How to land those jobs and internships requiring “past experience”

By Erica Tackett


Being only a freshman, I’ve recently went through the issue that so many college students run into when looking for internships and jobs: “We only hire those who have previous experience.”

The main problem with this? How are you supposed to get experience, when all jobs require that you HAVE experience? It truly is a vicious circle that many college students find themselves trapped in. But what I have found, is that there are ways to avoid it, you just need to look at the bigger picture and realize that what you’re doing now will pay off in the future.

 Volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer! I cannot stress this enough. Whether you’re working for a non-profit organization or you’re taking on a role in a student-run society (like Hubbell!), volunteering will get you the experience employers are looking for. Volunteer work may not be the most glamorous, but it will look great on your resume and help you get that paid internship down the line. Plus, companies LOVE individuals who are willing to help out the community.

Don’t be afraid to be “annoying”.
Annoying may not be the word, but when it comes to “getting your name out there”, being assertive and persistent can be the key to your success. Don’t be afraid to email a company acquiring about potential internships they may be looking to fill next semester. And if they don’t respond, send them a follow-up email! It never hurts to ask about openings within a company. The worst case scenario? They have no openings. Plus, if they see your name enough, they may remember you down the line when you apply the following semester. Just remember the fine line between being persistent and truly being annoying!
Your Hired

Though this has already been imbedded into our brains, it’s still an important factor to remember when looking into getting an internship. You may be in contact with a recruiter from a company before you have the qualifications to fill the position. But don’t let that defer you, utilize that contact in the future. Keep the business card and shoot them an email down the line when you’re looking for an internship; they may remember you from a year before.

Don’t look down on your “side-job”
A majority of college students think that their waitressing job, or receptionist position is worthless when it comes to landing an internship.  Though it may not be a good idea to put this on your resume over the volunteer work you’ve done that relates to the internship you’re applying for, it still is a tool to keep in your back pocket for the interview. If the employer asks you to describe a time when “this this and this” happened, utilize that position! You can use any past experiences you’ve had to relate to the real world, it’s just a matter of figuring out HOW to do it. Examine transferable strengths that your new employer may find useful.


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