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Getting experience with no experience

The age old question – how can I get experience with no experience?! 

It’s alright – put the tissues away, we’ve got some solutions for you.

Finding work experience as a student or graduate can be difficult, especially if you’re still figuring out what you want to do after graduation or for your first full time job. If so, you’re not alone – 27% of students feel like the biggest career obstacle is not knowing what they want to do!

Luckily, you don’t actually need a job to build experience, as there are numerous ways to create your own. In this article, we’re going to give you 5 great ways to get work experience as a student without a job or internship. Let’s get started!

Learn Industry Specific Software

Is there a piece of software, website or programme you know is used frequently in your industry? Download it and learn! It’s sooo simple, but lots of people quite honestly can’t be bothered. You can stand out by taking the plunge!

If it’s pricey, sign up for a free trial and dedicate as much time as you can to learning the ins and outs before it runs out. A foundational knowledge can take you a long way. 

Watch YouTube tutorials, the amount of free information there is out there is mind boggling. All it takes is time and commitment to learn something new, and we know you have bucketloads.

Examples of software to learn can range from something as simple and easy as Slack (tonnes of companies now use Slack for internal comms), to more industry specific software like the Adobe suite, the Bloomberg terminal, or WordPress. You don’t need to know it inside out, just be familiar enough to figure it out as you go. 

Create Your Own Experience Through Personal Projects

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t create your own work experience. If there’s something the job description is looking for that you don’t have, consider how you could do it on your own. 

Need social media managing experience? Make a social media account and grow its following, take the stats and results to put on your CV. Need copywriting experience? Start your own blog to link in a portfolio. Need experience in reaching out to clients? Practice your outreach and relationship building skills on LinkedIn by selling a service freelance and see how you get on. Even if you get zero clients, it’s a learning curve you can take a huge amount of experience from. Especially in terms of what works and what doesn’t.

No matter what experience you need, there will be a way to make it yourself. You just need to be creative!

Alternatively, you could start a personal project where you complete a mock brief or industry task. If you’re stuck for a project to work on, look online, ask your tutors, ask a mentor, create one for a brand you love, ask us. There’s so many ways to create a project that will develop and display your skills that you can go out and do on your own!

This work can then be shown off on LinkedIn, in your portfolio, during interviews etc., the sky’s the limit.

Complete Online Certifications or Training

As with the industry software, there’s no reason why you can’t create your own experience by completing online training or certifications – loads of which are completely free! 

This will be particularly useful to you if you’re not sure what you want to do after graduation and are looking to try out different things. Give it a go, add them to your CV and see what feels right. 

Volunteer Somewhere 

A pretty simple one, but something that not only makes you look (and probably feel) good, but also one that will give you loads of skills and experience to write about in a CV or job application. Even if it’s just an hour or two a week, this could make a huge difference. Check out our article on employability and volunteering here.

Identify Your Transferable Skills

Even if you think you don’t have the exact skills they’re asking for, chances are there’s something that seems unrelated you’ve done in your life that is actually super applicable to the role. 

Don’t have pitching experience? Actually, yes you do. From university presentations, from the society you joined and recruited members for and from that powerpoint you made when you were 10 explaining to your parents why you needed a puppy. Okay, maybe not that last one. But the point is, you’ll have a hell of a lot of transferable skills that you can use in a job application that you might never have considered before.

Basically, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get your experience within a company. If you have the skills and can prove that to a potential employer, that’s all that matters, it won’t be considered any less impressive. If anything, it shows a huge drive, motivation and hunger to succeed in your industry. (Hint – something to mention in your applications!)

In case you didn’t know, we run internships and also can give your CV a look over if you’re struggling to get your experience and skills written up. You might also want to check out our article How To Write A CV If You Have No Work Experience (10 Things To Include). You can thank us later!

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