How do you get work experience when you don’t have any experience?

It’s a dilemma faced by jobseekers, particularly the younger ones, up and down the country: how do you get a job without previous experience and how do you get experience without a job?

This is a challenge for jobseekers in almost every industry and is an incredibly frustrating catch-22 for those who are just starting out.

So how do you beat it? It’s time to think outside the box and look at other ways of demonstrating your capabilities in a real-world environment.

Think extra-curricular

Whether you’re back at college, still at university or currently job hunting, getting involved with some extra-curricular activities will look great on your CV.

This could be anything from getting involved with a society at university, to joining a local sports team. Not only will you gain employer-friendly experience – organisational skills, teamwork, communication, to name but a few – but you’ll also have access to a network of likeminded and potentially helpful people.  For example, if you are interested in a career in film or TV then get involved with the filmmaking society at university; you never know, you might be rubbing shoulders with people who can open doors for you in the future.

Get involved at your former college

Giving up your time to help a good cause always looks fantastic on a CV and gives you the chance to show off your employable skills in a real-world environment. And where better to do this than at your former college?

We’re often looking for former students to come back and help shape our current students’ futures, so it’s a win-win situation! It’s up to you how you get involved; it can be as simple as helping out an open event and speaking to guests about your college experience, or perhaps returning to the classroom to speak to students about your career journey since leaving college. Whichever way you get involved, you’ll be able to prove your hard work and commitment to employers.

Click here to learn about getting involved at The College. 

Use your connections

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and while this may be a slight over-simplification it certainly doesn’t hurt to make the most of the people you know. If you have a family member or family friend working in an industry you’re interested in, why not see if they can arrange some work experience for you? Even if it’s just for a week or two, the experience will look great on your CV and could even turn into a permanent position.

Don’t know anyone in the industry you’re interested in? Try writing to a selection of relevant companies to enquire about how they manage work experience opportunities – there’s absolutely no harm in asking and it might open some doors.