Lacking experience of the working world?

Applying for a new job can be daunting. The fear of the unknown is not one we humans are great at getting our head’s around. And for us students, this process can be even more challenging. Often there aren’t enough hours in the day to take in the vast quantity of information we are given. So how on earth do we build our CV’s with experience alongside all of this? Well, let me tell you.

1. Identify your skills.

Evaluate your strengths; the positive characteristics that will potentially be of benefit for the role you are applying for. List these, and elaborate on them – what makes the particular trait you hold, a great attribute for the job you are applying for?

2. Be realistic.

Don’t try your luck, and apply to the position of a doctor, when you don’t have the qualifications. Think pragmatically about what is actually available to you with the expertise and qualifications you possess.

3. Network.

Utilise the connections you have made with your peers, your lecturers, or through any previous placements you may have been on or jobs you may held. By doing this you can not only raise your profile and increase potential opportunities, but it allows you to increase your confidence and gain advice from insiders.

4. So, what makes you different?

Think about the things that make you who you are and how they make you unique. Consider your quirks; things you deem to be important in setting you apart from others who may be applying to the same position.

5. Write a cover letter.

This is what you will include alongside your main CV. This is your opportunity market the skills, attributes and experience you think would make you a good candidate for the role, as well as why you would particularly like to work for them.

6. Look for ways you can get the experience you lack.

Research the qualifications or experience required to fulfil the role you are applying to, or are aspiring to apply to. Know the role inside and out before you proceed in your application. Think about what more you have to do to put a realistic bid on applying to the role.

You see. It is possible to make the most of the limited experience you might have. As long as you sell yourself in other ways, and are sensible in the positions you apply for, there is no reason why your ‘lack of’ career history should hinder your vacancy bids.

Have a look at the resources offered by the University of Surrey’s Employability and Careers centre to help you in the processes above:

Strengths Assessment

Personality Insight

Employer tips for networking

Writing an effective cover letter

LinkedIn is also a brilliant way to expand your network and open up more opportunities:

Meg Welsh