What Lack of Experience?

In a job market where experience matters, how are college students supposed to deal with their inevitable lack of work experience?  

While it is never appropriate to misrepresent yourself to appear more experienced, there are better ways of dealing with these types of questions than simply saying, “No, I don’t have any experience.”  Our team at Beyond Graduation has put together a few tips that will give you a better defense when questioned about your experience…


1.  Determination

While every potential employee is going to consider themselves “driven” and/or “determined”, it’s certainly not the case.  The importance of the energy that youth can bring to an office is a very important commodity, but make sure that you are able to show that the energy is directed.   Be prepared to show how your previous work experience justifies being classified as “determined.”


2.  Quick to Learn

It’s always important to let the potential employer know that despite your lack of experience, you will be quick to learn the tricks of the trade.  A big fear for many potential employers is having to train and re-train employees without any experience, especially in a market flooded with experienced workers.  Let the employer know that he/she will not have to “babysit” you and that with a little guidance you’ll hit the ground running.


3.  No bad habits

While employers may be interested in hiring experienced workers, there is one inevitable draw back.  Bad habits.  A great aspect of hiring fresh recruits is that employers have the opportunity to train them in a manner that best meets the needs of their office.  When hiring moderately experienced workers, there is always the possibility that the person was “let go” for certain behavior, inefficiencies or other problems.  Let the employer know that you’re a blank canvas.  


4.  Internship Experience

While you may not apply for the jobs that are looking for candidates with 3-5 years of experience, many employers are often willing to collaborate your internship time into actual work experience.  Example:  You’ve worked three summer internships in PR and a part-time job through your senior year.  This could very easily be considered a year of work experience.  If you have the internship experience, take the time to apply for the jobs that are looking for someone with 1-2 years.  Make sure to address the situation in your cover letter and make a case for why you believe your internship experience should be considered work experience.  


While many employers may still be taking advantage of the weak economy and job market by hiring experienced workers at entry-level salaries, don’t despair.  There are benefits to a lack of experience and the freshness of a college graduate.  At the end of the day, the name of the game is selling yourself despite the obstacles before you.  Best of luck!


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