How do I get a job in a company when all companies ask for work experience?
- Find companies looking for interns or entry-level roles. Some companies are actually looking for entry-level roles or offer regular internships. This is a wonderful starting point for many. A couple internships with glowing references may be acceptable for a junior job later on.
- Apply for other jobs anyway. As Joe Gleeson said, companies tend to post their ideal job description. But they often hire a different fit due to the lack of an ideal one. It’s still worth trying – recruiters may see something unique in your CV such as a course you’ve taken. Or they could have graduated from the same college. It doesn’t hurt to try anyway.
- Build a portfolio of your own through other contributions. For roles such as content writing or programming, that’s significantly easier. You can apply for a senior role without having been employed at all with the right background and portfolio. It’s different for other roles but still – there are mentorship groups, free online courses, different soft skills training classes which would increase your qualifications. Non-profits are open to volunteers, and so are conferences and other event organizations.
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- Get a random job first. Part of the reason companies ask for experience is related to skills unrelated to a specific job. Think of team spirit, attention to detail, adherence to the work policy, arriving on time, reporting to management, things like that. A year or two at McDonalds could be a valuable experience which, combined with theoretical skills, could land you a job, too.
- Network. Meeting a soon-to-be manager or a co-worker of yours is a neat shortcut if you can make it happen. Career fairs, “open door” events at companies, conferences or meetups could do the work. LinkedIn or Twitter may help out as well.
- Become an outstanding communicator. We’ve hired people with zero practical experience based on a glowing cover letter and a carefully worded CV. This alone may demonstrate commitment and motivation, willingness to adapt to our work environment, understanding of our workflow and processes (based on what we’ve been sharing publicly). Aligning your application to the job requirements translates to a shorter training and onboarding process and a certain portion of creativity or logical thinking.
Sure, experience will help you significantly after spending several years on a payroll. But that’s how college graduates start in the first place.