How to get a job with little or no work experience

Written by

John Ingram


July 6, 2018


how to get a job with little or no work experience

Thousands of students graduate each year with the hopes of landing an ideal job with a top company or organization. Sadly, many soon find out that getting a job can be extremely challenging when all you have is a college degree and little or no prior working experience. As a recent graduate or soon-to-grade college student, there are a number of things you can do to strengthen your profile and put yourself in a position yourself to get that ideal job. Below we provide some tips on how to go about getting a job when you start out with little or no work experience. 

Build a strong personal brand or professional identity

Use LinkedIn to showcase your skills, post your resume, and connect with alumni and recruiters in the companies or industries you want to work in. Having a professional Linkedin profile, even when you have little in the way of working experience, goes a long way to putting your name out. Many corporate recruiters use Linkedin for finding and researching prospects. You want to make sure you are putting yourbest foot forward. This means paying attention to details regarding how your profile looks, including photo, title, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.  

Start networking

Networking is a key attribute to a successful career. As a recent graduate or college senior, this may mean attending an “open house” at a local company or job fair which requires business attire. In these venues, you may only get two minutes in which to speak to a company recruiter so practice your “elevator speech” and be concise and focused.

Work on building or expanding your skill set

Besides experience, employers are also looking for specific skills. In addition to sending out  applications, take the time to identify the top 2-3 skills that consistently show up in the roles you are applying to. Typically, these might include soft skills like communications, or hard core skills like IT, programming and the like. For example, if you are looking to get into IT, you may want to sign up for a part-time coding or programming certification course at institutions like General Assembly and Codecademy.  Acquiring one or two certifications is likely to give you an edge, even if you lack the years of experience that most jobs typically require.

Freelancing can be your path to job success

A great way to build up your resume is by freelancing. Not only does this give you the opportunity to add important work experiences to your resume, it can also be a way to meet new people, round out your skills, and gain confidence. Here are a few examples of freelancing opportunities that you may want to consider. 

  • Upwork this site is essentially a platform from which you can bid on projects or jobs and, once accepted by the potential client, product work and get paid. This site allows you to develop ‘hands on’ experience and build a portfolio.
  • Tutor if you are an expert or very knowledgeable, in a specific subject, why not help someone who may be struggling to learn about it and get paid too. There may be positions available at your school as well.
  • Transportation is something that everyone needs and relies on. There are opportunities to earn money while driving for Lyft, Uber, and others. Keep in mind that your car insurance policy may need to be changed or you could lose it.
  • Other sites include Fiverr, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Arise Virtual Solutions, Gigster, Work at home, and Guru.
  • Hackerone offers many programs with different sponsors and they pay ‘bounties’ or financial rewards for discovering bugs. Obviously, the more you find, the more you get paid while gaining experience.

Seek Volunteering Opportunities

As a volunteer, you will in most cases have to work for no pay. But if you choose your volunteering organization carefully, paying due regard to the work content and potential exposure, the experience will be invaluable. Many reputable organizations seek volunteers including the Peace Corps, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and national and community service organizations.

Some opportunities may include scholarships or grants for students and others offer a scholarship for service including the U.S. Government’s STEM program. 

You May Also Like to Read…

Graduating but don’t have a job? Here are your next five steps

How to snag your first job after college


Written by:  John Ingram

John Ingram is a former Marine, a retired Soldier, engineer, and self proclaimed geek. He is located in Maryland and is currently a freelance writer.

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