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Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

How do you get experience (job)

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7858 points ) February 6th, 2012

Most jobs require experience in the related field some will say experience is even more valued than a degree.
I’m a high school student, and so this occupational dilemma is weighing on my mind.
How do you get a first job in order to gain experience in the first place? I don’t want to lie on my resume, but I am always baffled at how I am supposed to get a job with no experience if it will be my first one.

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10 Answers

lemming's avatar

You could volunteer? But you’ve probably thought of that already.

wundayatta's avatar

My first job was working on a dairy farm. I ended up learning how handle heavy equipment (tractors), and manage hay fields, as well as managing the process of taking calves from their mothers and training them to eat on their own.

Right now, I could turn that into a resume that would make me a top management candidate. Unfortunately, it took me thirty years to realize that the skills I learned in that job made me a valuable commodity. I used that knowledge to build my first business. That business didn’t make a profit, but it taught me a lot about building infrastructure and planning and managing and taking risks.

Again, I didn’t understand the value of my first work experiences at the time. Now I do. Don’t look down at anything. You will be learning much more on the job than you realize, and if you know how to identify what you learned, you’ll be able to build a very powerful resume.

Judi's avatar

My first job was at Taco Bell and my second was in a nursing home. This is why I am going to go now and answer your next question about why you should go to college.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@Judi Did that Taco Bell job require experience? How did you get that experience to get that first job?

Judi's avatar

Taco bell didn’t require experience. They happened to be out of applications that day and she gave me a receipt to write my experience on. (this was before copy machines so resumes for this type of job were unheard of. )
I wrote my volunteer experience and my accomplishments as a campfire girl.
It was a horrible job and lasted maybe 2 months.
The nursing home job I got because my sister was a secretary there.
Sometimes ( most times ) it’s who you know.

YoBob's avatar

Ok, harsh reality is that the job you have in high school is not likely to be a major career stepping stone. High school jobs are generally things like burger flipper, car washer, etc…

When you go to college, vocational school or other training to build yourself a career you should take full advantage of any intern programs offered. These are also often sucky menial positions, but at least they are in a related field and give you the opportunity to prove your worth. Regardless of whether or not it works out with the company you interned for, at minimum you will be getting out with a degree and something to put on the resume, and often times those intern jobs actually turn into real employment after graduation.

YARNLADY's avatar

You work for a family business, or do intern work. Find a job counselor who can help you identify the work you have already done that might actually qualify you. It does not have to be a paid job, but can be based on life experience.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@YARNLADY I work for my sister as an “administrative assistant”. I do things like write emails for her and data entry and filing etc. I do get paid, but I don’t know if this should be counted as experience because she is family and I work from home. I never actually go into an office setting.

wundayatta's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess Work from home is work and is most certainly resume fodder.

Paradox25's avatar

I think that this varies with each career field. I had a difficult time landing a job after graduating from my first technical school for the very same reasons that you’ve mentioned. It seems like an endless loop; “I can’t get a job because I have no experience but I can’t get any experience because I can’t get a job”, over and over again.

I got my first break by taking a job at a local manufacturing facility unrelated to my field and then bidding on a maintenance tech opening at the same company. I had my foot in the door because I already established a reputation as a quality worker, I already worked for the company and I at least had the degree and certifications from my schooling related to that field.

In other cases you can take a lower paying job related to your education level just to gain experience. Also, some technical/vocational schools help students that graduate to find jobs, and I’ve always thought that many college graduates gain experience through internships. I don’t know what your personal situation is and I can only describe my own scenerio that seemed similar to what you’ve described.

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