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How to overcome when you don’t have any employment experience

One of the biggest challenges our clients face in navigating their career paths is their own perception around the concept of having “enough” employment experience. They work hard on their education and network with key players in their dream fields, yet as they read job descriptions, they frequently worry if they qualify for the opportunity.

In the meantime, here are four ways professionals can overcome the experience barrier:

1. Do something. In other words, don’t wait to get hired. Experience takes many forms, whether or not it comes with a paycheck and benefits. Can you volunteer or create a project to build your experience and portfolio?

2 . Keep tabs on your mindset. Ask yourself: Do you think you deserve the position, or are you stuck in a vicious cycle of self-defeat. By taking action and creating a strategic plan, it will help you feel confident when you are applying for jobs and the interviewing process.

3. Focus on business development. In today’s increasingly competitive economy, the fastest way to become invaluable to a company is by helping grow the business. I know some of you may not consider sales, but it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. From there you can prove yourself and look at other opportunities within the organization. Plus your newly developed sales skills will pay dividends throughout your career.

4. Find a mentor/advocate. You should lean on your family, friends and alumni network to see if there is anyone at a particular organization or in your field who can help you with your question of how can I gain experience. Set up time with a mentor to seek their advice on ways to build your skill set for your dream job. They will hopefully provide you with ideas on how to build up your experience quickly. They might even help you land a new job.

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