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How should I succeed in job hunting when I don't have any previous internships/working experience?

I am almost graduating this summer and I am starting to look for jobs in the market.
Unfortunately, because of personal issue I did not get a chance to work at all during school years and that my department did not offer internships.
I am afraid that I can't compete with others when finding a job and wonder if there are ways to improve my current situation. #career #job-search #career-paths #resume #job-market

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Franklin’s Answer


Take heart. It's never too late. I think you've received some very valuable feedback from Ken S. and ShaRon B. already (network & volunteer for non-profits). These are unquestionably the activities to immerse yourself in to standout.

I'd like to add - enthusiasm and aptitude. I'd wager most hiring managers would understand you don't have a ton of experience since you're just coming out of college. What they'll be more interested in (that you have to demonstrate) is your enthusiasm (e.g. eagerness to contribute towards the betterment of the team, company, profession etc ) and your aptitude (i.e. willingness and ability to pick up and learn new things). These two attributes, in my estimate, will take you a long way in the absence of experience.

For something a bit more concrete - consider reaching out to managers or even HR at companies nearby that you may be interested to work for. Your objective is to ask for and schedule informational interviews - this means 20-30 minute sessions, in person, over coffee/tea where you're asking for advice on what it takes to be successful in a given career path. People love to tell their stories. My suggestion - take copious notes as I'm sure you'll learn a lot about what skills to acquire and how to navigate landing a job. All the best

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ShaRon’s Answer

It is NOT too late for you! I would encourage you to seek volunteer opportunities at local non profit agencies that have a connection to what you want to do. This gives you hands on work experience as well as showing potential employeers that you are committed to learning. I have seen many young people get great jobs by doing this. It also gives you a chance to build professional relationships to serve as references for other jobs and begin networking to find a good job once you graduate. Good Luck and congratulations on almost finishing your degree.

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Aaron’s Answer

Hey Hollie,

I agree with the other suggestions that you pursue volunteer opportunities. That way, rather than talking about the past, you can talk with potential employers about what you're doing with your time right now. We all come from different circumstances, we have different stories about how we got our first jobs, and there is no right or wrong path to get there. It is never too late to start building up your experience, so don't worry about that. Show them the type of effort you're willing to put in. There are plenty of ways to impress a potential employer besides a long resume. You'll be fine.


Aaron recommends the following next steps:

Find a non-profit or community organization you feel passionate about, and start donating your time
Continue your job search and continue reaching out to prospective employers
Don't worry about competing with other candidates. Put your best self forward with confidence.