Dear J.T. & Dale: I’m a recent graduate of the University of Utah. After graduation, I moved from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. I am trying to get a job here, but even though I’m applying for entry-level jobs, like bank teller or airport ticketing, when I’m answering the questionnaires, I feel like I am required to have a lot more work experience. I had only three short-term, part-time jobs while in college. – Ann
DALE: Part of your problem is that you moved from a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country to the state with the highest unemployment rate. So you might consider moving back temporarily to build up some experience.
If that’s not an option, you need to change your approach. Entry-level jobs that require no experience are the easiest ones to fill, and thus are the most likely to be filled by friends and relatives of people already working there. You need to find a way to slide into that group. The best way to start is by joining the alumni association of your university. You’re likely to find people eager to help a fellow Ute get started.
J.T.: Yes, you need to network your way into interviews. Then, when experience comes up and you haven’t worked in a particular type of job, substitute life experiences. Maybe you volunteered while in school, or worked on class projects.
Here’s an example: “While I’ve never been a customer-service rep, I was in charge of several major fundraising events at school. During those events, I was responsible for making sure the attendees were satisfied with the experience. So I understand how important it is to delight customers.” With a little practice, you will gain confidence and be able to show a potential employer all your potential.
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