/ Asked by Julio
I'm currently taking online courses and work at a full-time job that has nothing to do with my chosen career path. I don't know how to get over the barrier of needing experience to get a job, and needing a job to get experience. Internships aren't a feasible option because I have bills to pay. Any advice on how to stand out and get hired without any experience?
Answered by Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on Monday, May 13, 2019
Hi!

Thanks for the question.  That's a tough challenge that is very good question.  Unfortunately, I think the best answer depends a lot on what field you are looking to pursue.  But, I have a similar background and perhaps my story might help.

A while ago, I worked in retail and eventually moved into management and a regional training role.  I started to get more exposure into HR, but there wasn't much opportunity to move in that direction in my current company.  Also, the retail hours were really tough on the family life, and I wanted something more stable.  

With that in mind, I ended up signing up for a Master's Degree program at a local university and qualifying for financial aid/student loans.  When school started, I quit my retail job, and found another place to work part-time while I attended school.  I used the financial aid to not only finance my schooling, but also help supplement the income I lost from no longer working my full-time job.  Eventually, I landed an internship which gave me real-life experience, and paid me more than what I was making working part-time.  

When I graduated, I was able to find a job in my career field with upward mobility.  Although I had student loans, my new career path compensated me enough to make up for the difference between compared to what I was making in retail.  In addition, the hours were standard, and I didn't have to pay babysitters and others to watch our child while I was away working off hours.  Needless to say, within two years, I was doubling my retail income with a better career path, doing what I like, with much better hours.  

While my actions won't work the same for everyone, it goes to show that additional school could also help tremendously.  There were a few long days of going to school and working part-time in the evenings, but it worked out in the end.  

I hope this helps!  Good luck in your search.  
Answered by Sylvia, Hiring Expert at HP Enterprise, on Monday, May 13, 2019
Hello,
I understand the struggle and the frustrations. There may be alternative ways for getting experience. Look into joining a club or doing some volunteer work around your area of interest.
For example if you are seeking a technical degree you can reach out to some non-profit organizations to offer to build their website or enhance their marketing exposure on social media platforms etc. This will allow you to gain experience and have to highlight on your resume.
If your university has virtual clubs, check to see how they are involved with employers and the community. Some clubs are connected with employers who may be looking for talent on a part-time bases that may fit into you schedule if you aren’t taking summer courses, which would also allow you to keep your current job. There could be opportunities for project based needs the university/clubs have established with employers as well, and some may be for course credits. I would also check with the career services team regarding these relationship and opportunities. Hope this helps!
Answered by Xavier, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on Friday, May 17, 2019
It is frustrating pursuing opportunities without experience.  Many want to make a career shift but it seems as if it's nearly impossible once you have spent years gaining experience in another field.  On one hand, I would seek paid internship opportunities if possible.  If that isn't an option maybe there are opportunities within your current organization that will allow you to gain experience?  Through attending networking events it can be beneficial if you can connect with someone in your desired field and seek an opportunity to shadow them on their role.  In any sense going the extra mile to gain more insight into your desired field can help you stand out during the job seeking process.
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