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No Experience, No Problem: Job Hunting with Just a Degree

Recent college graduates face one of the hardest setbacks when they go job hunting: lack of experience. Employers spend a lot of energy reviewing applicants (by the hundreds sometimes), and as a result must be very scrupulous in their decision making process. This can sometimes cause the recent graduate to be weeded out of the final cut before they get a fighting chance. Without experience and just a college degree, a resume can appear bare and extremely under qualified. With so many applicants competing for the same position, finding ways to stick out can be difficult, and even more so with no experience under your belt. In such a situation it becomes more important to market yourself to make yourself stand out.

Internships should always be considered when trying to flesh out your resume. Thousands of companies offer a chance to gain experience through internships and volunteer work. They can often be more easily acquired than an actual job, and can be highly valuable in that they can give you a chance to get an exemplary look at the work environment of your particular field. Internships can be a great way to build contacts with supervisors and network with other professionals. In some cases, companies have been so impressed with the work of an intern that they will offer permanent employment after their program is completed.

A good cover letter is also another factor not to be ignored. Some research might tell you that a cover letter isn’t always needed, but this is just not so. Drafting a compelling cover letter with each resume you send out shows how dedicated you are at the pursuit of employment. Research the companies you apply for and make a well-written convincing case for why you think you should be employed by their particular business. A cover letter that stands out amongst the pack can help you to get your foot in the door. From there you can make your case in an interview, so don’t underestimate the power of a unique, creative, but professionally written cover letter.

Networking can also be a powerful asset, one of the most important in fact. Social networking sites, job fairs, internships, volunteer work, friends, and family members can all be included in your search to find opportunity. More than half of jobs in the U.S. are gained through recommendations and strong networking skills. Ask around for help, send out notices and bulletins online, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone with connections. The more effort you make the better your chances of gaining recognition.

When you are faced with the disadvantage of a lack of work experience you have to substitute what you lack for what you can control. You can expand your searches, apply for more entry-level jobs, create captivating resumes and cover letters, network with everyone you meet, and seek out internships to build your own experience during your job hunt. There are always options out of the problem, but it’s up to you to take initiative. Doing so could mean the difference between landing that job you want and coming up empty handed.