When I was in college, I studied Business with an emphasis in Marketing and truthfully, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I chose my major based on all the things I knew that I didn’t want to do and eventually narrowed it down. I figured getting a Business degree was general enough that I would figure it out later. About half-way through my schooling, I realized how intense the job hunting scene would be after college and knew I needed to get experience while I was there. So, I did some of the following steps that you can do to land a position. Whether you’re in college or not, I think you’ll find these tips helpful for getting a job with little to no prior experience.
Apply for Internships
This is the main course on how I got where I am currently (as a Digital Content Coordinator for a non-profit.) Lots of unpaid internships. While I’m not a huge fan of unpaid work, it was crucial in getting my career started. Apply for internships in the fields that you’re interested in and it’s a step in the door. It’s also a great way to see what industry and type of job you’re interested in. I worked in social media internships where I was never doing coffee runs and that sort of thing, so I feel like I gained a lot of experience with them. Make sure you choose wisely and pick an internship that will give you the skills future employees are looking for in your field of choice.
Here’s a secret: if you’re willing to put a lot of work in, you can get somewhere through internships. The thing with unpaid positions is that there isn’t a ton of motivation from interns beyond the idea of “something to put on the resume.” If you can go above and beyond while you’re not getting paid for it, your boss will take notice.
Volunteer in a related field
The next best thing to interning is volunteering. There are abundant opportunities and it allows you to get something interesting on your resume. Most places around town wouldn’t hire someone before they were 18 and I had literally nothing to put on my resume. So, I looked for some volunteer opportunities that would give me some experience. If you can find a volunteer opportunity in your related field, it’s wonderful experience. While some volunteer places are selective, it’s the easiest place to get in without previous experience, because they need your help! Give it your best and seek out ways you can further your skills while you’re there.
Volunteer in an unrelated field
So maybe you can’t find any related volunteer opportunities near you, that’s okay. Anything that shows that you were willing to help someone out for free shows something. It shows that you care about some kind of cause, that you’re doing something good in your free time, and it gives you something to talk about in an interview. I don’t care if all you did was pick up garbage on the beach; it matters.
Tell people that you’re looking for a job. You’ll be surprised at how often God (or the universe – whatever you believe in) sends what you want your way when you ask for it. Look at meeting new people as a networking opportunity. I’m not personally great at networking, but it is definitely helpful to know people in the same or even different industries. You never know where you might meet someone who could change your career life.
Find a Mentor
As a Business major, I was required to take an entrepreneur course. I stumbled across one that was incredibly challenging and partnered you up with a retired business person who would act as a mentor throughout the project. My group’s mentor was amazing and continued to be a mentor of mine past college. He set me up with a few clients after graduation and gave me valuable career advice. I recommend seeking out a mentorship with someone in a field that you’re interested in. While mine came to me, I think it’s very worthwhile to email or contact someone who you respect and see if you can connect with them.
Start a blog
If you want to get a job in a field that you’re already passionate about, a blog is a great place to start. Running a blog is more than just typing words and pressing submit. You have to build an audience, produce regular content, manage your time, and create a brand for yourself. That is great experience that you can show off to future employers. The best part is that it’s totally doable and you can start one at any moment.
Take Online classes
I love that there are so many opportunities to learn what you want to learn on the internet. There’s Coursera and Skillshare where at a low-cost, you can learn a craft from amazingly talented people. Plus, there are so many free online classes as well. Take a look at some job postings for your ideal career and look into the skills required to work there. From there, go take an online course to get yourself more talented in that area. You’ll be a real asset if you can check skill requirements off their job listing before you’ve even landed a job.
Join clubs at school
If you’re in college, make sure to take advantage of the opportunities that you have there. I joined an entertainment club, because I thought I might be interested in pursuing it. I didn’t end up doing that, but there is typically a lot of networking opportunities through clubs and it’s a great way to explore your interests further.
Look on social media
Stay on the lookout for career opportunities online. Follow your favorite companies on Instagram and Twitter and be on the lookout for when they shout out that they’re looking for new hires. Like I said previously, let your friends know what you’re looking for so that if they see something online, they can tag you to let you know. LinkedIn is a gem of a place to look for a job and to network with people.
Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t have any experience yet, but be open to unpaid opportunities and connect with everyone that you can. Any experience you can get your hands on can be valuable if you take advantage of them.