How to gain vital work experience

It’s a problem faced by many job seekers in Zambia: employers want to hire people with experience, but how can you gain experience when employers often refuse to consider candidates with no experience?

This dilemma can be particularly frustrating for young people looking to start their working-life.

In this special feature we explore several reasons why employers want experience and how you can fill the gap and improve your chances of getting a job in Zambia.

Is experience important?

Employers often (but not always) require applicants to have prior experience. Why? Candidates with experience are often deemed to be able start work immediately without specific training. They are also able to bring their own experience with them to the new organisation.

How to overcome a lack of work experience

1. Put knowledge into practice. You can show employers your potential by putting your knowledge into practice. For example, if you have studied accountancy why not volunteer to help any friends or family who have a business with their book-keeping? Alternatively, you could offer to work part-time or as a summer intern for organisations who rely on volunteers such as charities and church groups. Similarly, if you are interested in becoming a journalist why not put theory into practice by conducting interviews, writing articles and contributing to actual publications? Again there are lots of businesses, charities and other organisations who would be happy to have the help. This will help give you the practical experience hat employers want.

2. Explore the alternatives. Do not dismiss jobs in alternate sectors as experience gained in one sector can often be transferred to another. For example, it is possible to transfer the communication, organisation and negotiation experience developed in a customer service role to numerous other professions. You may not have your dream job but at least you will have taken a few steps towards gaining some experience and showing employers that you are prepared to work hard – employers value this.

3. Be pro-active. Try to put yourself in the right areas to give yourself the best chances of achieving your goals. Always have a copy of your CV to hand and be prepared to quickly explain your skills, experience and suitability. Be open to vounteer and work opportunities and utilise the tips outlined in our articles How to plan a job search and 8 different ways to find a job.

Further Information

To find more careers articles visit: Careers Advice

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