'I’m Educated, I’m Interviewing and I’m Not Getting Any Offers'

Hi Dorothy, My two Master's degrees are in International Business in 2008 and International Relations in early 2010. I was looking for a middle management role given my education and I have had 10-12 interviews over five months but I get stuck in the interview process because I do not have work experience. I have had interviews for the position of a Research Associate, Business Analyst and other marketing roles. I look at job portals to an extent but most jobs there need somebody with experience, so I look at people with a marketing profile on LinkedIn and apply to such companies, I did get my last few interview calls through my job search on LinkedIn only. But now I seem to have hit a dead end as I have applied to most companies. I also do not have great networks and feel lost when others with similar profile as me get jobs through their relatives and friends whilst I have nothing in my hand. I do not possess any work experience other than a six month internship and and some volunteering experience. I do possess two Master's degrees though. But I am not getting the right job - which I thought I would after two Master's degrees in Management. I am 28, desperate for a job and quite frustrated. What should I do? Hi N, Generally speaking, obtaining a position as a manager in most businesses does require experience – not necessarily as a manager but in the content/process of the area being managed. Is that the case 100% of the time? No, I do know of companies that have “management training programs” where you don’t have to be experienced in their particular business. Generally, that is in a retail setting. Nevertheless, they want to train you in BOTH their business and their way of managing. Going back to the prior scenario, the fact you have also pursued positions in non-management positions is good and in fact, best for your strategy. You need to get a position that will get you into a company and then grow into a management position. The reason why businesses rarely let an inexperienced person (even with education) take on a management position without experience is because of the complexity. You are leading people and that’s complex all by itself. It is hard to lead people if you can’t relate to how the work is being produced. You also have to be a role model, so they need to know you can be a role model, have a good work ethic and know the business well enough to know how to produce. Think of it like reading about flying a plane – it’s too complex to take on simply by educating yourself; you need experience to be fully capable. I think you are “over reaching” by pursuing management positions right now unless you want to pursue retail management. I would suggest looking for individual contributor positions and grow into management. The one thing you’ve said that does concern me is your interviewing. With 10-12 interviews, statistically you should have had an offer by now. I’m going to suggest you do some post mortem to figure out where and what is going wrong. You mention the “stuck” spot is finding out your lack of experience. That should have been fairly obvious simply by looking at your resume, so the surprising part is they went ahead to interview you knowing your background. I’m going to make a couple of guesses for you to fold into your reexamination of this process.
  1. They may think your background and education is interesting enough to drill down far enough to see how much depth you have despite the lack of experience. They may be looking to “hear” more insight, wisdom and understanding of the demands for doing the job and simply not hearing it. That means you need to ask more questions of them to find out what they’re looking for. Or...
  2. You might be overly focused on your “lack” – so you might be sabotaging yourself by your own perspective.
Only a couple of ideas but you need to seriously look at this part of your process and see what kind of trend is going on. Lastly, I know this is tough. You emerged out of college at one of the worse points for employment in several decades. Consider using your education by volunteering, they need the help and it will help you garner more experience. Not only that, it will help you stay upbeat while doing a very tough thing of finding a job. Good luck! Do you have a career question you want Dorothy to answer? E-mail her at dorothy@nextchapternewlife.com. She will answer all inquiries and will keep your name confidential if she publishes your question. Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, founder of New Chapter New Life, is a life and career coach, speaker and author. She is well known for her unique insights and deep knowledge about people and careers. Please visit her website and download her FREE e-workbook called, “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Get the Most out of Your Job in a Tough Economy!” Frustrated woman image from Shutterstock

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