How many times have you seen a job posting for an “entry-level” position that requires years of relevant experience? Searching for jobs can easily become frustrating for undergraduate students and recent college graduates when most of today’s employers are looking for someone who has already held a similar position. You can’t start your career until you have a college degree, but your college degree does not give you the experience that employers typically require, so where do you go from here?
Here are our tips on how to market yourself to employers when you don’t have job experience. It’s all about showing off your skills!
- Capitalize on the skills you have gained throughout your college education. Every presentation you have given has helped you improve your public speaking skills. Every research paper you have written has helped you refine your writing skills and given you experience using Microsoft Word. Every group project has taught you more about collaborating with other people and working as part of a team. Public speaking, writing, and teamwork are all abilities that employers look for in potential employees! Mention these abilities and experiences in your resume and job application and be sure to speak more in-depth about them in your interview(s).
- Don’t forget about the skills you have acquired from your extracurricular activities. If you have served as an officer of a club or head of a committee, you have gained leadership experience that employers are seeking! If you and a select number of people in your club, organization, or department were tasked with researching a topic, planning an event, proposing a policy, or something similar, tell your potential employer. They want to see that you have been given responsibilities and that you handled them well.
- Promote the skills you obtained elsewhere. Have you always been creative and inventive? Did you learn how to effectively speak with customers at your previous job? Does professionalism or problem-solving come naturally to you? These are skills that other applicants may not already have, so definitely share them with your potential employer! Show them that you can bring something different to the table – something that another applicant may lack or need further training.
Good luck, Captains! We know the skills you have learned at Christopher Newport University and elsewhere will propel you into new waters.
As always, the Center for Career Planning is here to help you as you prepare to market yourself to employers. Stop by our office (CNH 305) or call us at (757) 594-8887 to set up an appointment for resume and CV reviews, job search help, or a mock interview.