Finding Paid Experience

By Paisley-Anne McGale

You are about to graduate from University and decide it is time to apply for graduate jobs. After spending the past few years studying and working towards your degree, you come across what looks to be the ‘perfect’ position. The only problem is that the essential requirements state that you need previous work experience – which you do not have. This is a common issue for current graduates which can make job hunting a daunting period, so do not panic! It does, however, leave us with one question; how can you find paid experience, when most jobs require you to have experience already?

Demonstrating a hard work ethic and the ability to continuously learn and develop will be valued when job searching.

– Paisley-Anne McGale

1. Try Freelancing

Freelancing is a great way to gain experience by learning on the job. If you have a skill you can present to potential clients, such as being a quality writer, you could offer to write their blog or social media posts. You may also be fluent in another language meaning that you can translate pieces of work. These are just a couple of examples of skills where you can essentially get started straight away. Websites including Upwork and Freelancer are great examples of platforms that allow this transaction.

Another way you can offer your services is by reaching out to your local community. This includes researching local businesses or asking friends and family if they know of anyone who could profit from what you have to offer. Not only will this look great on your CV, but you can show off your personality and create connections that you may benefit from in the future!

2. Learn as much as you can

Being knowledgeable and passionate about your area of expertise will show future employers how engaged you are. By demonstrating your ability to continuously develop will not only show self-motivation but a willingness to learn. There are so many free online courses available right now for all areas of studies on websites like FutureLearn, Harvard Online Courses and Google Analytics for Beginners. Many provide certificates once the course has been completed which you can advertise on your LinkedIn profile for recruiters and employers to see.

A recommended app called Mimo is also a great method to learn how to code and programme HTML, Java, and Python in a bite-sized, fun way. Various other online methods can boost your employability, you just need to be motivated to search for them!

3. Create a skills-based CV

Firstly, remember that all work experience is experience, even if it is unrelated to the industry you would like a job in. You will have built up soft skills throughout these jobs, therefore, you should showcase these, and a skills-based CV is a great way to do so. This includes swapping job titles for relevant skills that are related to the role you are applying for, effectively highlighting your talent. By emphasising your achievements and incorporating them within the appropriate skill will show what you can do, not just what you have previously done. As hundreds of applications can be submitted, a skills-based CV may be what is needed to grab the recruiter’s attention.

4. Attend Networking Events

Networking events are so important for your career and many benefits can come from them. Those attending the event are more than likely similar to yourself, allowing you to create connections with like-minded individuals in your industry. You also never know who you are talking to – they may be a potential recruiter or employer and can assist your career. If this is the case, following up with those individuals on LinkedIn is a great way to maintain connections and continue conversations. Networking events can also provide a chance to hear about current trends, making them great learning opportunities. Additionally, if you have not yet had a job interview, these events can be a great way to practice talking about yourself and learning how to sell your skills.

This quick guide showcases various ways you can gain experience to find a successful career. There will be other approaches available to you that have not been mentioned, but you must not overwhelm yourself! So many individuals will be in the same position as you, so please do not feel alone. Demonstrating a hard work ethic and your ability to continuously learn and develop will be valued when job searching.

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