As many people would know, it can be extremely difficult getting a job interview, let alone an offer. As a third year university student studying human resources, I knew it was about time to start getting some work experience behind me. I began applying for some general office administration work as I figured it would not only be a great way to get my foot in the door but provide me with viable exposure to an office environment. I was eager to start work in a professional field and enhance my technology skills, communication skills and organisational ability.
Months passed and I had attempted all the traditional job hunting methods from online applications to handing out resumes and even assistance from job seeking firms, but nothing. It seemed companies heavily favour practical work experience for these roles which obviously proved unlucky for me.
So I realised that I needed to take on a different approach. Clearly updating my resume and hitting the send button was just not working for me. After getting advice from other people and doing some research, I came across three other alternatives, which have proven to be very helpful for my situation. It seemed that there are a number of options that most job candidates aren’t going:
It is becoming apparent that the #1 best way to get a job is by networking. It can be as simple as asking family or friends if they know places that are hiring, if they know people who are in a position to hire, they can put in a good word for you. It would be useful to get to know as many people who that are working in your current field and the one you hope to get into. Networking enables a door-opening introduction that your resume and application simply cannot do.
2. Direct contact
Direct contact via telephone or email will enable an advantage over competition. If you aren’t having any success finding a job then you have nothing to lose if you pick up the phone, and call and introduce yourself to the manager. Even if you are directed to apply through the website, having made direct contact with the hiring manager can be impressive and as a result may move your application up to the top.
3. Offer to work for free
Without previous experience, working for free is an effective way to boost employability. It enables the opportunity to make contacts, get the experience necessary, demonstrate skills and abilities, as well as allow you to make a substantial contribution to an organisation.
At this point, I have been given the opportunity to do work experience at RESA. This role has enabled me to put into practice what I’ve been studying at university and challenge me with real life scenarios. RESA has involved me in projects focusing on organisational and workforce development for the resources sector. It has been a real eye opener and each task has required me to challenge my skills and abilities in new and unfamiliar situations. I have had opportunities to work independently and with the team and understand their role within the organisation. Work experience is not only beneficial for future career prospects but has enabled me to be involved and further understand the HR industry and its many facets.
All in all, I am more certain now that a role in human resources is the career path I would like to continue. Being in competition with candidates which may already have substantial HR experience makes it a difficult prospect. The best way to demonstrate dedication is to work at it and go in different directions. The benefits of work experience are clear, it increases confidence and self-esteem, as well as provides opportunities to identify and develop relevant skills, explore specialisations and establish networks. It is definitely worth going the extra mile and is just what you need to stand out and get noticed.
*This blog will be updated monthly so stay tuned for more insights.