How can someone gain job experience if companies would always hire someone with a college degree and experience?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
This is a great question and it's probably one of the preeminent issues facing new college graduates who are entering a very competitive job market. I think in many ways the generation before us did the current generation a great disservice in leading us all to believe that obtaining a four year or graduate degree was the key to gaining traction in the job market. While at one point this was true, the market has moved far more toward favoring experienced hires over the last 10-15 years, even for positions that were commonly reserved as "entry level positions."
I think the key thing to remember when you are trying to gain job experience is that internships are actual work experience. The more internships a person can have, the better success they'll have landing an interview based on resume alone. In this era, having internships that pertain to the field you're hoping to work in full time after you graduate are pretty non-negotiable. If anyone is reading this and they're still in college, take heed. That unpaid internship in the marketing department at the Smithsonian is probably a better long term investment than the well paying camp counselor gig you're considering.
For those who've already graduated college and are facing the woes of feeling like you just need someone to give you a chance so you can gain valuable experience, I can offer a few suggestions:
- Volunteer somewhere. You're not working right? So you should have the time. In conjuction with job hunting, find a way and a place to serve in a meaningful way. You'd be surprised how many organizations would go gung ho about a freshly minted college graduate contacting them to offer up themselves in any way the organization sees fit. Most people I know who are Social Media Managers for example, first gained their experience by working pro bono and getting their feet wet in running online marketing campaigns and such. It's also a fantastic way to network. There are people with great connections in organizations who are sure to put a good word in for you with the employer of your choice if they saw you demonstrate great work ethic even when you weren't getting paid. This is how I got my first corporate job. Volunteering also gives you the chance to take on responsibilities you may not have the opportunity to touch until 3-4 years into your career. And all of this is work experience!! It counts and it can go on your resume!
Get out there and hustle!
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