When you are looking for your first job there is nothing more frustrating than being told that you don’t have the necessary experience.  It’s the ultimate ‘Catch-22’.  How can you gain experience when you have no experience, and employers won’t give you the chance to gain the experience?

It is actually infuriating enough to make you scream.

On average, candidates spend between three and six months searching for their first job. Most professionals acknowledge that your first job search will most likely be the most difficult one of your career.

In most cases, the reason for this is lack of experience. You need experience in order to get a job, but in order to gain experience, you need a job.

Where Are All The “Entry Level” Roles?

One of the major barriers to today’s jobs market for entry-level candidates are the changing requirements for entry-level jobs. Traditionally, entry-level positions did not require much prior experience.

Yet, a 2018 TalentWorks study uncovered that 61% of all advertised full-time “entry-level” jobs sought candidates with a minimum of three years’ experience.

So why is this? One theory is that employers who managed to scrape through the recession years are bargain hunting for talent who have the skills of seasoned pros, but the low salary expectations of entry-level job seekers.

They may also perceive greener candidates to require more extensive training. In a fiercely competitive labour market, entry-level candidates lose out against more seasoned professionals for even the most junior roles.

So How Can You Gain Experience?

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.” If you are willing to put some work in, then there are plenty of things you can do to build up your experience.

Being active about developing experience will look good on your resume and demonstrate your conscientiousness to potential employers.

  • For white-collar roles, internships provide an effective great way to build skills and make connections in a workplace setting.
  • Those interested in trade work should certainly consider doing an apprenticeship which will present you with the opportunity to train under a seasoned mentor.
  • If internships aren’t available in your area, then you could volunteer at a charity or community organization instead. This offers an alternative way to acquire helpful professional skills and knowledge.

Take Your Career into Your Own Hands

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”
– Francis Bacon

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, why not launch your own project?  With the internet, it has never been easier to start your own creative project or business. You could consider doing freelance work through sites such as TopTal, Fiverr or Upwork.

By taking a more proactive approach, you will not only build valuable skills, but you will also impress employers with your drive and work ethic.

Don’t Give Up!

According to a 2017 study from Inc, 73% of job-seekers are stressed. When you’re in the thick of it, job hunting can seem like a cycle of never-ending rejections, but it’s important not to take these personally.

Key to this is looking after your mental health and staying positive. Stick to a routine and dedicate parts of your day for healthy and enjoyable activities.

Remember as well, that your first job is unlikely to be your dream job – so try not to get too hung up on chasing “the one.”

Discover More About How to Gain Experience For Your First Job

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
– Donald Kendall, Former CEO of PepsiCo

If you are in the process of applying for entry-level jobs and need some help, then you should certainly take a look at the infographic from Trainwest.

How to Gain Experience When You Have No ExperienceThis informative guide takes you through some ways to build professional experience and also offers pointers on how to deal with the “experience” question in your resume and interviews.

Good luck with your job hunt!