What to do if you don't have enough work experience

You need experience to get a job, and you need a job to get experience - or do you? Find out some ways to fill in the experience gap...

Look for more
This might sound like an obvious solution, but it's important to remember that it's never too late to get more experience. While you'll still be focusing your time on finding full-time work, it's worth looking for volunteering opportunities, internships and other ways to get more experience. That way, your CV will keep getting better while you're jobhunting, instead of growing a bigger and bigger blank spot.

Remember that if you're claiming jobseeker's allowance, starting part-time work could affect your eligibility.
Start your own projects
You don't always need help from someone else to get experience. Your own projects can be just as valuable - and you don't have to fill in an application. What you can do depends on the career you're looking for, but examples might include:
  • Starting a blog about the area you're interested in
  • Building a portfolio if you're looking for creative work
  • Doing extra research or study about the area you're interested in
  • Learning new skills
As well as providing some of the same benefits as work experience, this will demonstrate to employers that you can motivate yourself and work hard. You might even be able to make a little money while you jobhunt.
Think about what you do have
If your traditional work experience is lacking, you might still have useful experience that you can use to persuade employers instead. This might include:
  • Volunteering for a charity or community group
  • Helping to run a club or society
  • Running a website or blog
It's also important to make sure you're making the most of the work experience you have done. Look again at your CV and think about whether you have missed out anything from your past experience that's relevant to the jobs you're applying for.
Don't let job adverts scare you off
A job advert with a huge list of requirements can be intimidating, but you don't always need to meet everything the employer asks for. If you don't quite have the experience they want, but you think you could do the job, then write the best application you can and apply anyway. You might get the chance to prove yourself at an interview - and you'll definitely have a better chance than if you don't apply in the first place.
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