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How do I get my first job without any experience

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Kimberly’s Answer

If you are going to college, internships are a brilliant way to get your foot in the door. Most are unpaid, but often lead to a position at the agency you worked with once your internship is complete. It's a way to show a company what you have to offer, sort of like a trial-run for the company.

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Julianna’s Answer

Hi Diana,

For me, the hardest part about looking for my first job was having no experience. I 100% understand your frustration!

I got my first job through a referral. My mom worked at an independent living facility, and they needed servers for their meal service.

That's how I got my foot in the door to start building my resume. While it was not in the field I wanted, it was a job. So, I had income and was able to get real-world working experience.

And, the best time to look for a job is when you have one.

Internships are also great. If you can get an internship* in your desired field, this can help with:
- Building your network for your dream job (even if you aren't offered a full time position after the internship, you'll have contacts in your network that you've built relationships with. Keep in touch with them, so you can stay top of mind if other opportunities arise)
- On-the-job work experience

*Please check on the laws for internships in your state. Some states require that internships must be paid, or that you receive college credit. Unpaid internships may also be illegal, so keep an eye out for that.

Good luck!

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Tom’s Answer

Hi Diana. Always a challenge, right? Everybody had a fist job.

Here's how to do get one, how to get yourself unstuck from that, and what future employers are looking for.

Here's how to get started. There are almost always somewhat unattractive jobs that will include in their job announcements "No experiencing necessary. Will train". (They are pretty much just looking for warm bodies, but they pay.) So search for those on job boards and Craigslist. Often these jobs are high turnover since they are not particularly attractive, BUT, they will give you a place to gain some type of experience. So, search for 'no experience necessary'. Also search for "entry level" jobs. Entry level and 'no experience' are kinda the same thing.

Now often these are not jobs you may want as a career, but you will be gaining some work experience. So, often people go into these jobs while looking for something else. So, the plan to extract yourself from the less than career job is to line up another one.

How do I do that??

Here's what future employers are mainly looking for.......skills!! What can you do? So if you were say a cashier someplace as an entry level job, the skills required for that are not inconsequential. To do it you need to be reliable, polite, know how to run the cash register, be responsible for making change if needed, being alert to fraud or theft attempts, etc. etc. Those are skills and that's what employers pay for. you are starting out in those entry level jobs keep a running list of all the skills you are acquiring. Skills get you the second job, after that it is a combination of skills, education and personal traits.

Welcome to the club of first time job seekers!! Good luck.

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Paul’s Answer

I did a couple of things while I was in college that gave me experience.

  • I worked on campus at the computing center working on the mainframe computer for running jobs at the time. It was related and gave me a chance to study since it was shift work.
  • My university had a cooperative education program that I participated in the second half of my sophomore year. This was a full semester of working (paid) with a company that participated in the program. The program was planned as a year so I ended up working a summer and an additional semester. This extended my time in college but gave me great experience. The nice thing was the employer let me work part-time when I was back in school and offered me my first job out of university which got things going.

Paul recommends the following next steps:

See what types of programs your university may already offer to get experience with industry while you are in school.

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Diana,

There are some jobs that do not expect you to have any experience. Your challenge will be actually wanting to do the job since many of them are food places or movie theaters. And this is a hard time for both of those types of places with COVID. You need to focus on the fact that any job can be a first good job. It is not something that you have to do forever and you will get a lot out of it. If you are worried about having experience, try volunteering with a local charity. Then you can gain some experience at some skills while not having to do it for a long time. You should be flexible and take any opportunity to work as a way to learn new things.


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Mario’s Answer

Hi Diana,

I agree with everything posted so far on here. It's also important to highlight important achievements in your life up to that point; such as any volunteering work or an school related accomplishments. It's also important to be consistent and slightly insistent. Whenever you apply to any position, it's a good idea to follow up a couple of days later. In my experience, I usually at least get a response from someone in the company which can lead to an interview.