Have you ever looked at the criteria for a job role and seen that they require a minimum two years of experience in the same or similar role?
Have you looked at said job roles and known in your heart that you’d be absolutely perfect for it but not applied because you didn’t meet the stated criteria?
If the answer to these questions is yes, keep reading.
You have been scouring the internet for weeks trying to find a possible job option. The perfect contender finally shows itself. This opportunity is in your ideal field, features all of the challenging responsibilities and tasks which you’re keen to take on and the companies ideologies are something you’re genuinely passionate about. Perfect right? If only. You read on and see that the organization in question is specifically looking for an applicant with at least two years of experience, so, the search continues. This really is the ultimate catch 22 of the working world. If you are just finishing university and looking for a post-grad position or a professional in search of a change in direction, how on earth are you supposed to meet these futile requirements, get any exposure to the field of work and get your foot on that damn ladder.
(Insert exasperated sigh)
This got me thinking about what we should do if we find ourselves in this incredibly frustrating conundrum, what to do when we need experience to get experience. Here some of the top tips which I think are important to consider if you are, like me, feeling caught up in this vicious cycle.
DO NOT GIVE UP
Cliché? Yes. The easiest thing in the world at this point would be to accept defeat, take the facile option and do something that you just don’t have any passion towards. I have been bitterly tempted by this route on more than one occasion. This job may pay the bills, it might mean you make new friends, learn new skills, blah blah blah. It’s not what you really want, it won’t challenge you in the same way, it won’t help you to grow as a person, it won’t satisfy you in the long run. Do not give up on your ambition. Life is much too short to spend the majority of your week doing something which doesn’t ignite some passion in to your days.
NEW WAYS IN
You might tell yourself that the only possible way to get this job is by having the said qualifications, by having had worked in the industry for many years before or by excelling above all other applicants. These things help don’t get me wrong, but they are not the ONLY way in. Meet as many people as you can within the industry, make sure they know your name. The phrase ‘it’s all about who you know’didn’t come from nowhere. Send emails, send as many as you can and keep sending them. Use linked-in. Visit the offices and businesses you would like to be involved in. Use your network to make connections within the company you are pursuing.
It’s a good idea to make sure that your application stands out from the rest. Employers will get a tidal wave of potential candidates which often have very similar applications. Most of these will go under the radar. If you can make yours an application which they can’t ignore it will help you to pass that initial test and get you in front of them for an interview. Have an up to date resume and customized cover letter ready to go.
WORK FOR FREE
Working for free? A phrase which tempts us all. This is not always possible because unfortunately we do need money to live. If you are fortunate enough to be able to spare some time which you can dedicate to getting some invaluable work experience by volunteering at a company, then do it. Some businesses might offer internships or apprenticeships to ambitious future candidates who are willing to learn and progress within an industry. This is extremely beneficial for your own personal growth but also serves as a giant stepping stone in the professional world. If you can add an internship or work experience to your CV it shows how serious you are about your chosen profession and will certainly give you a leg up with a potential employer.
Easiest thing in the world right? If this is something that you are passionate about doing for a living, if it is a job role which you know you will excel at and aren’t afraid of a little hard work and studying, this will come across to employers. Be charismatic, show your devotion to the role in question and make it known that you’re dedicated to giving it your best shot, it will come across. Tell them about any transferable skills which you might have, however arbitrary you think they might be. You’d be surprised to know what is considered as relevant experience and how many of these skills could be useful.
KNOW YOUR STUFF
This is so important especially if you’re new in to an industry. No one is expecting perfection. It is always hard starting a new job and having to go back to square one BUT it is essential to show initiative and have devoted some time to learning about the work you will be doing. Researching the organization which you are trying to be part of will give you vital knowledge and insights that will in turn actually give you more confidence in the job if you are successful. Make sure that you can interview well and if asked a niche, trade question the prevailing thing in the minds of the employer after the interview will be the answer you gave, the knowledge and innovation you showed, not necessarily the experience or qualifications you have under your belt.
Often if you meet 50% of the requirements listed in the posting its worth applying anyway, what is the worst that can happen?