Every jobseeker knows the harsh realities of job hunting. Companies are asking for experience levels that are hard to achieve. Every job in the industry requires 3-5 years of experience, but how exactly do you get experience if every single job out there asks for these qualifications? Sometimes this can feel like an uphill battle, but there are ways around it. And once you land a mid-career position, more job opportunities will follow.
Internships are an important tool for undergraduates to use in order to get a foot in the door and build a resume with relevant work experience. Summer jobs can be a great way to earn some money, but an internship is the smarter choice. Think about potential career earnings. If you take a job over the summer months as simply a means of earning money, it’s only a short-term benefit. Internships are all about starting a career and getting a taste of the industry you’ll eventually end up working in. They can also help potential new hires circumvent the strict experience requirements provided by human resources. It puts you on the fast track to succeed.
If you don’t have direct experience working in a role, you need to take your other work experience and phrase it better. For example, let’s take a customer service / sales position that requires three years of experience. Maybe you don’t have three years as an account manager under your belt, but maybe you worked in a retail environment during college and high school. Whether or not you realize it, this is considered customer service experience. If you land an interview, make this clear. You facilitated retail sales and focused heavily on customer service and awesome guest experience. Related experience can be convincing during an interview if you show human resources what you learned, and how you can use it to further the interests of the company you are trying to land a job at. Don’t exaggerate, but also don’t discredit your prior work experience.
If you keep looking for jobs and simply do not have enough experience to even land an interview, it would be wise to downgrade your standards. Sometimes you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. Not only will you learn the inner workings of the business, but you will also have the chance to prove to management that you can and will be a valuable asset to the team. The job you land might not be ideal, but if a career is what you are seeking, sometimes this is the only way. Just be clear with your managers that your intention is to advance with the company long-term. Next, keep your nose to the grindstone, and work your hardest to succeed. Good news will soon follow.