just reach out to us!