Without Experience I Hesitate To Apply For Entry Level Jobs

by Danielle Yung
(Chicago, USA)

I'm willing to play the gofer intern. Just gimme a job!

I'm willing to play the gofer intern. Just gimme a job!

It has been very hard for me to know whether or not a job post fits me now that I'm done with school.

At times the experience that employers require has made me hesitant to apply for a job, because I'm not even sure if I have the 1 or 2 years of experience that they keep asking for.

The economy hasn't picked up yet. Finding work has been hard for me. I've been using a temp agency to find temporary work. This helps me to network and to gain experience. My hope is that this year something positive will happen for all my friends who are looking for work.

I just need a position with a company that offers career development. I'm willing to run coffee for them just to start.

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----- Arturo's Reply to Danielle -----
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Danielle, I remember completing my internship at a specialty foods importer in Los Angeles while I was finishing my Master's degree, knowing that this would help me secure a better opportunity after graduation.

By then, nevertheless, I had already worked my way full-time through school for 2 years at a manufacturing plant, while carrying two-thirds of a full-time academic load and commuting over 60 miles daily between school and work.

I used to wake up at 4:30 AM, to be on the road by 5, clocked in to work by 6, left work at 2 PM to make it home by 3 to wash up and eat and be in class by 3:30. I'd not return home to wife and kids until 8 or 9 PM, and then I stayed up studying until 11, only to repeat the entire process again the next day. I did this, like I said, for 2 years. And by the end of that period I had already garnered 4 years of full-time work experience.

Now, let me ask you a question.

Knowing what I've just told you, would you think that I had "paid my dues" as an experienced adult and employee by the time that I finished school in my mid 20s?

Yet despite all this work, did you know that immediately after finishing my graduate degree when I tried to enter the field that I wanted in hi-tech, I was told that I had no experience to work in the entry level job that I'd applied for?

Of what good were all those years of work experience and proven responsibility then?

Don't fall into the temptation of thinking that having experience is really what employers want from you.

What they want is confidence in knowing that, while being a person that they'd like to spend the day with, you will also do the required work better than anybody else. They want to know you're the right choice because you're the most beneficial selection they've made all year.

Often you have far more experience than you realize to accomplish this very thing. But you likely lack the know-how necessary to convince someone of this fact.

Groveling won't fix this. The more that you appear to fawn to receive what you'd like from an employer, the less likely you are to receive it. Instead you're more likely to be abused.

Playing a go-fer-it guarantees it.

Don't play the gofer. Play the salesman.

What are you selling?

What's your benefit proposition?

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What If Entry Level Employment Didn't Require College?
by: Ginger

I remember reading at a site called The Smart College Grad an article about employment life after college. The writer spoke of what he called the "college graduate dichotomy."

He said that college consumes so much of our time doing papers, research, dealing with professors, exams and even friends that the college experience ends up sucking the majority of our time. The typical advice is to concentrate on our studies. So we do that. But the trade-off is that we neglect what we will need after school life is over. That's job experience.

What happens then? Well, the obvious happens. We end up struggling to get hired after graduation.

Lots of grads are not getting work today. They're working in retail, parking cars, dish washing or pouring out coffee like me for frazzled middle-aged office workers visiting Starbucks. It's no surprise that the longer we stay at these jobs that we used to think only high school students would settle for, the more we settle for them ourselves despite our 4-year college degrees.

I'm so bummed out about it I want to cry.

Basically this thing he called a dichotomy is just the same old Catch-22. But I just don't know how to get out of it. I can't get a job without experience and I can't get experience without a job. So I'm stuck and getting more depressed by the day.

It's come so that I hate the smell of coffee!

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----- Arturo's Reply to Ginger -----
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Ginger, my heart goes out to you. You're facing a trying experience and, as you've said, you're not alone. Many other students can sympathize with you.

It is very hard to learn that barista is just Italian for soda jerk.

But, you see, I think you need to view your current situation a bit differently to make some headway. Don't settle down with a job you hate only because you think you can't get out of a dilemma.

When you realize that one of your premises in your argument regarding this so-called Catch-22 situation is false, then your conclusion of hopelessness must also be false.

First, look at working at the coffee shop as being a stop-gap situation. That means it is temporary (and it truly could be, if you get laid off).

Then, understand that to split the horns of a dilemma you must define your terms precisely. Are you truly inexperienced? Or are you inexperienced in relation to something specific that necessitates specific experience to accomplish?

Don't guess at this. Know it.

Have you gauged what experience you do have and what advantage it can offer someone else in need rather than yourself?

Until you can answer these questions with directness and exactness you will continue to muddle your way through life without purpose or direction.

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