FAQ: How Do I Make Up For Lack of Work Experience?

Graduate jobs, Interview Tips

November 25, 2021

Many fresh graduates and students applying for jobs and internships are faced with the challenge of not having enough or adequate work experience. This is often more common among international students because coming from different countries some have had lesser exposure to job markets compared to others. Or they find their work experience from back home unfit to be counted as such. 

This coupled with the intense competition in the job market puts considerable pressure on those applying for internships and graduate jobs. 

Instead of losing motivation or enthusiasm to apply for a job because you lack experience, you must stay focused. Use the following tips to enhance your experience and boost your employability. 

Be proactive
Make sure that you are utilising your free time effectively - engage in activities that could add to your experience. There are many ways to showcase and expand your skillset without having a job. There are several educational websites that offer free or low-cost online courses that you can undertake to expand on your skills. Some of the more well-known websites include Coursera, Udemy, edX, Skillshare, Masterclass, LinkedIn learning, Alison, and Udacity. Each of the websites offers courses on a range of subject matters as well as industry skills ranging from debate courses to formatting excel spreadsheets. Most courses will require you to take a small assessment at the end to put your skills to the test, which will help you ascertain what you have learned. 

Another way to make a lasting impression and build a relationship is through networking. The ideal way is to connect with individuals on LinkedIn, reach out to them and perhaps arrange a meet-up with those in your desired profession. As a fresh graduate or a student, this may seem a bit daunting, but most people are happy to help, you just need to ask! Build on that relationship, so that you don’t feel intimidated by the lack of work experience on your resume — you can show them what you bring to the table, instead! 

Make volunteer work count
Voluntary work is a great way to expand on your skills and build a network. Most volunteer positions are student-friendly with flexible hours and responsibilities. UKstudentlife.com and Do-it.org are two great websites to help you find voluntary work. Besides that, keep a check on your university careers’ pages as they regularly advertise many voluntary positions. 

Even if a voluntary position does not directly fit in with your chosen career path, there is still a lot for you to learn, which will ultimately show your employer your readiness for the job. 

Focus on communication
Your ability to get the job ultimately relies on how well you communicate with the employer. You must focus on how you communicate your skills, ability, and experience whether that is through your CV or the actual interview. Show the employer you are results-oriented because that is paramount in any job. In your CV and the interview, talk about what skills and activities you undertook to get to where you want to. For example, if you want to be a consultant and you took an entrepreneurial course along with networking with consultants and mastered your organisation skills, you must make sure to convey these. 

You should talk about challenges that you have faced along the way, which can go beyond your professional life. The point is to demonstrate your ability to handle challenges and work well under pressure without having adequate work experience. 

Tell the employer what you can do for them
The economy is as competitive as ever and employers are always in search of employees that can help the business grow. Whether you are applying for an internship role or a graduate job, demonstrate your interest in working with potential clients or businesses that can help the company grow. This may not necessarily be in your current job description, but it will show the employer your willingness to work for the company and be a valuable employee. 

Use examples from a time you had to fill in for a group project because your peer fell sick or talk about the time you took initiative whether that was for a university student society or at your part-time job. Demonstrate your ability to create change even if it was a small gesture because it might just be the thing your employer is looking for.

Good to know: Look for suitable opportunities

For fresh graduates, graduate schemes are a great way to start off on your career journey. And for international students graduate schemes can pave the way for a work visa, which they can utilise to find a graduate job. Graduate schemes provide extensive training and support because they are designed specifically for fresh graduates. In addition, most graduate schemes are high paid, especially in larger industries. So not only are you expanding your experience and skill set but also earning well.

Joining a graduate scheme at a well-reputed organisation will not only make up for a lack of experience but also demonstrate your skills and knowledge to future employers. Graduate schemes will provide you with several opportunities to develop and learn, which will make you a more desirable candidate for future jobs.

If you believe that you are the right fit for an employment opportunity, opt for it confidently. Relieve yourself of the idea that you are not enough and use these tips to enhance your experience and employability. 

Written by Ayesha
Ayesha is a freelance writer who writes about everything from politics and current affairs to education and careers.


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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