A Graduate’s Biggest Challenge

Landing a good job when you have no experience

It’s that time of year again – a new batch of college graduates, their hopes high, spills out from the nation’s campuses. They are eager to join the workforce, but as they start interviewing for a position, many of them encounter a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – a catch-22, if you will. The problem is, most employers want someone with experience. They would rather not be stuck with a newbie, full of book knowledge, who needs to be re-educated in the ways of the real world and may possibly need his/her nose wiped, too.

For you, the graduate, getting hired is the only way to get that precious experience. Yet they wouldn’t hire you because you have none (and do you really not know how to wipe your nose?). Hmmm, what to do, what to do? Now you may be rethinking that summer in college when you turned down an internship to go to Cancun with your girlfriend (who dumped you anyway).

That’s the best way to completely bypass that catch-22 – make college years count towards your experience. If you are still years away from entering the job market, you can easily do it. Find jobs – part-time, internships, even volunteer – that are related to your field of study – they’ll make up the bulk of your future resume.

But if that Cancun summer is already in the past and you are about to face a recruiting manager, think back on everything you did in you course of studies – a lot of that can be presented as relevant experience. And there are more ways to clear that experience hurdle – get advice from experts (including yours truly) in this Forbes.com article by Jacquelyn Smith.