I recently hired a new writer for an organization I work for. Applicants for the role were varied, but a large number were recent grads.
As I was reading the resumes, I felt badly for a lot of the people. I could see that they just wanted a chance. They’d studied communications and wanted to work in this field, but right now they were servers or clerks or cashiers.
It’s a familiar argument and one I’ve probably said myself, “The job ad says you want 3-5 years experience. But how can I get experience if you won’t give it to me?”
Here’s a tip: You may already have that experience.
Did you write for the student newspaper in university or college? Were you part of a club where you managed social media accounts and marketed events? Do you volunteer anywhere and help with brochures or other marketing materials? Are you active on social media yourself, whether it’s a blog or Instagram or Facebook?
All experience counts. 3-5 years experience doesn’t necessarily means professional, paid experience. It means do you know how to write? Do you understand deadlines, word limits, different media? Can you communicate with a specific audience and motivate them to do something?
When you’re preparing a job application, show an employer that you can answer yes to those questions.
Which brings me to transferrable skills. Transferrable skills means how can you take your volunteer experience and show how it will transfer to a professional, paid communications position.
Talk to me about the different types of people you worked with, how you took a variety of input and ideas and came up with a strategy, how you developed a communications piece that fulfilled the organization’s objectives and spoke to the people you wanted to target. And most importantly talk to me about the results. How many people came out to your event because of your work? How much dialogue did you create on social media? How much money did you raise through your campaign?
All of this will make you a candidate that an employer will look twice at, no matter what your experience was previously.