Earlier this week, when I was the guest lecturer in an undergraduate / 4th-year psychology class, one student asked how she could get an entry-level job when most employers require 2 – 3 years of experience.
This is a great question since it probably applies to many students who are in their final 5 – 6 months on campus. For all those students out there who have worked part-time while taking classes, you may soon be perceived as “lucky.” You’ll be seen as lucky because over the past 3 or 4 years, you’ve probably worked enough hours during the summers and other breaks from school, and during the regular term that you probably have sufficient experience. No doubt it’s been tough to work during most of your “free time”, but you’ve probably reduced the amount of student loans that you needed, and now your resume may have more depth than it would have if you hadn’t kept working. For everyone else who only worked during the summers, you should have about one year of work experience if you add up all of your summers. That’s not a bad place to start either.
As a next step, think about any volunteer work that you have done while a university student. If those volunteer roles add up to more than a month or two, they are also worth listing on your resume. First, this will show other skills and experience that you may have gained. Second, some employers may count this toward your work experience. If you’ve done any co-op or internship hours, definitely add those too since you should have developed some transferable skills while a co-op employee or intern.
So what’s the takeaway? Try not to sell yourself short. It’s likely that you have learned something from each job that you’ve had so give yourself credit and help your future employer screen you in for further consideration since you have some experience.
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