In our continuing effort to assist those during their career lifecycle, the following comes in response to a recent question posed by Michael:
“I am a recent graduate of the LPN course at Rasmussen College. Do you have any suggestions on how to gain employment without having experience other than schooling? Do you think volunteering is a good way to find a job? Any advice on where and how to get a job would be appreciated.”
Thanks for the question(s), no doubt what you are experiencing is felt by thousands eager to transition into their chosen career. In order to keep confusion to a minimal, I’ll break your question into three sections.
1. Do you have any suggestions on how to gain employment without having experience other than schooling?
Though few recognize this fact, experience comes in many forms, not all being formal.
Informal methods to gain experience come by way of volunteering (we’ll get to that during the next question), capstone projects, internships, externships, job shadowing, and community events. If you’ve worked at spots such as Taco Bell or Burger King, don’t sell yourself short as the time there is valuable, though mostly in the form of transferrable skills.
No matter where you find yourself, fast-food establishments or working on a school project, customer service, ability to perform multiple tasks, prioritizing responsibilities, resolving conflict (my fries are cold, what are you going to do about it?), and being productive in a team setting are all things employers find valuable.
For those who truly have no experience, your educational accomplishments must be the ticket to your first job—though most likely an entry-level one. Under this situation, I would highlight relevant courses, awards received (perfect attendance is always good to showcase), and instructor references. You can always insert insight from those professionals around, including the dean of academic affairs or your Career Director. Sharing his or her insight on your character can be effective if used wisely. There’s nothing like placing a well-written quote or reference on your resume or cover letter from a professional overseeing your educational development.
For those involved in a capstone project, take the reader along and let him or her visualize the value you brought to the team: What was your role, what issues did you encounter, how did you overcome problems, and what was the final result.
Here’s a little known secret: Employees want to hire trustworthy individuals with a passion to grow, to learn, and to contribute to the bottom line.
Ultimately, little experience does not mean little chance of securing an opportune position as long as you are grounded to reality and are willing to work your way up the ladder. Truth be known, gaining the attention of the hiring manager is as much about attitude and packaging as anything else, including experience.
2. Do you think volunteering is a good way to find a job?
Without much debate, volunteering IS a GREAT way to find a job. If you’re wondering why and how… think about the employer’s perspective.
Companies and communities are symbiotic in nature… without one, the other would not survive. As a result, employers look favorably on those who are committed to helping those less fortunate. Volunteering offers avenues to networking, which is where many jobs are found out about.
I noticed your program at Rasmussen College (on a side note, I have a great deal of respect for Rasmussen College and believe in their program and Career Services Department/Personnel—you are in good hands so take advantage of the resources they offer—special shout out to Sheila and Tamyrn) was for a LPN. With this, community involvement is extremely important and could lead to many rewards.
Career tip: While volunteering, always behave in a professional manner as you never know if the person across the room is connected to a company you always wanted to work for.
3. Any advice on where and how to get a job would be appreciated.
That’s a tough one as the right job may be right around the corner. Though it may seem old-fashioned, the concept of physically visiting companies you are interested in working for can be effective. If you decide to go this route (in conjunction with other routes), be sure and research the company before showing up. Show respect to the receptionist and always be courteous. Remember you are showing up without an invitation so not all doors are going to be open… remain calm, patient, and diligent.
One more thing, have a professional resume/cover letter prepared and always look the part.
Another way to get an inside foot is to conduct “informational interviews.” If you are unfamiliar with this method, I will be glad to cover the concept in an upcoming article… just let me know, or you can obtain additional material detailed below.
Always remember that during informational interviews, you should NOT ask for a job or a formal job interview. The purpose is to gain insight and develop a network into the company.
Career blast warning: Sending hundreds of digital resumes out without customizing each (the gunshot method) is not effective and can be detrimental to your career… don’t even think about it.
Ultimately, experience is only one piece of the job equation. Obtaining a college degree is also only one piece of the job equation. Though many lacking formal experience often sell themselves short or become discouraged, that tactic makes the slope even slipperier.
What hiring executives look for in a new hire:
* Attitude and professionalism
* Commitment to learn and progress
* Confidence and belief
* The TOTAL PACKAGE
If you can satisfy the above four bullets AND are willing to keep your job search real, you will find career success as companies can’t find enough employees with the total package.
Allow diligence and professionalism to be your guide. Volunteer, network, and hit the pavement with confidence.
Are you interested in developing your own career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters? I can show you the best strategies for a successful interview, how to take advantage of social/professional networking, and ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help you.
Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com