How to gain work experience (without work experience)


Millennials know the frustrating cycle of applying for a job without having any work experience. Gone are the days of having no experience whatsoever but still ending up with a great paying job that pays enough to cover tuition and support a family of 19 (okay that last part was a bit exaggerated). Today millennials are facing a tougher job market and find themselves up against job requirements like those that state “entry level position, must have 30 years of experience”.

There are also the entry level positions  that require you to have job experience but how do they expect you to get job experience without an actual job.These struggles are way too real for many people and  many of us have been there (myself included) but there are ways to outfox this completely unfair system


Many  organizations are always looking for volunteers. Some organization will advertise the positions and other times its just as simple as looking it up on the internet or calling into that organization to find out about their volunteer program.  The  best  part is that you can volunteer based on  your interest, career orientation and work around your free time. Better yet you don’t need a lot of experience to volunteer in a lot of places. Volunteer opportunities give you transferable skills i.e skills that can be applied to other jobs positions. It also a great way to get your foot in the door, from my experience as a promotions officer whenever there was the potential for hiring we always looked within our volunteer team first. So, volunteering could land you an actual job within that organization.

*tip* don’t always wait for someone in the organization to approach you when a position opens up. Talk to whoever is in charge, let them know about your interest in the position and tell them how your experience volunteering within their organization makes you a great fit for the job.

Start from the bottom

Sometimes you’ll have  to take a less than perfect job that’s willing to accept any and  everybody to gain transferrable skills – which is the holy grail of employment.  This allows you to gain skills that will be useful at other jobs and can help you get your foot in the door. Besides If Drake can start from the bottom why can’t you?

Take initiative

 When there are no opportunities, you’ll just have to make your own. Start your own business, club  or organization. When I say business I’m not asking you to build a large multinational overnight but look for a skill you have, develop it and market it.  For example, if you  are  great at  hand lettering, you can start an Etsy store selling handmade cards, it might not make you a lot of money (it can if you market your store well enough) but now you not only have business experience but customer service as well. Better yet it shows that you can take initiative and be a leader. There  are different governmental grants, scholarships and contest that will give money to help  sponsor  a business idea. In Canada the government has a summer company program where successful applicant are given money and mentorship to start their own business, look into programs like this in your country or region and take advantage of it.

You can also start a club , or join one and help run it, this shows not only leadership but depending on your position you could gain administrative skills, computer skills, event management etc and all these are skills that are useful in various careers across the board.
*tip*  change employment history to work history on your resume, it might be a subtle difference but employment implies you were paid for it , whereas work could be any work …..including your volunteer experiences and It sure looks better than “no employment history”