Wait! How Much Experience Do I Need, Again?
Alternatively Titled: Why College Students Are Getting the Short End of the Stick After Graduation
I guess I could say I got…somewhat lucky after my last semester at college.
I was lucky enough to have helped a friend of mine right before I finished the semester, and so when the time came for me to move back home — and to leave behind the three part-time jobs I did on campus — she was kind enough to offer me a part-time job working with her business. She realized she didn’t have to do everything herself, and I was happy to offer her assistance from the comfort of my own home while I recuperated from writing an essay a week back at college alongside the jobs. (We’re a happy little band of nerds, check us out.)
As anyone knows, having three jobs and then decreasing to one doesn’t help pay the bills. So I found myself looking for something else to help me earn my keep a little more at home, and so I could fix up my savings account.
But finding a job — in this economy?
Around eighty-three percent of college graduates graduate without a finding a job, and in comparison to men, women had a harder time finding employment. Around forty-seven percent of women couldn’t find a job immediately after college, while thirty-seven percent of men had the same issue.
So, what’s the deal?
When I was searching for an entry-level job, there was a common word that caused my eyes to roll back in their sockets: experience.
Not just any experience — years and years of experience. TalentWorks noted back in 2018 that sixty-one percent of jobs that are considered entry-level require around three or more years of experience for an application. This is due to experience inflation, which TalentWorks describes as the fact that the work experience required to get a job grows every year, by at least 2.8%.
So what do you do when you only have a year or so of experience from your internship you managed to get in college? What do you do if you don’t have any years of experience that a company is asking for and you’re scrambling to get a job right after graduation?
Let me help.
1. You can’t spell “under-qualified” without “qualified”.
What I mean is, even if you feel that you don’t have enough experience, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, anyway. Many job-seekers give up at the sight of needing more than two years of experience instead of biting the bullet and making an attempt. These requirements tend to not be as strict as they look; they are actually ideal requirements, which means they strive for them, but can be swayed by a candidate with less experience.
So, give it a shot anyway! As long as you are within two years of the experience asked for (e.g. the job requires three years and you’ve had a year of work under your belt), you should be fine.
2. If you don’t have the experience, show what you do have and what you’re willing to learn.
I’m following up from point one, here; if you can show that you are worth having on your potential employer’s team, you might be able to swing that spot you want so bad. Prove it in your digital responses, and in interviews. If you don’t know how to do something specific they ask you, either have the forethought to start researching how to do it before your interview so you can say you’re working on it, or tell them you are eager to learn in the future (maybe in a hands-on approach at their company, y’know what I’m sayin’? *wink*).
As you can see, these answers both meld into one last bit of advice:
3. Have the confidence to go for it anyway!
When a potential employer sees that you’re willing to try and get your feet in the door, regardless of your work experience, it strikes a good chord in them. Even if they won’t hire you, your nerve will impress them, and they will drop your name when another friend of theirs in the same industry is looking for someone to help them out.
Your honesty and personality may even get you a LinkedIn invite, which again can connect you to multiple people in their network. Six degrees of separation is real, y’all. We might like to say that networking is dead, but it is super useful to have those links. You never know when you might catch someone’s eye.
All in all, have faith in yourself. The more you belief in yourself, the more your potential employer will believe in you. Make the effort, and you will be rewarded for it, in time. You can do this.
Now go get ’em, tiger.