Thursday, February 23, 2006

Experience or no experience? That is the question.

I have realised more and more in the past year how difficult it is for graduates to get their foot in the door to their future. I don’t even remember how many job applications I have looked at which mentioned the criteria of a three year degree (which I have), and also two to three years working experience (which I don’t have). It is a catch 22 situation of needing experience to get a job but needing a job to get experience. However, even though I have had many conversations with fellow graduates on this topic, I must admit that it is a fair criterion. I do not think that I would have had the right amount of knowledge or professionalism to step into the workplace after I’ve just graduated. How do you guys feel about this?

My CV shows that the only working experiences I have are holiday jobs and part-time promotional jobs. But let me tell you one thing, even though these jobs seem miniscule and might be overlooked by potential employers, they taught me things that I’ll remember forever. It taught me how to work with difficult customers and very difficult bosses. It taught me how to be punctual and patient. And it especially taught me how to successfully complete difficult projects in a limited time frame. Do you think these aspects are considered by potential employers? And do you think these characteristics learnt in a small job can be used in future careers?

I have finally made peace with the fact that job hunting is very difficult and often disappointing. One also needs to learn how to approach potential employees, how to make a lasting impression, and how to cope in the workplace. That is why I’m very excited about the World of Work Programmes. We haven’t fully started yet but the ball is rolling and I have learnt a few things already. This is going to be a good year.


At 3:49 PM, Blogger Lesley Emanuel said...

Hi Celeste
I wonder how employers value vac jobs? I wonder if there are employers who appreciate that waitrons know loads about customer service, working under pressure, working in a team...
Maybe you could ask a few people who are employers what they think?
Well done for setting up your blog.
A good place to visit to read other interns' blogs is
This is a programme called "Interns Without Borders 200" by the Advocacy Project in Washington DC.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

Hey Celeste...

Congrats on your blog!

As soon as we've got a critical mass of people on the mailing list I've set up, I'll show you how to add your cv to your blog.

HINT: it's really just a well formatted blog entry, with a permalink.

Please sign onto that list by following the instructions on the email I sent.

Blue skies

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Psychewellbeing said...

Celeste, I think you have a good point when talking about graduates’ difficulty in getting their foot into their future. Its either you match this but do not have that. As graduates you might have the qualifications but lack the experience.
I think it is best that educational institutions develop intervention (like we have at Wits –WOW) which link students and the world of work. These interventions should play a role in preparing and introducing students to the work context.

I remember that at one stage I started blaming myself for failing to find a job.
Along the way, I have also listened to various advise from the media and experts, on how to job-hunt. With those well-taken advices and tips, I was still unsuccessful. I guess employers have a different way of looking at potential employees.
There is also the issue of being “overqualified” if you have a degree or even worse a post-grad qualification. I hear that some companies prefer taking people with basic matric. The reason for this is so that they groom you into their direction. But, nonetheless, I am so thankful to be in the WOW training and intervention.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger zanele said...

Hi Celest,
We are so fortunate to be part of this programme,since we don't have two years of experience that is needed by the companies,while we have extensive experience in dealing with clients and bosses.I think companies should take into consideration the experiences that we had as students.


Post a Comment

<< Home