A job seeker wrote to tell me that she is having trouble finding the kind of job she wants. Even when she manages to get interviews, the employer tells her she does not have enough of the right kind of experience for the job.
But as so many of you might be asking, if you need more experience before someone will even give you a chance to do the work, then how can you ever possibly get that experience? It seems like employers are asking you to do the impossible!
Interviews but no job offers
Here’s part of what the job seeker wrote me, with a few edits to help summarize her points:
Dear Ronnie Ann,
I have been going on lots of interviews but not landing any jobs. I reached out to my past interviews to get some feedback. They all pretty much said the same thing that personality wise I would be a great fit for most organizations. So that was good.
In fact they said that I’m a great candidate in many ways, but that I just need more experience. But if they won’t give me a chance, how else can I get more experience?
At the moment, I’m in a position where there’s no room for growth. Since I’m employed its hard to take on other things to gain experience to land a job elsewhere. Any suggestions?
My response to her question
Here’s what I told her, with some edits and additions to help other job seekers reading this:
Sounds like you have something many people don’t have … a great interview personality. That’s a big plus. But without the right experience, as you’ve been seeing, it is still hard to get someone to take a chance on you. But the good news is that it can be done.
You’re already thinking about some of the things you need to think about. Often in your situation it just takes more time and more interviews to find the right one.
Also having someone push for you from the inside is a big plus. And so is networking to help get you an “in”. This article can provide some useful networking tips:
Getting more growth from your current job
You say there’s no room for growth where you are now. But, although it may not be obvious, you can often find ways to help create growth opportunities for yourself. Is there some new skill or type of project you want to take on?
Sometimes sitting down with your manager for an honest talk can open up opportunities you didn’t expect. Especially if you ask for their help, but also come armed with possible solutions, a willingness to work hard, and genuine enthusiasm. If their answer is no, you’ve lost nothing. At least you’ll know you tried.
As for things like volunteering, finding some freelance work, or learning a new skill on your own in your spare time, as hard as it may be, small steps now build toward future change. Hard doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
The extra effort now can pay off big time later
Maybe even a few hours a week after work or on weekends (volunteering for a non-profit or working for a local company or friend / relative) can pay off big later on. So can going back to school part-time. I’ve worked while taking classes twice, so I know it can be done – even if you need to do it online.
And whether in person or online, a benefit beyond the things you learn are the people you might meet. Again, the more people you meet while pursuing new goals, the more opportunities open up. I can vouch for that personally. It only takes one “right” person willing to help.
Also, sometimes to change direction, you might need to look at jobs that offer a chance at new skills, but still really need the ones you already have. And if it pays a little less but helps you move in a direction you want to go, that’s a career move worth thinking about. Any money lost now can be seen as an investment in your future!
More articles to help give you ideas:
Good luck finding a solution that works for you, VG.
~ Ronnie Ann
One more thought about using transferable skills
Although VG may really need more experience before any employer will give her serious consideration, sometimes the way around the not-enough experience problem is showing how your past experience is easily transferable to the new job. It may not work, but worth a shot. I’ve done it.
Since the employer called her in, they must have seen some possibilities. It could just be about making a strong enough case for yourself. If an employer likes you enough, and you can help connect the experience dots for them, they might just give you a chance. Here’s a post on the topic:
More articles to help