Why is experience such a deal breaker for employers?

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Frostyj
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I am a graduate of July 2019. It's been almost a year since graduation and I have no job and I am making no headway, in terms of employment.

I have applied to approximately 300-500 jobs (I don't know the acutal amount), and I have had about 10 face to face interviews and 5 telephone interviews. However, most companies that I apply to, don't darken my door. It is as if they think my resume is futile.

What has surprised me is the retail jobs.. I have applied to quite a few and never, ever hear from most of them. I don't know what sort of skills or portfolio one is supposed to offer, but it seems to be quite difficult to land a retail job. Despite the large number of teenagers who seem to run from retail job to retail job.

I suppose this lack of success might be down to a lack of work experience on my end (my work experience consists of a 2 month Internship) . Which whilst I understand work experience is important, i'm not sure that it is VITAL, so much that I am still unemployed a year after graduation.

It is frustrating to me, the effort that I put in everyday, applying for jobs and making no progress. I genuinely feel that I am unemployable (despite having a degree) from an employers persective, due to my lack of work experience. My University did not emphasise the sheer importance of work experience. Without work experience, it seems that employers think I am completely useless as an employee.

At the moment, I don't mind doing a basic retail job, but I am looking into an Administrative type position/Data logging.

What am I supposed to do if employers won't consider me, even for basic jobs?
Last edited by Frostyj; 2 weeks ago
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physicsamor
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Because there is always someone else who has managed to go above and beyond to get experience whilst studying and manage to do all that and more. It's unfortunate. It's cheaper to hire someone you don't have to train. But also maybe you aren't answering the questions in the style they want. Do you change your CV for each job you apply to e.g make it personal it's the same with cover letters.

Have you ever received feedback?

I really don't know as I'm in the same position.
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Frostyj
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(Original post by physicsamor)
Because there is always someone else who has managed to go above and beyond to get experience whilst studying and manage to do all that and more. It's unfortunate. It's cheaper to hire someone you don't have to train. But also maybe you aren't answering the questions in the style they want. Do you change your CV for each job you apply to e.g make it personal it's the same with cover letters.

Have you ever received feedback?

I really don't know as I'm in the same position.
I have a retail CV and a Degree CV. The Retail CV did land me a few Retail interviews, but then when it came to the interview I could only talk about my experience at my University, because I don't have any practical retail work experience. I have been thinking about 'making' retail interview answers that limit the reference of University, as University seems to be a red flag to them.

I have applied to a related Science Internship for the summer, hopefully I get on that. That's my only way out I feel.

It just amazes me the complete indifference employers have to me, as if everything I offer is completely useless, even the SCI degree.
Last edited by Frostyj; 2 weeks ago
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Rorty
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Retail jobs are not hiring you because they don't need to and because you represent a risk. As a recent graduate it is likely, in their view at least, that you will be there for a month or two and then leave when you finally secure a professional position. Given that, there is no reason to hire you over someone with a history of entry level employment on their CV because clearly that is what they intend to do.

That being said, if you have made 300+ applications and only been offered 10 interviews then something is definitely wrong with those applications. Have you spoken to recruiters? Aside from them finding you opportunities for permanent positions, you will also have the opportunity to get temporary office-based experience which you can then use as leverage to secure a permanent post in the future.

Now is a difficult time to be applying for a first job, but keep trying. If you want me to take a look at your CV then feel free to send it to me, but remove your personal information first.
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Frostyjoe
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Well I don’t have much work experience at all really.

I can send you my CV, would you like me to send it through the messages portal?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Frostyj)
I am a graduate of July 2019. It's been almost a year since graduation and I have no job and I am making no headway, in terms of employment.

I have applied to approximately 300-500 jobs (I don't know the acutal amount), and I have had about 10 face to face interviews and 5 telephone interviews. However, most companies that I apply to, don't darken my door, it's as if they think my resume is useless entirely.

What has surprised me is the retail jobs.. I have applied to quite a few and never, ever hear from most of them. I don't know what sort of skills or portfolio one is supposed to offer, but it seems to be quite difficult to land a retail job. Despite the large number of teenagers who seem to run from retail job to retail job.

I suppose this lack of success might be down to a lack of work experience on my end (my work experience consists of a 2 month Internship) . Which whilst I understand work experience is important, i'm not sure that it is VITAL, so much that I am still unemployed a year after graduation.

It is frustrating to me, the effort that I put in everyday, applying for jobs and making no progress. I genuinely feel that I am unemployable (despite having a degree) from an employers persective, due to my lack of work experience. My University did not emphasise the sheer importance of work experience.

Without work experience, it seems that employers think I am completely useless as an employee.

What am I supposed to do if employers won't consider me, even for basic jobs?
If you've applied to 300-500 jobs (and you should be keeping track of this info) and you've only had 10 interviews, then there is something pretty wrong with your CV/application form filling and you need to get it checked out.

The thing many people don't seem to realise is that not only is job hunting exactly the same as entering a competition, but you have to train and prepare if you want any chance of winning. Plus there is a constant stream of new entrants to the competition.

So if you have the attitude I don't care what job i do, that's the same as saying I don't care if I'm a sprinter or a swimmer - you aren't likely to beet the specialists who've selected either printing or swimming.

If you don't 'train' by constantly trying to improve your CV, both in terms of evidence to put on it, and how it is written, then you are going backwards competing against those that do both those things.

If you don't keep track of what you apply for, the CV you used, the date you sent it in, the deadline, what your result was, when that result came through, any feedback you got, where you saw the advert etc, you aren't going to improve your application or learn more about how job hunting works.

Experience is key for employers because every employee is both a benefit and a risk to the organisation. Simply putting out an advert, managing a process, interviewing, selecting, and training any new employee costs time and money. Very few businesses to that casually, unless their experience is that the job is so simple, and turnover so high, they shouldn't bother investing in staff anyway. So they always select what they think is the best person for the job - why wouldn't they? As an employer you are almost always going to get a better result out of a recruitment programme if you appoint someone who has evidence they have the relevant skill, than someone who just claims they have.

The point is, that that gives an advantage to people who've actually got out and done stuff, rather than frittered their time away on nonsense outside their 5 day a week commitment of about 8 hours to education, and a daily 8 hour commitment to eating, sleeping etc. People who do something effective with those other 8 hours are in a stronger position that those that don't.
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Frostyjoe
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I don’t know how to improve my CV. I have had it reviewed by a few people and I have always received positive feedback.

There are reasons why people don’t have work experience, it’s not always down to laziness.
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National Careers Service
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(Original post by Frostyj)
I am a graduate of July 2019. It's been almost a year since graduation and I have no job and I am making no headway, in terms of employment.

I have applied to approximately 300-500 jobs (I don't know the acutal amount), and I have had about 10 face to face interviews and 5 telephone interviews. However, most companies that I apply to, don't darken my door. It is as if they think my resume is futile.

What has surprised me is the retail jobs.. I have applied to quite a few and never, ever hear from most of them. I don't know what sort of skills or portfolio one is supposed to offer, but it seems to be quite difficult to land a retail job. Despite the large number of teenagers who seem to run from retail job to retail job.

I suppose this lack of success might be down to a lack of work experience on my end (my work experience consists of a 2 month Internship) . Which whilst I understand work experience is important, i'm not sure that it is VITAL, so much that I am still unemployed a year after graduation.

It is frustrating to me, the effort that I put in everyday, applying for jobs and making no progress. I genuinely feel that I am unemployable (despite having a degree) from an employers persective, due to my lack of work experience. My University did not emphasise the sheer importance of work experience. Without work experience, it seems that employers think I am completely useless as an employee.

At the moment, I don't mind doing a basic retail job, but I am looking into an Administrative type position/Data logging.

What am I supposed to do if employers won't consider me, even for basic jobs?
Hi there, hoping I can offer some support and insight.

I am sorry to hear you have found yourself in this position, it's quite common for graduates to leave university and then find it difficult to find employment due to a lack of work experience.

Work experience is vital as it demonstrates to an employer that you have the skills and qualities that they are looking for. Around 6-12 months of solid work experience will really boost your chances and you can get this through volunteering and internships. I appreciate volunteering is unpaid but what it will do is build up transferable skills that will really help both your CV and your answers in an interview as you will be able to give real life examples. There is also nothing stopping you from applying for jobs whilst you are volunteering.

If you are open to the idea of voluntary work I would recommend the following - do-it.org

It does sound like you have applied for a lot of jobs with little success which could indicate your CV isn't standing out from the crowd. Are you tailoring it for each job you are applying for?

If you would like us to review your CV for free please do give us a call on 0800 100 900 (free phone) and we can look to get that arranged for you as well as more long term support with finding employment.

I hope that you do get in touch as we would be more than happy to help, we are also happy to help on TSR if you would like to send us a message.

Thanks - Sophie.
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username5314622
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Hi - You need to ensure you tailor your CV and cover letter to every job you apply for, it may sound tedious but it helps you tick the right skills and pass ATS.

Try and get some voluntary experience, with so much competition its what can be between you getting employed or rejected. Employers would rather hire someone with transferable skills than none.

Get a careers advisor to have a look at your CV and advise - if you did apply for 300+ roles and not got much responses then your CV is probably letting you down.

All the best,
Ewan
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LouiseRu
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Look at potential jobs in the Army, Navy and RAF,
.

Not all roles are front line roles and are in such areas as logistics, HR, environmental science etc.

You have to commit to a number of years service but in return get extensive training.
Do not just look at Officer roles aimed at Graduates but those for A Levels.

You are not expected to have much experience as you will be fully trained.
This is one of the biggest advantages of joining the armed forces.

I know a number of people who have done this and it has worked out very well for them.

At least look at the career pages online and you can also speak to their own career advisors for advice.

Not that many people are really aware of these opportunities so it could work really well for you.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Frostyjoe)
I don’t know how to improve my CV. I have had it reviewed by a few people and I have always received positive feedback.

There are reasons why people don’t have work experience, it’s not always down to laziness.
There's a CV review service on TSR that you could try.

In the nicest way possible, as threeportdrift says, if you have applied for 300+ jobs and only had 10 interviews, that is a really poor strike rate. 1 interview out of 10 applications is seen as pretty low in most fields. There's a few possible reasons for this, but one is definitely that there's something wrong with your CV.

I agree there are lots of reasons why people don't have work experience. However, if your only experience is a 2 month internship, then that is not much for an employer to go on at all. They don't really know if you're going to be reliable and turn up each day. They don't know if you're going to be consistently late. They might find you have no idea of professional norms or how to behave in the workplace. They then have to get rid of you, and hire someone else for the role, having wasted time and money on employing and training you.

WRT retail jobs specifically, if you're up against people with experience, and you give the impression that you're not very invested in the job, then it's unlikely you'll get employed.

I'd suggest looking for some volunteering or similar which will allow you to gain some experience in an area you're interested in (there are lots of admin type volunteer roles out there). As well as showing reliability and building your skills, this will also give you a recent reference.
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Frostyjoe
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
There's a CV review service on TSR that you could try.

In the nicest way possible, as threeportdrift says, if you have applied for 300+ jobs and only had 10 interviews, that is a really poor strike rate. 1 interview out of 10 applications is seen as pretty low in most fields. There's a few possible reasons for this, but one is definitely that there's something wrong with your CV.

I agree there are lots of reasons why people don't have work experience. However, if your only experience is a 2 month internship, then that is not much for an employer to go on at all. They don't really know if you're going to be reliable and turn up each day. They don't know if you're going to be consistently late. They might find you have no idea of professional norms or how to behave in the workplace. They then have to get rid of you, and hire someone else for the role, having wasted time and money on employing and training you.

WRT retail jobs specifically, if you're up against people with experience, and you give the impression that you're not very invested in the job, then it's unlikely you'll get employed.

I'd suggest looking for some volunteering or similar which will allow you to gain some experience in an area you're interested in (there are lots of admin type volunteer roles out there). As well as showing reliability and building your skills, this will also give you a recent reference.
That is extremely concerning.The problem is that my degree is very specialised and there doesn’t seem to be too many Internships related to my industry. I had no idea of the importance of work experience, but I also wonder where a graduate is supposed to gain experience given that I have just spent the last few years studying.

Nobody wants to help me appropriately. I don’t know where to gain experience.

Most applications I apply to go silently, even the bare basic applications. I have signed up to recruitment companies and agencies, and I have not been contacted by these people.


I have constant anxiety in the back of my head that I am not making progress and that this is alarming. The job search process is a depressing process and does not yield much for me, I am not getting anywhere and I do not know how to rectify my situation. I have asked many people for advice and I am always told “it’s like this for everyone, you’ll get a job eventually”.

I am an average student who does not have enough experience to know what is going wrong in my work search.
Last edited by Frostyjoe; 2 weeks ago
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Frostyjoe
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(Original post by LouiseRu)
Look at potential jobs in the Army, Navy and RAF,
.

Not all roles are front line roles and are in such areas as logistics, HR, environmental science etc.

You have to commit to a number of years service but in return get extensive training.
Do not just look at Officer roles aimed at Graduates but those for A Levels.

You are not expected to have much experience as you will be fully trained.
This is one of the biggest advantages of joining the armed forces.

I know a number of people who have done this and it has worked out very well for them.

At least look at the career pages online and you can also speak to their own career advisors for advice.

Not that many people are really aware of these opportunities so it could work really well for you.
I continually see a lot of positions advertised in the army/navy but I do not want to go to war or live in rough living quarters. So I have been going beyond these positions.
Last edited by Frostyjoe; 2 weeks ago
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Frostyjoe
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(Original post by EwanSolna)
Hi - You need to ensure you tailor your CV and cover letter to every job you apply for, it may sound tedious but it helps you tick the right skills and pass ATS.

Try and get some voluntary experience, with so much competition its what can be between you getting employed or rejected. Employers would rather hire someone with transferable skills than none.

Get a careers advisor to have a look at your CV and advise - if you did apply for 300+ roles and not got much responses then your CV is probably letting you down.

All the best,
Ewan
What sort of voluntary experience? Related to my degree or retail?

One issue is that many of the internships or schemes related to my degree are for students currently in university.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Frostyjoe)
The problem is that my degree is very specialised and there doesn’t seem to be too many Internships related to my industry. I had no idea of the importance of work experience, but I also wonder where a graduate is supposed to gain experience given that I have just spent the last few years studying.

I have so much anxiety from the job search process and am not getting anywhere. I have asked so many people from advice and am always told “it’s like this for everyone, you’ll get a job eventually”.

Nobody wants to help me appropriately. I don’t know where to gain experience.

Most applications I apply to go silently, even the bare basic applications. I have signed up to recruitment companies and have not been contacted by them.
Loads of people manage to work through uni. I know individuals can have circumstances where this isn't possible. It's not just about internships- even having work experience in a bar/shop can be valuable to employers even outside of that field- partly because you learn a lot of soft skills relevant to a professional environment, partly because you've demonstrated the ability to be a good employee.

I understand this is a tough situation to be in, but there are solutions out there. It is difficult at the moment, due to coronavirus, but there are still opportunities out there.

If you're interested in admin/data-logging type work, then look for charities who use volunteers in this sort of capacity and see if you can get some voluntary experience. This will really strengthen your CV, and may also provide you with networking opportunities which may help you find paid employment.

Maybe consider doing some type of freelance work as well. This could be something like proofreading/tutoring etc or whatever skills you are able to offer.

When things start opening up more, look for temp jobs as well, and places like call centres are often constantly hiring due to high staff turnover.

At this stage, I think getting anything on your CV is better than nothing.

I don't think it has "been like this for everyone" over the past few years, and I do think that you can change things and build a career.
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Frostyjoe
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I’m just concerned I will waste six months to a year and still be faced with the same lack of success. I would ultimately like to get a job so I could start earning money and save appropriately.

I would like to gain some experience in my industry but I’m unsure as to how I would do that?

I have gone to two assessment centres on two separate years at one company who seems insistent that they are not going to hire me. My degree suites their profession entirely, so I’m not sure what that reason is. I can’t gain a proper response out of them.

I flew for 400 miles and spent £400 on each assessment day, so I’m not prepared to waste my time applying again. I would just like to know what it is that is making me be unsuccessful and why they consider me to be useless despite having a degree in the field. I know that they hired individuals who did not have a degree in the field, from the last assessment day.

Why is it that they think my degree is not enough evidence for a trainee position? I am not being given a chance to improve my prospects with their responses.
Last edited by Frostyjoe; 2 weeks ago
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Frostyjoe)
I’m just concerned I will waste six months to a year and still be faced with the same lack of success.
You can still keep applying to jobs whilst you volunteer, though?

Maybe if you shared your field, people would be able to give you some specific advice?
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Frostyjoe
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Meteorology
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physicsamor
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Do you use the star approach when answering questions?
Have you considered doing temp work in roles that are currently understaffed to earn some money like being a support worker /carer/NHS worker? Have you looked into teaching?
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Frostyjoe
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I have just applied to the Princes Trust. I am going to look into volunteering because I don’t see this situation changing.
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