I’ve worked with people seeking employment for the last eight years. As you might imagine, I’ve encountered my fair share of frustrated people. One of the most common complaints is how to obtain entry-level experience in a field where positions require 2-3 years of experience. This can be a very frustrating conundrum indeed. Here’s a few tips on how to get over that hurdle.

Search for Keywords Instead of Job Titles:

Don’t give up on finding entry-level opportunities, just be creative in your approach. Search for key words and terms instead of focusing on specific job titles. Instead of entering titles into job boards search specific skills. Let’s take HR for example. HR is one of the most difficult fields to break into. Sometimes even entry-level jobs require over two years of experience. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to gain experience. Search for terms like ‘onboarding’ and ‘staffing’. Copy and paste a desired job description into the Onet Soc Autocoder. This will help you to pinpoint key terms to search for. Considering the fact that job titles rarely tell the complete story of a person’s duties, you may have to focus on the things you would like to do at work as opposed to the title.

Consider Alternative Options:

Let’s stick with the HR theme from above for a moment. You can always look into comparable industries for a smoother transition. In career development this is referred to as a bridge job. Take positions that will help gain experience with the end goal being to move to your field of choice later down the line. Staffing is a great alternative to HR. You can easily take your experience in Staffing and move to a more HR related opportunity down the road.

Internships/Volunteering:

I know, not everyone will be able to volunteer or complete an unpaid internship. We have bills to pay and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. As it relates to volunteering, usually you can work with the company on a schedule that is mutually beneficial for both parties. I have seen many people convert volunteering into an actual job at the place they gave their time. Internships may be a bit more structured schedule wise, but if you have the time to complete an internship, by all means, do it. Internships look good on your resume. Sometimes you can even find paid opportunities. Treat your search for an internship just as you would a job search. One way to find potential internship sites is to search for companies on your local chamber of commerce website. Search the directory based on the specific industry you are interested in. Most companies can use some extra help. Once you find companies that are of interest to you, contact them directly. They usually have their contact information (name, email, phone #, and address) listed on the site. You can create a custom cover-letter addressed to them and send it to them inquiring about volunteer/internship opportunities. Don’t solely depend on job boards for internship opportunities, go directly to company representatives.

LinkedIn:

Networking with industry professionals is a great way to find out what employers are looking for and how to enter into a particular field. If you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile, here is a resource that will help you while networking on the site. Connect with people at the organizations you’re interested in and attempt to build relationships. You will find this to be a great tool for finding out about opportunities (including internships). You may also want to connect with people who hold positions you have targeted and pick their brains about advice for entering a particular field.

Staffing Agencies:

Staffing agencies are yet another resource you can use to find entry-level opportunities. It’s always good to have someone else working on your behalf to find openings for you. These companies have both long-term and short-term entry-level positions that can give your resume a much needed boost.

Courses:

There are many places (such as Udemy) where you can find free or cheap courses that will look good on your resume. Udemy is a great resource where you can find free or very cheap courses in nearly any field taught by actual industry professionals. Not only will you gain knowledge, but this will also show your passion for your field. Courses such as the one mentioned above are definitely a good way to stay up to date on the latest changes in your field.

Trying to get experience when it seems like every place wants you to have it to obtain a position can be frustrating. The tips I have provided above will help you get around this scenario. Sometimes you just have to be create opportunities for yourself. Considering alternative options, utilizing staffing agencies, networking on LinkedIn, and securing an internship or volunteer opportunity, all require that you own your career. You must be proactive and conduct research on what the market requirements are for entering your particular field and start getting experience on your resume. Not waiting around for an opportunity to fall in your lap or solely depending on a degree for entry.

I have helped many people find career happiness through my business Career SkyRocket LLC. If you need assistance in a job search or with developing  professional marketing materials (resume, cover-letter, LinkedIn Profile) check out my packages here: http://careerskyrocket.com/career-coaching-packages/

Also if you enjoyed this article feel free to view some of my previous work. Here are some of my more popular articles:

How Your Job Can Help & Hurt Your Business

Advice For The Frustrated Job Seeker

Is It Time To Leave Your Job?