By Madeleine Bokan
Applying for entry-level jobs can be frustrating, especially when one of the requirements is 1-3 years of experience. You’ve probably thought to yourself, ‘how is that even possible? I haven’t even graduated yet!’ So, in our latest Generation Hired webinar, presented by Bumble, we asked two women that question, Julianne Skrivan, Her Campus Media Senior Associate, Campus Marketing & Community and Jenna Freitas, HCM Senior Brand & Editorial Designer. Here are their tips for gaining experience while still in school.
Lean into hands-on internships
Start by researching entry-level job listings applicable to your projected career path and see what skills are required. After you’ve completed your research, seek internships and ambassadorships where you can begin to acquire these skills and build real experience! For example, Jenna was a student-athlete in college, so she didn’t have time to travel for an internship and instead, was able to find a role as an intern with her college’s athletic department. Once the team learned of her design skills, they promoted her to work on game and event promotion materials like posters and social posts, projects that would often be completed by a full-time employee.
Find a mentor and request feedback
Having internships on campus isn’t the only way your college can help you gain these ‘years’ of experience. Take advantage of any alumni mentorship programs your school offers to learn from people in your field or major and what their career path has been like since graduation. These conversations can provide valuable insight, not only to this person’s professional day-to-day, but you can also utilize this relationship as a sounding board for career advice and by requesting to share your materials with them for constructive feedback. Their notes will help polish your resume bringing a stronger level of professionalism to future applications.
Show examples of your skills in action
Similarly, make sure your resume shows your skills in action, instead of touting on vague job descriptions. Get specific and share what you accomplished in various internships, jobs, or ambassadorships. Whether you owned or assisted on projects, explain what you did, what skills you used, what the results were, and how you were key in achieving the team’s goals.
Foster authentic connections
Both Jenna and Julianne shared how mentors and recent alumni were crucial in getting them to where they are today! Not only can they guide you and help refine your resume, but they can also directly refer you for a role, or provide a letter of recommendation! If you have strong connections at your dream company when a job is posted, you may be at an advantage. Talk to your contact to see if they too think you’re a fit and would be comfortable connecting you directly with the hiring manager to discuss the opportunity and your relevant experience and background. A strong first-hand recommendation is so much more valuable to a recruiter than someone who has the perfect experience on paper.