Graduates: How to get a job if you have no experience
We’ve all been there – recently graduate and fresh out of campus, with no experience. Now what? We start applying to companies that advertise for the job we’ve studied for but the saddest (and rather demotivating) experience during this time, is receiving those rejection emails or worse – no response from these companies. You start wondering, “How do I gain that experience that required, every job requires a certain level of experience, yet at the same time nobody seems to be willing to give you the chance to gain that experience?”
There are many entry level jobs in Africa available which will take on anyone with or without experience but simply put, you need to be a bit creative in your job search if you are looking for a job in your field. I have put together a guideline below which will hopefully help you land the job that will kick-start your career!
How to approach the job search creatively, as a recent graduate
Do research on the jobs market in your country:
Search online, ask your friends and enquire at campus about companies offering learnerships or internships. Within a learnership or internship job, a company will employ you for a period (generally 1 year) and will train you within each of their divisions. This is a great opportunity as you gain first-hand exposure to a professional working environment.
Make no mistake, this job will not be easy. Experienced employees, your potential colleagues, will give you a mountain of work and you will be given strict deadlines.
If you survive, then you would have gained valuable experience from a great company and you will be ready to apply for jobs that ask a minimum of 1 years’ experience (or however long duration your learnership or internship was). Or better yet, the company might extend an offer of permanent employment to you.
Approach the hiring manager directly and speak to them about your capabilities:
Hiring Managers are very busy people – possibly too busy to advertise a vacancy for an entry level position. Timing is also everything. You might speak to them at a time that someone just resigned or at a time that a need for a certain skill-set just opened. You will never know until you ask.
You will not going to earn a huge salary. Accept this.
The sooner you accept that you will not be earning a lot, the better. We often research salary surveys for the job we want and we base our salary expectations on that. As a recent graduate you need to stop doing that.
It is going to be very difficult to make a living of a basic salary but at this stage in your life, you need to think about what is more important: Getting the experience you need to advance your career, or getting paid a salary that you want even if it means accepting a job outside of your field?
Entry-level jobs are generally unpaid or jobs that offer a minimal stipend that covers your travel costs. And other basic essentials.
Update your CV
As a Recruiter, it can be very frustrating when someone asks you to find a job for them but they have no CV; or their CV is not updated with their skills.
Take the time to complete your CV and add all the skills that you have gained, which is relevant for the positon that you are interested in.
Remember, a Recruiter literally looks at hundreds of CVs a day.
Recruiters spend an average of “six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision” on candidates!
- Think about other ways that you can get exposure to the position that you want. Connect with professionals on LinkedIn and send a tailored inbox message to them. By no means harass them.
- Offer your services for free for a certain period, to prove that you can do the job.
I hope that the above helps you in your quest to land your first job.
Have any questions? Write them below and please do share this article with your friends who might also be struggling to find work.
Are you one of the lucky few who graduated and have a job lined up? What advice can you give the other graduates who are struggling to find work?
Follow me on Twitter and let’s find that job for you… @AfricaPRFowzi