How to Get Job Experience When You Have None

“I applied for a job to get experience, but I didn’t get it because I have no experience”

A few years ago I was hanging out with a friend of mine who was complaining about not getting a call back on her job application for a management position.

Since I had known her, she had never had a job, so I asked her to tell me what she put down under her experience.

You guessed it; she didn’t have anything down.

The reality of applying for a job is that more often than naught you need to prove that you have experience in order to even get a call back. Many people think this is a never-ending cycle as you apply for a job to get experience, but you don’t get the job because you don’t have any experience.

Fear not! There are plenty of simple ways to get experience to put on your resume that won’t result in you pulling your hair out of your head.

School and extra-curricular activities

Obviously, any and all higher education should be featured on your resume; however, there might be experiences from your time in school that can help fill your resume.

For example, clubs like the student newspaper, yearbook, speech and debate team, robotics team, or any education related clubs are all valuable experience. Think about it: if you are applying for a writer’s position, your four years of serving as the news editor for your high school newspaper are still four years of writing experience!

If you are still in high school or college, talk to someone from your school’s career services department or student activities department about what you want to do for a living. More often than naught, there is an extra-curricular activity on campus that can give you some real-world experience!

College student employment

Believe it or not, if you’re in college, your school probably has a ton of open positions. Colleges are typically in constant need of new student orientation leaders, campus tour guides, clerical staff, and more! You can expect a more lax interview process as most of the time the school is trying to fill the positions as quickly as possible.

Talk to someone from career services or check on your school’s website for postings!

Not only are these jobs valuable experience, but more often than naught you’ll get paid while you’re at it!


Although volunteering means you aren’t going to get paid, it does mean you will get valuable experience while also getting some self-fulfillment.

If you don’t know where to start, local churches and homeless shelters are a great place to start. If you are looking for something a bit more industry specific, here are some examples:

  • If you’re looking for a job in writing or editing, offer to copy edit some of your friend’s or classmate’s essays.
  • If you are looking to one day work in construction, check out Habitat for Humanity and see if you can help them build a house!
  • Hospitals are always looking for volunteers if you want to work in medicine.
  • Animal shelters also need help if you want to be a vet.


We are going to preface this by saying that internships are not for everyone. If you don’t have the time or resources to work a job that probably isn’t going to pay you anything, then they are not for you. However, if you are still living at home and have the time, they can be a godsend.

Internships not only provide real-world experience, but they give you experience working for a company that may one day hire you. From time to time, an internship ends with the company offering the former intern a job! You shouldn’t rely on this because a job is not guaranteed, but it is a possibility to keep in mind!

Internships are often posted on the same websites where you go looking for jobs. If you’re still in school, you can ask the career services department, your school’s job postings, and even professors about internships in your area.

You very well might already have job experience!

There are plenty of things you could have done that can qualify as job experience. Here are some common examples:

  • Helping to host a public event
  • Assisting with a live performance
  • Volunteering at your school or church
  • Helping at your parent’s or sibling’s job
  • Fundraising

Any of these activities can look great on a resume, and help you land a job!

Crafting the best resume with your experience

Remember to stay positive, and keep at the hunt to find a job! Also, remember that all of experience opportunities we mentioned in this list are also great opportunities to network and to meet industry leaders who can write you a referral! There are jobs out there that would be lucky to have you; you just need to put your best foot forward, and that starts with a great-looking resume. If you need help crafting your resume or cover letter, than we can help! Check out our online schedule, and get a free consultation to meet with a resume writing professional!

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