Help for Inexperienced Job-seeker

Anonymous writes:
Hi! I am a college student about to receive my bachelor’s degree in business management. I would like to know what advice you can give me about job seeking because I have no experience. I feel so useless and the reason why I don’t push myself to get a job is because I am afraid that employers will look at my empty resume and
think I’m not worth anything.
I have done some volunteer work at health centers where my mom worked. I have not done any internships nor am I trying to get involved with one. Please tell me what I should do. My mom tells me to just tell employers the reason I haven’t worked is because I am in school but everyone I know has had at least one job. Please help!

The Career Doctor responds:
Sadly yours is not an isolated situation. We get numerous emails from college students who are about to graduate with little or no actual experience. And I need to make a mini-lecture here and say there is simply no excuse for any college student not to have some kind of work experience through summer jobs and/or internships. There are just so many advantages to gaining work experience from learning first-hand about corporate culture and office politics to gaining a better understanding of your career path and learning valuable skills.
In your particular case I see two issues.
First many — if not most — employers recruiting college graduates especially business-school grads want the students they interview to have some work experience. That work experience typically occurs through internships and summer jobs. Why did you avoid getting an internship? You probably should have some sort of answer prepared in case the question is asked.
Second let’s separate and define the differences between work and experience because I think you are being too hard on yourself. You may not have “worked” but you do have experience. Let’s look at all your volunteer experiences and your class projects. Through your volunteering at the health centers you probably acquired numerous valuable skills that can easily transfer to the workplace. And if your business school is like most you probably have been involved with numerous major projects in your classes where you also learned and employed new skills.
I strongly recommend that you go to the Transferable Skills section of Quintessential Careers to learn more about emphasizing your set of key skills.
Finally I would also recommend that you immediately go to the career services office at your college and work with those professionals to build a job-search strategy designed especially for you. You’ll be able to find a job but it’s going to take developing a resume that focuses on your key skills and experiences using your network of contacts and implementing the advice from the career services office.
Best of luck.
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