I’ve had numerous young adults ask me how to get experience when every company is requiring experience. This is a great question and I dive deeper in to this question in, The Recruiting Snitch. For now, I’ve listed the top 5 ways to get experience and land your first job.

1. Become a Sales Representative:

Arbonne, Mary Kay, Cutco Knives, Prepaid Legal, Tupperware, Sentsy, and Advo-Care:
All of these “own your own business” companies allow anyone to work for them and sell their products. Each company requires a small startup fee for the products but you will earn that back with commission. Working for one of these companies will teach you how to sell, develop business, manage income, and best of all, network. Through your networking you may meet someone who would be open to providing you with an opportunity, boom you just landed your first job. Finally, you can put all of this experience and your sales achievements on your resume.

2. Provide a service:

If you live in a neighborhood, chances are someone needs a lawn mower, someone to pick up sticks, pull weeds, rake leaves, wash their car, and so one. If you live in a climate where there is snow, I’m sure someone needs their drive way or walk way cleared. There may be an elderly man or woman who need some help around the house or in the yard. Your neighbors are great resources to help provide a service for some income. You would treat this as your own business. Go to www.vistaprint.com and for $10 you can order 250 business cards with your name, contact information, and the services you provide. Go door to door and talk to your neighbors. Don’t sit in the house, get out and go talk to the people that live in your neighborhood and solicit your services (lawn mower, raking leaves, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, shoveling walkways, picking up sticks, washing cars, etc). Then, when you receive your first job from one of you neighbors, be on time, be efficient, treat it very seriously, and show thanks. Also, ask them to refer you to their friends. Once you get a few people who use your services feel free to bring your friends to help you and split the cost. The person who hired you will like this because it shows you are smart enough to bring someone to help to get it done faster. Then guess what you just did? You hired your first employee. From this experience you will gain some income and you will gain business experience. After all, you created a business and provided a service, which will look great on your resume.
If you aren’t so fond of the physical labor of yard work, another service you can provide is to babysit for different families in your neighborhood or network of friends. The first step is to receive your certification in child CPR and first aid at your local community center or hospital. Most of the time these certifications are a small cost, but worth it. Once you’ve received your certifications do the same as above. Go to www.vistaprint.com and for $10 you can order 250 business cards with your name, contact information, your certification numbers, and the services you provide. You can solicit your services in your neighborhood, local churches, and your family and friends. When you babysit for a family be the best babysitter the children ever had. Be on time, keep the house clean, don’t make personal calls or use their computer, and don’t eat their food unless offered, play with the children, bring a bag of fun activities for them, make a craft, and keep them active. Make a list of everything that happened while you were there and present the list to the parents upon their return. Thank them for trusting you with their children and ask them to refer them to their friends and family as well.

3. Volunteer

By volunteering you are actually gaining experience. You are meeting people and networking. Volunteering gets you involved in the community and will offer you more options for employment down the road. If you become a leader at a certain organization you can put that on your resume as leadership experience. If you are helping to raise money for a non-profit you are gaining sales experience. If you help organize an event you are getting project management, event planning, and leadership experience as well. All of the many roles you play while volunteering will provide you with what you need, experience.

4. Join a networking club

There are numerous young professional networking groups in every state and city. Go on the internet and research your area to find a group you are interested in. A great site to use is www.meetup.com as well which tells you what’s going on in the area. I’m a member of Orlando Business Professional Women and while most of us have a career started, there are also ladies that attend that may have just graduated college or are looking for employment. They come to the meetings, participate, network, and help the club. By joining a group like this or attending these meetings you are networking and you are also gaining experience. You may be asking howI am gaining experience by attending.Well I’m not telling you to justattend; I’m telling you to participate. In the last meeting I attended, the President asked for help with setting up the next meeting. The person who volunteered was unemployed but she now is gaining event planning experience, it’s that easy.

5. Don’t be picky

I’m sorry to say but at this time in your life there isn’t a job that is beneath you. Life is about building blocks. You have to look at each job or opportunity as a building block to get you to that next level. If someone offers you a dish washing job in the back kitchen at a local restaurant and you don’t have any experience, then you take it. You are now in daily contact with a chef, a business owner, other servers, a bartender, and will provide you with a work ethic to get you to the next role which may be a server. Then when you are a server you are now in contact with customers. Treat each customer as if they were the hiring manager for your dream job. Treat each customer with the best service you can provide. I told my cousin this and after one week of working at a restaurant he received the business cards of 2 people. One was a producer for his favorite radio station and the other was an art gallery owner. Moral of this story is you need to start somewhere, so starting at the bottom is good as long as you understand you need to be the best at that job so that way you can move up to the next opportunity.

After reading the 5 ideas discussed I hope I’ve shed some light on how to gain some experience to get your career started. I’m living proof that this works. I started as a babysitter for a few families in my hometown. After 3 years of babysitting, the father of one of the families I worked for offered me an internship at his company. Lone behold, 9 years later I’m an established recruiter, business owner, and now Author. Talk about starting from the bottom….

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