Finding job experience

How To Get the Job Experience You Need To Succeed After Graduation

Finding a career after college can be daunting when entry-level jobs require years of experience, but it's possible to prepare yourself before graduating.
April 25, 2020
8 mins read

I was recently looking at a few job openings in the career field I’m thinking about entering. They were all entry level, but for some reason, a lot of them required years of experience. A lot of times, these entry jobs aren’t exactly newbie friendly, and they require you to have one to two years of experience once you graduate college. This can be frustrating when trying to get into the career of your dreams. Don’t be discouraged by this; remain optimistic. If you start early and gain experience while you’re in college, landing entry-level jobs should be no problem.

Why Do Entry Level Jobs Require Experience?

When you’re reading the job requirements and skills that the company prefers you to have, it can be overwhelming. The skills required for these job listings are ideals that the company would like, but they aren’t always mandatory.

On your resume and application, it’s a good idea to include any research or experience that relates to the industry you’re trying to get into — it doesn’t hurt to get a professional-looking resume template and edit it with your achievements. While the skills that are listed are good to have, you can try to compensate with other things that you’ve done to make up for any shortcomings.

The Muse discusses the struggle of getting a job that requires experience when there should be no experience required. They suggest that if you “meet over 80% of the requirements listed in a particular posting, don’t overthink it—just apply.” This is a good rule of thumb to follow so you don’t miss out on any opportunities because of anxieties regarding your skills.

If you apply to all of these positions, there’s a possibility that you can be more equipped to handle the job than your competitors.

Even if your experience isn’t paid, it will still look better to have something rather than not having anything at all. Huffington Post mentions that future employers will look for employees who have more experience. Especially if you’re fresh out of college, a graduate who has experience already looks better than a graduate who doesn’t have anything. Getting internships before graduation will make you look better for employers when they look at your resume.

How to Get Experience

Working as an intern is a good way to gain experience before graduating, according to Time. When looking for internships, there are a lot of things to consider. One important thing can be if the internship is paid or unpaid.

There are a lot of unpaid internships — it can be harder to land an internship at a company that is willing to pay you. When considering if you would like to do an unpaid internship, you have to think of the payment as experience that will help you eventually get a job in the future.

If you can’t land an internship, it’s a good idea to at least have a part-time job on your resume. While it may not show that you already have experience in your chosen field of work, it still shows that you have worked before. University of Denver says that having a part-time job will give you a chance to develop skills in the work environment. Having a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant or a retail store will give you communication and time management skills, as well as a basic understanding of what it means to have a job and the kind of responsibilities it entails.

Study.com mentions that another good way to gain some experience is to do some freelance work. Freelance work can be a good idea if you’re interested in writing, web design, artwork and even engineering.

If you start doing freelance work, you get paid while learning how to best complete tasks and do the work you like to do. Another plus of doing freelance work is that you can gain experience to add to your portfolio as well as your resume. For example, if you do some freelance work for a big project, like a movie or book, you can mention the success of that work on your resume.

How to Find Internships

Now it’s time to focus on the places to look for these opportunities. It can be hard to do a Google search and find everything you’re looking for. But there are a few websites that can give you hundreds of listings to find all of them. These websites not only curate internships and jobs that would be a good fit for you, they also make it easy for you to apply to these positions.

Glassdoor is a nice website where you can find internships. I personally like Glassdoor for its ease of use as well as the options that are curated for me. The website is easy to use and gives you a lot of positions to scroll through. This website also gives you a helpful link in order to help you go directly to a company’s website so you can easily apply to an internship or job.

Another website that I like to use is Indeed, and I feel like this one is well known to people who are job seeking. The only con to this website is that a lot of times there are sponsored job listings that don’t apply to the criteria you’re searching for. However, a great feature of this website is the fact that companies can view your resume and message you with a job offer.

Now that you know there are ways to gain the two years of experience that many jobs need, don’t stress. As long as you start early and manage your time wisely, getting all of this experience before you graduate shouldn’t be a hard task. Especially during this time in quarantine, it can be easy to build your skills and further your experience in the job field of your dreams.

Kayla Placide, University at Buffalo

Writer Profile

Kayla Placide

University at Buffalo

Hello! My name is Kayla and I’m a freshman who is trying to pursue a future career in publishing YA books and fiction. My hobbies include reading, writing, gaming and playing music.

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