Why Having Experience Means More Than Your Degree and 5 Ways To Get Hands On Experience Quick

Sometimes people get held back from pursuing a job because they feel that they have not obtained as many credentials. Does that feel familiar? I know it does for me!

When I graduated college, I remember feeling so stuck when it came to looking for jobs. Not only was I unsure of what jobs I would be eligible for, I would read the job description and pass on every single one of them because I did not tick all the boxes of previous requirements.

Because of this, it took me a whole year of odd jobs (seating hostess, nanny,  office work) to finally land my first full time salary paying job! And even this first full time job was something that I would never have thought of applying to.

I got my first job through one of my family friends. They had a connection with the company and urged me to just apply. It was a marketing and sales company...but I had studied health education so what the heck was I supposed to know about marketing?

During the interview process, I was very honest when I did not know something and I stressed the point that I was VERY WILLING TO LEARN. I demonstrated times in all my odd jobs since high school that I had to learn quickly and talked about how I had to think strategically when it came to all the different experiences I had picked up along the way. THIS WAS MY GOLDEN TICKET which leads me to tell you that experience and willingness to learn is way more important than your credentials--especially when you are starting out after college!

With that being said, let’s dive into some ways you can get experience fast!

1.) Get a side gig

Having a side hustle is a really easy way to gain some extra experience! You can do this very part time and also get a little extra money to support yourself with. I often would work at my local yoga studio as a front desk associate a few hours per week or to do a thorough clean for the studio once a week.

Some ideas for a side gig could be: gardening/mowing lawns for a few people in your local area regularly, working at a coffee shop, nannying during after school hours, or maybe you could even become a part time virtual assistant for someone.

2.) Volunteer

This goes without saying, but volunteering your time to help a cause you care about is a fantastic way to gain experience! This is the type of thing that a lot of companies look for in hiring someone--not to mention its fun and rewarding when you are helping a cause you are passionate about!

Some ideas of places to volunteer: Love animals? Look into volunteering at your local animal shelter! Like construction? Look into Habitat for Humanity-- its hard work and very hands on! Get involved in things like beach cleanups, park restoration, volunteering at schools, etc.

3.) Pull from your on campus leadership experience

This is a big one! I am sure that you were involved in campus life at some point in your time in college, so flaunt it! Did you hold a position in your sorority? Were you involved in a campus club or other organization? Did you TA a class?

4.) Make your hobby a shareable passion project

This one makes me so happy! If you are passionate about something, make it shareable and show it off! If you love to knit, start a knitting club and make hats to donate to the homeless shelter in the winter. If you are really good at graphic design, market yourself for your services and do little side gigs when they come around! If you love coming up with recipes or are into fashion, start a blog and share your insights and tips and tricks with the world! If you are an artist, start an Etsy shop!

5.) Babysit or become a part time nanny

Babysitting and Nannying were an incredible way for me to learn and grow as a person. I always felt that the kids were the easy part...but it is the parents that require a little strategy and navigation! Every parent is different and therefore you have to be able to anticipate needs and recognize personalities quickly in order to be successful at meshing with the family.

This is something I used during interviews as a strength, as it is very important for you to take a seemingly simple and common experience and use it as leverage to show you think outside the box.

Now I want to hear from you! What are three things you can do right now to gain experience? Share with me in the comments!

Loads of love,

Jess