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Getting a job with no experience - March 21st 2014, 03:18 PM


I am still having trouble finding work. All the jobs I have applied to require experience, which I do not have. This is really frustrating because I want to work, but no one will give me the opportunity or I have to work for free which I will never do. I don't want to bring up my grades because they arn't good, all I got was a 2.5 GPA in college and my grades were even worse in high school.

Is it really this hard to find work or am I not looking in the right places. I am not going back to school, there's just no way. I don't have the money to go and the program I went through to put me through school wont help because I didn't graduate from the three year program when I said I would.

While I did have an internship opportunity, the work was overwhelming for me, and they wouldn't pay me either which I hated because I was doing programming which isn't easy. I'm honestly thinking of taking that internship off my resume as it doesn't serve any positive purpose for me.

Does anyone have any idea's on how to find work?
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 21st 2014, 04:40 PM

I'm in the same boat as you. My suggestion to you is go to the places that you know higher high school student's because some high school student's have no job experience. I don't know if you have Jumba Juice in Canada but that is a place they higher teenager. Also Target usually tend to higher high school students. So I would look around and apply for places you see teenagers working at.

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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 21st 2014, 04:51 PM

Have you tried volunteering? I know it doesn't pay but it's experience. I'm not sure if it's the same over there but charity shops here take on volunteers to work behind the till, etc. so you could consider that as an option to get basic experience. Other than that, I'd just keep applying for jobs, even if it's not a job that you would want. It'll get you experience and it's a job that you can stay in till you find one that you do want or is better than that one.

I'm in a similar situation so I know it isn't easy looking for a jobs and I know that when you don't get those you apply for, it can be a downer but you just got to keep at it and eventually someone will take you on.
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 21st 2014, 05:52 PM

Hey Ryan,

I'm in the same exact situation right now so I know how frustrating it can be. I applied for a ton of different jobs but have had no luck. I recently looked into doing volunteer work though and actually had an interview yesterday about volunteering at the hospital. The lady I talked with said that many of the people looking for volunteer work there are doing so in order to gain work experience. I don't know if there's as many volunteer options in Canada as there are in the U.S, but it's definitely worth looking into. You also might want to consider the kind of job you're interested in getting before you sign up for a certain kind of volunteer work. For instance if you're looking to work in retail then choosing volunteer work that gives you experience in that area would be best. If you volunteer in an area that's completely unrelated to your desired career it might not do you much good.

I also think that it depends a lot on the jobs you're applying for. There are some jobs that are going to require at least some prior experience, but it may not be as important for others. If you're really needing a source of income right now then maybe you should start looking into all types of jobs rather than just the ones that you're really interested in. I don't know what kind of jobs you've been applying for but you mentioned that they all require experience. Maybe looking into some jobs that don't require experience, even if they're jobs that don't seem as appealing to you, would give you better results. And even if you're not overly happy with the job that you get it will at least help you to gain experience so that you can apply for the jobs you truly want in the future.

Try not to get too discouraged. I know it's frustrating but I'm sure you'll be able to find something soon enough. Good luck

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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 23rd 2014, 01:20 AM

I know how you feel. Years ago I was in the same boat.
I took up volunteering in charity shops for experience. I didn't really want to but I was pushed by my mum. Glad she pushed me because it helped me get a retail job in the end.

My advice for you would be to take up volunteering until you get a paid job. It does help trust me.
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 23rd 2014, 10:24 PM

Hi Ryan,

I know it sounds circular: you want a job in order to gain experience, but you can't gain the job without experience. It's a very tough situation, and a lot of graduates are experiencing similar things.

With regards to your resume, I cannot stress enough the importance of a good resume. Are there any professional career services in your area? Or perhaps you can utilize the career services at your former college? Your resume is tremendously important. Perhaps you can provide an outline of what your resume looks like and consists of.

Moreover, I know that working for free sucks and is probably not something that you want to do but, unfortunately, it's necessary sometimes. Volunteering would provide you with excellent experience that you can leverage on your resume. Additionally, volunteering in an area of interest will provide you with the opportunity to make connections with people and build your network of contacts. This, too, is tremendously important, and is often undervalued.

What are you doing when applying to jobs? Just submitting a resume and cover letter? While most people take this approach, to me, it's the wrong way. I know that most companies will collect resumes and cover letters through an online portal of their website, but this will only result in your application getting lost in the piles of others. When you find a job that you're interested in, complete the application process required - but don't stop there. Who is in charge of the recruitment for that organization? Is there anyone else that you can reach out to from that organization? Build communication with the person who is responsible for recruitment and/or current employees at the organization. If you do this successfully, it is very likely that you will at least be offered an interview.

Interviews are another increasingly important aspects of the recruitment process. Most interviews, outside of business, are behavioural. Preparing for interviews is one of the most important things you can do. Grab a few friends or family members and have them run through mock interviews with you. There are countless resources on the internet that talk about the most common behavioural interview questions. Have your mock interviewer ask you a few of the most common behavioural interview questions so that you can try to formulate responses for them. Additionally, mock interviewers will provide you with valuable feedback and insight that you can use to improve your interview skills - which are one of the most important skills to possess.

I know it's not easy, and it's a lot of work, but you'll find a job one way or another. Keep your eyes open, be persistent, and get involved. Good luck.

Harvey Specter
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 25th 2014, 12:42 PM

It's hard to get a job right now, especially one that will pay enough to cover all the expenses.
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - March 25th 2014, 07:16 PM

I know you said you "won't work without pay", but that attitude might be the exact thing that is getting you wrong, we all have to start somewhere... So sometimes we have to work serving donuts and flipping burgers, sometimes we have to "work for free" (AKA volunteering), and I find the pretense that you won't do it just because you expect money a little bit obnoxious. (and there's other ideas at the bottom so bear with me)

I know that sounds like a dis, and I know you might take that the wrong way, but bear with me here... if you are (even unconsciously) going in and thinking that you are too good for a job or that you should get it because you deserve it and you know you are good enough etc. etc. then people are going to pick up on that. A lot of jobs, even entry level ones, expect you to know what you are talking about because they don't want to hire someone and then spend weeks or even months teaching that person the basics.... this is especially true when they know they can get someone who's education or prior experience gives them a leg up... it's not so much having to know everything, but it's better to have an idea.... And even if you have an idea you need to prove that you understand it...

So for a lot of us flipping burgers shows that we can work, that we've had obligations and responsibilities and can work with others and manage our time and blah blah blah.... So the job sucks, but it beats never having a job because at least you can say you had a damn job and use those skills to transfer to other places.

If you volunteer you get to do things you like, just like when you play sports or what ever - do you expect people to pay you every time you go on the ice to play hockey? (or insert other relevant activity), the answer is probably no because the rewards are different, in sports you get personal gratification, you get to have fun, you get to win a game and so on and so forth.... That's the same with volunteering... You get to feel good by helping others or working on projects AND you get to built experience... In fact, 90% of my experience is from having volunteered, when I go in to marketing, writing or public relations interviews I immediately tell them about my experience as a voluntary staff reporter and as a voluntary public relations executive. And I've gotten jobs by having those experiences. Volunteering is usually a small commitment of around 2 to 5 hours a week, so if you aren't currently working it really shouldn't be hard to work in. I, and many others, vounteer at many places - I've volunteered with disabled kids, kids in foster care, at a humane society, doing marketing and public relations, I've done environmental work and so on, so you can really get a wide range of skills to go on your resume... To top it off it can give you a lot of things with a small time commitment (2 to 5 hours a week) so you can do a lot of things and really hone in on what you like.... So if you're like me, you can now go to a job interview and say something like "well, I did a lot of different volunteering things and it progressed as I figured out which positions I did and didn't like and landed here"... For example, I wanted to work with disabled kids (specifically with neurological disabilities like autism, downs syndrome etc) but found out I could never handle that because dealing with people who are unable to communicate properly day in and day out, it would be way to stressful for me.

So, I highly recommend taking ANYTHING, build your resume, don't be picky, and don't look down your nose at anything just because maybe it isn't your top choice.

You aren't alone in being entitled, you think people should give you a job when the reality is that you have to pay your dues first, you need to prove yourself and you might not every thing you have to do in order to get to the point that those dues are paid. Lots of people our age are like that, it used to piss me off so bad that I had to work at coffee/donut shops because they had disgusting uniforms, the non-student employees were often, well, not the kind of people I usually associate with, customers were rude, and the food smelled bad after being around it for 8+ hours a day.... But it beats having no job.... I have gone as far to apply to be a cleaning lady for a business in peoples homes and a maid in a hotel just go get a job, but it took me years to get to the point where I'd just accept that I'd have do what it took to try to get a job.... I used to look down at it, I still do, I have even call applying to retail and waitressing typed jobs as "applying loser jobs", it's really hard not to look down on it when you believe that you deserve better.... At least there is more dignity in volunteering in positions you are interested in than taking a job you find humiliating (and for me, I find serving coffee and donuts humiliating, not everyone feels that way, plenty of people are ok with it, but I've never been able to feel good about having held those jobs)... So be practical, accept that you might be entitled like I am, but accept that there are ways you can work around it and be humble enough to accept you have to pay your dues and it won't always be how you want it.... It'll get you a better job in the long run when you take those positions and show employers how you learned and how you apply it (the more direct the better though, but any experience can be shown even if you say "through this job I learned that I like this instead and this is how I learned that"

CREATE A PORTFOLIO As an *almost* final note, take on projects, say if you like designing websites maybe find an author friend or a personal trainer friend or anyone with a website and offer to upgrade/improve their existing site or create a whole new one, then you can create an online and physical portfolio (and mention it on your resume) of things you've made that you can bring to an interview, that way you can make things you like and show off your work (this applies to published writing, art, cosmetic stuff on people, animal grooming, testimonials from people you've done work for etc. etc.)

BOAST ABOUT ANYTHING If you are a coach, brag about it, if you play the piano, brag about it... You can do that by, for example saying "I am a piano player and have taken my level 8 royal conservatory exam and teach classes twice a week" or what ever you do there, like i have stuff about my sports on my resume and while it had nothing to do with my latest job interview (it was my "real" voluntary/paid experience that got me the job) but it helped me stick out because I have a coaching certification in that sport and was able to mention on my resume how i want to use it in fundraising events in the future... Obviously you can't expect a sport to get you a job, even for coaching you often have to be certified in some way and simply being good at the sport is only half the battle to a coaching job, but if you work it right it can help you stick out

Feel free to PM me if you ever need to chat or have questions
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - April 1st 2014, 10:27 PM

Persoanlly I don't want to work for free, all it would do is make me feel like I'm in school again and bring my self-esteem (if it's even possible) down even further because I'm getting ahead in life. If I'm going to work, I expect payment, no exceptions. Do I have a bad attidude? maybe. But I need money to move on and up in life, and I'm desperate enough to accept just anything right now.
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - April 2nd 2014, 05:26 PM

To be honest, it sounds like you're not really trying as hard as you could be. You refuse to do an internship or volunteering, but you also refuse to bring grades up. Both are things that can boost your likelihood of getting a job. What kind of places are you looking exactly? If you need experience in order to get a job, then I would start with a job that doesn't necessarily require experience such as the food industry or another job like that. Or find an internship that doesn't require something like programming.

"and I'm desperate enough to accept just anything right now"
Well, clearly not because you refuse to accept the suggestions to get experience to work on getting a job.

I think you need to start thinking about "WHY should this place of employment hire ME" what are you good at? What reasons should you get the job other than just needing the money? I would take that internship off your resume since you refused to work. You want suggestions on how to get a job but you aren't taking the suggestions being offered to you. You're going to have to work in order to get experience, and I don't mean work as in "go to a job that pays you money" you're going to have to put in personal effort to gain that experience even if it means volunteering.

If you volunteer, you will be able to put that experience on your resume. When you give your resume to a job that requires experience, they'll see that you have the volunteer work. You'll be more likely to get the job because you have that experience.

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Re: Getting a job with no experience - April 2nd 2014, 08:46 PM

Be realistic about what kind of jobs you can get and realize that you will be competing against people who did graduate. I would begin applying to everywhere just to start getting money.

Then try networking.
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Re: Getting a job with no experience - April 2nd 2014, 08:55 PM

maybe apply for different things like in supermarkets and shops, waiter or anything really! if I understand right you are a programmer, I mean when you apply for a job, even a really sh***y one let them know what you can do, if you did anything in school tell them or even just that you are really good at working in teams, cos that's always good!
good luck

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Re: Getting a job with no experience - April 3rd 2014, 02:58 AM

Hey Ryan,

You sound a bit like me in that you really don't want to work a job that you find demeaning. I've never worked "for free", but I tend to think of unpaid internships as exploitative. A profitable company brings in free labor in the form of student "volunteers," cutting the company's costs and distributing the "bitch work" among motivated people who would much rather be learning valuable skills. Volunteering doesn't have to be like that, however. From health care to construction, opportunities exist where you can actually make a difference and get "paid" in marketable experience and potentially career-related skills.

One thing that really helps in the job search slog is contacting hiring managers or recruiters at the places you apply. They always say not to do so (either on their website, voicemail, etc.) but I just ignore them and call/email anyway. These days job applications are less personal than ever before. They're submitted online, screened and often discarded by a computer algorithm, and you have to do a scripted phone interview with some idiot before you ever get to talk to your prospective boss! I've received two job offers this year and a callback for a second interview (which I declined), in all three cases I took the initiative to contact a company representative before being offered the first interview. None of my other online apps got so much as a second look, I'm sure of it.

Sometimes you do have to take a job you don't consider glamorous or ideal, especially when you're just starting out. I have a college degree in Neuroscience and still work in retail because I haven't found anything compelling in my field yet. I don't consider it demeaning and it beats the hell out of most entry level office jobs (except where pay is concerned), but it definitely is neither my long term plan nor my dream job. To quote a bad movie from my childhood, "Never give up, never surrender!"
Keep at it and you'll find a job worth working.

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