What to do when you’re told “No sorry – you’ve got no experience.”
WooHoo! You’ve finished school or just completed studying, it’s been a long haul, 12 years of school plus maybe a bit of a stint at Uni (lots of parties and some HEC’s debt). OR, you actually completed a full degree – helloo bigger HEC’s debt – and you’re super pumped.
Who cares about anything else right now you’re done! But, before you get too excited and dive into all those tequila shots, you’re on the hunt for a job. How hard can it be!
Get your CV (or resume) sorted
You use Dr Google and get your CV primed. The experience sections a little light on but hey, what do they expect? You’ve been a tad busy – school and stuff.
So you proudly list some casual work you did whilst at school or studying. There’s a few gaps but it’s not like you’re applying to be the next 2IC of Apple. What’s that I hear you ask, could you actually apply for that sort of position? No – let’s keep it real here, okay. Whilst I’m all for big steps, that one, is too big! So back to the point….
Search for some roles
Your CV (or resume) is done! Now where can you find some suitable job opportunities?
- Seek or Indeed (on line platforms)
- Job Active Providers
- Career FAQ and Year 13 are platforms which provide additional support and advice
You find some jobs which interest you (at least they sound interesting)! But it begs the question: what the bloody hell do I want to do?
This is a question that’s been asked for generations. Not everyone knows what they would like to do. Your parents and rellies have asked for years ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ and at times you truthfully told them what you dreamed of being or doing.
I’ve asked my grandkids this very question, of which I got a policewomen, an architect and a computer game programmer.
You, like potentially everyone before you will – have changed your mind countless times on the ‘when I grow up I want to be a [insert dream job here]’ front. So we move on – back to getting you a job…
Apply for a job
You send in application after application, being careful not to apply to too many – you can’t take them all right! Whilst the power of a positive mind is great, the job hunting game is pretty ruthless. You get knock back after knock back and rarely do you ever get a courtesy call about why you weren’t a suitable candidate. Wow, what a dent to the confidence.
Back to it! You brush yourself off and keep looking, keep applying and so the cycle goes on. It’s not even funny, you want a job but you’re not even getting an interview!
You ask ‘what is wrong with me?’ – Nothing – nothing is ‘wrong’ with you. You just don’t have experience! We’ve all read job ads which say ‘Entry level role with 4-6 years’ experience’! WTF! Does that even exist…
Getting the experience that will get you an interview
How do you get the required experience, when no one will give you a go? Day’s gone by, you could offer your services for ‘free’ to get experience. The NOVA morning crew were talking about this the other day, all saying that to get their break in radio they offered their services for free in the early years of their careers. You’ll probably have heard your parents and older generations say this is how they started out… to get the foot in the door they offered their skills and time for nothing. In the majority of cases, they got the gig.
This is where it gets tricky – in today’s environment working for free or not getting paid (whilst the same thing, one is what you wish to do, the other is more from the employers perspective). The law as it stands provides limited opportunities in which to gain invaluable experience which can aid you to either get a job or gain the experience. Unfortunately, because of a few who flouted the system and took advantage of people providing their time free. A minority of incidents impacted on the majority of people. Despite, the majority actually benefitting from the system (both the prospective job seeker and the employer). Whilst this law is to protect, it actually has a huge impact. What used to be the standard – an entry-level candidate with real experience – is nowadays, an unrealistic expectation on the Employers behalf.
In some cases unpaid work is lawful, the limitations around these are quite restrictive though. So what’s the solution here? How do you get the required experience?
Here are some tips of encouragement in getting it right (And hopefully, getting your foot in the door to an interview):-
- Look at what positions you are applying for – are they a bit of a stretch first up – could you look for other jobs which will provide an entry level start
- Did you research the company before you wrote a cover letter to go with your CV – did you do a cover letter? If you didn’t you should, and tailor this – don’t use a cookie cutter scenario (same/same). Employers look to this ‘no effort’ which shows if you’re not making any effort to get a job, what will you be like if they gave you one – step it up!
- Ask yourself – critically – would you hire you based on what you have supplied? If not improve what you are showcasing. Now that’s not bullshitting either – I’ve seen many a CV where the ‘stated capabilities’ have fallen well short of the actual capabilities – this soon gets found out;
- How can you be different? I once had a Cover letter and CV arrive with a tea bag stapled to it with a kit kat – with a note that said take a tea break and read my CV – you won’t regret it! They obviously got an interview! – and the job by the way…so stand out in a crowded space
- Be interested! I’ve interviewed a large number of younger generation adults – and the one thing that a lot of them do – is think that they have to be cool. There is a time and a place for that – and not every company is Google or Facebook. You need to be interested. And don’t say I’ve done some research by having a look at the website – that is a very basic standard – and not being interested! Do actual research.
- Ask family and friends for referrals – they may help just to get you an interview – the rest is up to you.
- Register with recruitment providers – the majority of these are free – again do your research
- Look on ‘Air Tasker’ there is a heap of opportunities to get paid and do some gigs, all these go towards experience (resourceful, innovative, responsive, reliable) – see all really great ways to showcase that you are willing to work!
- Forget about what your mates say – a job is a job is a job. Look for the ‘gifts in the garbage’ and leverage and pivot from there!
It’s not easy however, it is possible.
Just remember, take one step to get closer to what you want. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Taking no steps and complaining – well you will still be standing where you started and still have the same complaint – so you might as well take a step forward.
Maximise your potential