What to Do If They Say, “You Don’t Have Enough Experience”

February 3rd, 2012

It’s an age-old dilemma. You apply for the position you want, but you’re told, “We’re sorry, but you lack experience.” Your first thought is, Well, how can I get experience if you won’t hire me? Fortunately, there are options for coping with this issue and for building up your resume for future job-seeking endeavors.

Start by looking at things through the recruiter’s eyes. She probably has dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants vying for the same position you are. A quick scan of your resume indicates a lack of experience in a critical area–just the excuse she needs to move on to the next candidate. Your goal is to make her see something there, aside from on-the-job experience, that makes her think twice before taking that step.

Look closely at the job description. What types of skills and abilities are they looking for? Maybe you have more to offer than first meets the eye.

Think back on your college experience. What courses did you take that helped you gain knowledge in the field you’re interested in? Did you participate in school projects or do a relevant internship? What other extracurricular activities might relate to the desired position?

What are you naturally good at? If you excel in organization or writing or dealing with people, these are skills you shouldn’t leave off your resume. Other valuable abilities might include knowledge of a foreign language, IT or other technical skills, a knack for research or problem-solving and being able to get things done on your own. All of these attributes are potentially attractive to recruiters. You just have to highlight them in a way that works on your resume.

There are many different types of “experience.” Did you work part-time while completing your college degree? What about volunteer work? For someone relatively new to the job market, there’s nothing wrong with listing these activities, as long as they demonstrate the kinds of skills and initiative employers are looking for.

Get experience through staffing agencies. When it comes to gaining real-life experience, temp work through a staffing agency certainly counts! You have the opportunity to work hard and demonstrate to future employers that what you don’t know now, you’re willing to learn. Plus, it’s a great way to network.

Whether you’re looking for a temporary position, or your next career opportunity, Meador Staffing Services can help you take the next step forward.

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