How to Get Experience If You Have No Experience

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Here's the thing. You need experience to get a job but you need a job so you can get experience. So what's the answer?

Employers are looking for proof that you can do the job they want you to do. They need to be able to look at your track record and see that you have skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for.

This doesn't just mean task-specific skills like using a cash register or power tools, but also things like how good you are at communicating, whether you can meet deadlines, or how you work as part of a team.

The good news is you don't need to be doing paid work or studying at university or TAFE to get skills and experience. There are lots of other ways to develop the skills you need. Best of all, they're free!

Release your inner entrepreneur

A good entrepreneur can take their ideas and turn them into business opportunities or use them to pave their career path. The skills you'll learn while developing your idea will increase your employability. Check out these free courses and resources that can help you to get your business idea off the ground.

  • Sign up for IGNITE (new window), the Frank Team's free monthly e-newsletter on entrepreneurship. The Frank Team has other free resources available and an online community you can connect with.

Learn from a skills coach or mentor

There's always more to learn. Being interested in improving your skills is as important as having the skills themselves!

Get yourself a mentor at the Youth Mentoring Network (new window). Your mentor can help you with career planning or finding work experience. For more information about mentors check out our Finding a mentor page.

Be part of a volunteer program

Volunteering is an excellent way to pick up new skills and meet people who can help with your job searching. There's as much in it for you as there is for the organisation you're volunteering with.

For example, volunteering at your local RSPCA shelter can give you experience in animal handling and reception work, or it could help you to meet local vets who can give you advice on how to get into a career in vet science. Helping out at the local op shop can give you valuable retail and customer service experience. And joining the local surf lifesaving club can give you experience in fitness training or working with children.

To find out about volunteering opportunities near you, check out I Can Do That! (new window), the Victorian Government's volunteering portal. You should also check out our Volunteering and work experience section for tips and advice on the world of volunteering.

Think laterally - be creative

These are just a sample of the kind of non-work ways that you can develop your skills and get the kind of experience that can really impress a potential employer. If you put your mind to it you're sure to be able to come up with some other ideas on top of these ones.

Just keep in mind that work experience isn't the only way to become the kind of person that employers want to hire.

To find out more about volunteering and work experience opportunities, check out our Volunteering & work experience section.