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5 Ways for Grads to Get a Career Without Experience
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting a job without any experience in that field, or maybe none at all, can be a problem just as tough to figure out as the question of whether the egg or the chicken came first.

Most jobs require having some sort of previous experience to show that you're familiar with the type of work and position you're applying for. But how do you get experience in the first place, especially when those jobs might require having experience as well?

This kind of situation might make you feel stuck, but there are still plenty of ways to find a place for yourself in the workforce even in an area you're completely new to.

1) Start from square one.

You can get to first base without starting at the home plate first. So to get your foot through the door, you've got to get back to basics. This might mean taking a few steps back but that's better than going nowhere at all. Sure, you might have to settle for a pay cut or a different positon, but if you have your mind set on making a place for yourself in an industry you've never worked in before that, you're going to have to earn it. On the brigher side, this process goes quicker as you gain more work experience in general.

2) Hit the books.

Education comes in handy when you need to make up for a lack of experience. Enrolling in some courses for certification or even a new degree can increase your chances considerably. Taking that step to get additional schooling and expand your knowledge on an unfamiliar field demonstrates your drive and initiative.

3) Go the traditional route.

The easiest way to gain experience is through volunteer work. Volunteering can turn some people off since the time and effort is unpaid but the benefits are not meant to be monetary. Some of the advantages of volunteering  aside from experience are: meeting new people/networking, training is usually provided, you can find opportunities that can combine both your interests and career goals, the rewarding feeling you get from helping out a good cause. Companies also like to see that you are voluntarily active in a cause.

4) Refine your appearance in print.

When breaking into a new career field, you have to start fresh. Starting fresh begins with who you can prove you are. Since others haven't been around to get to know you or how you work, you'll have to do your best to make a good first impression with your resume. Don't forget your LinkedIn profile, this is an equally important part of your application documents. Make your resume and profile represent who you are as a person, even if you just have your education and interests on their. Let them see which clubs you were a part of and any community groups you were apart of.

5) Use the experience you have to your advantage.

Even though you may not have experience in the line of work you want to get into, you could have some transferable skills. Transferable skills are the kind that are applicable across a wide variety of fields. These would be things like strong communication, typing skills, or proficiency in using computer software. People learn skills all throughout their lives that dob't necessarily come from formal work. Think about the skills you've honed in your life and how they can serve as an advantage when venturing into a new career role.

Rookie Resume Mistakes
Saturday, September 08, 2012

You can always tell the difference between someone who knows what they're doing and someone pretending to know. For someone who is new to the job-hunting game, it can be a challenge to pull off years of refined professionalism flawlessly.

These tell-tale signs are especially obvious to a hiring manager in a resume where there are clear distinctions between good/bad and right/wrong. Take a look at the common mistakes that many rookies makes that give them away as amateurs, or at least make them look that way.

1) Irrelevant job experiences.
Including irrelevant job experiences is simply wrong and looks bad. Even if you don't have much work experience in general, listing the ones you have that don't apply to the one you're applying for isn't going to help you any. Look at what they're asking for in a candidate and think about skills and experiences you have acquired, whether through a job or not, and highlight those instead.

2) Short-term positions.
This doesn't include seasonal jobs, those you go into knowing they will be temporary. The problem with jobs that you left on your own accord or were terminated from don't reflect on you as a desirable candidate. You'll have to expect that they are going to want further information about your past employment and if there might be anything you wouldn't want them to know, better to leave it out completely.

3) References.
A part of being able to put good work experience on your resume is being able to have good references from those places as well. You don't, however, have ot list these references on your resume. This part of the hiring process should already be expected. Naturally, if a potential employer requests references you would give it to them.

4) Listing responsibilities.
Your job title pretty much already sums up what was expected of you but says nothing about what you actually did. That's the information that the hiring manager cares about since that's what will differentiate you from another candidate who may have held the same position. They don't want to see a list of job descriptions on your resume, they want to see accomplishments and specific details.

5) Explanations.
Keep in mind that your resume should ideally be one page so you'll want to keep your descriptions brief. Stick to bullet points and avoid explaining why you left a job. They only want to see the "who, what, when, and where" of your past experiences. If they're interested in finding out the "why," they'll give you a call back.

6) Personal interests.
Adding a personal touch of who you are by mentioning your hobbies or interests can be good as long as they are somewhat relevant to the job. Otherwise, this approach could backfire on you. The hiring manager could start making assumptions about you. When in doubt, leave it off. Again, your resume shouldn't be your life story, rather a brief introduction to who you are. Imagine that you're speed dating with each company, what would you want them to know about you in the few moments you have of their attention?
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