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DIY Experience

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux 

Photo from JESHOOTS.COM in Unsplash

Are you beginning your job search and are a little frustrated to find that every single opportunity wants some kind of experience and you just graduated? Well, you are not alone. I see that frustration a lot and I get those questions. My advice for you is that you can make a way where there seems to be no way. What do I mean by that? I mean you can have your own experience. This is how I break it down: experience is the application of theory.

If you have been going through say a bootcamp or some kind of training program, instead of just reading the course materials and doing the book, start working with the tools that they are talking about, build a project, even if it is small one that you can do in an afternoon or a larger project that you can do end to end so that you can see how the tools respond in different situations. That is where the experience comes from. It is so that an employer knows that they can leave you to your own devices and you will be able to figure out a solution and get work or assignments done without 20 million questions. 

20 questions might be good. 20 million might be a lot for the rest of the team, and that could be a problem. But also they need to know that they could give you your assignment, go off, do something else for 20 minutes, come back, and see that you are making progress. There is a plan and there is a course of action as opposed to 20 minutes or two weeks, you will still be in the same position wondering how to get something done that is not conducive to getting the business going.

Experience is about you communicating the value that you bring with what you already know you can do and your ability to learn on the job because there is no way any company or any person could realistically be able to understand all the things that could come up in any given situation. You can make your own experience. Make your projects, volunteer and work with other people so that it is not just you in isolation, freelance if your skills are conducive to that. There is a certain level of pushback, but there is a certain level of engagement and interaction that happens when there are other stakeholders or when there is a customer who does it like anything you are doing. Some of these challenges are important to see your way through, and that is the kind of experience you can make for yourself that you could take into an interview and get that first job.

Not getting any interviews is a bummer. However, you can empower yourself. A couple of things that you can do if you are sending out applications and you are not getting any interviews is to use tools like job scan.co to evaluate your job applications versus the keywords on the job description themselves. That way you have a greater chance of getting through the ATS or computer system that gets in front of the human or recruiter so that you could get your first interview.

If you have been trying things like that they are not working, consider looking at if are you answering the question or if you just sending out the same resume and cover letter that could apply to anybody. The employer is not going to feel special. Customizing your application materials so that it shows that you meant to send them directly to them can be part of what helps to set you apart from everybody else so that you can get that first interview. 

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