Graduated but have no work experience...

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SonyToprano
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Hi all,

Basically, I'm 21 and recently graduated with a First from a RG university. My current problem is that I have no work experience. This is because of personal reasons (I was helping care for a terminally ill family member who is now no longer with us).

Currently, I am quite discouraged from applying for graduate schemes, or even direct entry to the Civil Service (I always considered joining the CS whether via FS or direct entry) as a I know my lack of work experience puts me at a disadvantage, regardless of my degree. Even getting a part time job is hard.

The only work experience I have is a full 5-day voluntary work experience at a secondary school which I did last year to get experience for a PGCE (which I have deferred entry for 2021)

Therefore, my question is does anybody have any advice on how to get a job in my current situation? Should I do volunteering first, and if so, how long is enough? Also, how hard is it to directly apply to the Civil Service at the lower grades with lack of work experience?

I would appreciate any advice,

Thanks everyone.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by SonyToprano)
Hi all,

Basically, I'm 21 and recently graduated with a First from a RG university. My current problem is that I have no work experience. This is because of personal reasons (I was helping care for a terminally ill family member who is now no longer with us).

Currently, I am quite discouraged from applying for graduate schemes, or even direct entry to the Civil Service (I always considered joining the CS whether via FS or direct entry) as a I know my lack of work experience puts me at a disadvantage, regardless of my degree. Even getting a part time job is hard.

The only work experience I have is a full 5-day voluntary work experience at a secondary school which I did last year to get experience for a PGCE (which I have deferred entry for 2021)

Therefore, my question is does anybody have any advice on how to get a job in my current situation? Should I do volunteering first, and if so, how long is enough? Also, how hard is it to directly apply to the Civil Service at the lower grades with lack of work experience?

I would appreciate any advice,

Thanks everyone.
Employers aren't looking for 'work experience', they are looking for 'experience'. They are looking for people who have done something constructive with the 8 hours a day they aren't sleeping or studying/working. Brutal as it seems to say, being a carer is rock solid, very highly valued experience, if presented in the right way. Though I appreciate that can be hard to turn into a 'positive', especially in the case of a loss.

If you open a thread on the CV Help forum, you can get advice on how to handle this constructively in a CV. It's a private forum, so only you and the CV Helper (me) will be able to see the details.
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SonyToprano
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Employers aren't looking for 'work experience', they are looking for 'experience'. They are looking for people who have done something constructive with the 8 hours a day they aren't sleeping or studying/working. Brutal as it seems to say, being a carer is rock solid, very highly valued experience, if presented in the right way. Though I appreciate that can be hard to turn into a 'positive', especially in the case of a loss.

If you open a thread on the CV Help forum, you can get advice on how to handle this constructively in a CV. It's a private forum, so only you and the CV Helper (me) will be able to see the details.
Thank you for your reply. I will ask for more advice on the CV help forum regarding this.
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Speckle
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(Original post by SonyToprano)
Currently, I am quite discouraged from applying for graduate schemes, or even direct entry to the Civil Service (I always considered joining the CS whether via FS or direct entry) as a I know my lack of work experience puts me at a disadvantage, regardless of my degree.
Can't get the job if you don't even apply.
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SonyToprano
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(Original post by Speckle)
Can't get the job if you don't even apply.
thanks for the reply, and Fair enough
Last edited by SonyToprano; 1 month ago
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BravoNovember
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Why not apply for the civil Service fast stream? As others have said, you have nothing to lose and lots of graduates have gone straight into the scheme from university. I don’t think they’ve opened applications yet, so there’s plenty of time to research and prepare for the process, it’s more about how you handle challenging situations and how you approach others when completing tasks, especially in the FSAC. It sounds like, based on what you have shared about yourself (accomplishing a first whilst having to take responsibility for personal matters), you have demonstrated resilience, which is a trait that the Civil Service values highly.
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BenRyan99
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I agree with the above poster. Having work experience/internships is not a prerequisite to join the the civil service whether it be the fast stream or the main stream. The only advantage work experience gets you is that when asked competency questions e.g. "talk us through a time where you had to produce under pressure etc" having work experience makes it slightly easier to think of examples on the spot.

It's worth noting that the civil service blocks out a lot of things like which uni you went to and all your personal details when you're applying to make it fair and to remove bias. It only really comes down to how you perform in the numerical and verbal reasoning tests, then stuff like the FSAC and potentially a further assessment centre like the EAC if you're an economist etc.

I've gained entry to the civil service as an economist and am meant to be starting in September 2021 but will defer to do a master's so happy to answer any questions as I've been through all these stages before and lots of people don't have any work experience.
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AcseI
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(Original post by SonyToprano)
Currently, I am quite discouraged from applying for graduate schemes, or even direct entry to the Civil Service (I always considered joining the CS whether via FS or direct entry) as a I know my lack of work experience puts me at a disadvantage, regardless of my degree.
You know how they say "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"? This is the situation you're putting yourself in. If you think that a lack of experience puts you at a disadvantage, and therefore never actually apply, you'll always be lacking in experience.

Employers like to see some work experience, but they do not expect everyone graduating from uni to have years of experience behind them. Part time jobs and placements are nice, and certainly give you an advantage, but not everyone has that.

(Original post by SonyToprano)
Therefore, my question is does anybody have any advice on how to get a job in my current situation?
Simple. Actually apply to stuff. There's no magic formula, no bar you have to reach before you can apply. Just get on, apply, and learn if you're unsuccessful.
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SonyToprano
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(Original post by AcseI)
You know how they say "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"? This is the situation you're putting yourself in. If you think that a lack of experience puts you at a disadvantage, and therefore never actually apply, you'll always be lacking in experience.

Employers like to see some work experience, but they do not expect everyone graduating from uni to have years of experience behind them. Part time jobs and placements are nice, and certainly give you an advantage, but not everyone has that.


Simple. Actually apply to stuff. There's no magic formula, no bar you have to reach before you can apply. Just get on, apply, and learn if you're unsuccessful.
Thank you very much for both your replies. And yes, you are right. I guess it’s better to be more optimistic and apply as there’s more to gain than lose, and learn whilst going forward
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Grim_Squeaker
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(Original post by SonyToprano)
Hi all,

Basically, I'm 21 and recently graduated with a First from a RG university. My current problem is that I have no work experience. This is because of personal reasons (I was helping care for a terminally ill family member who is now no longer with us).

Currently, I am quite discouraged from applying for graduate schemes, or even direct entry to the Civil Service (I always considered joining the CS whether via FS or direct entry) as a I know my lack of work experience puts me at a disadvantage, regardless of my degree. Even getting a part time job is hard.

The only work experience I have is a full 5-day voluntary work experience at a secondary school which I did last year to get experience for a PGCE (which I have deferred entry for 2021)

Therefore, my question is does anybody have any advice on how to get a job in my current situation? Should I do volunteering first, and if so, how long is enough? Also, how hard is it to directly apply to the Civil Service at the lower grades with lack of work experience?

I would appreciate any advice,

Thanks everyone.
Most of the Grads who come through my dept have no meaningful work experience to speak of, though some have worked through university. Makes little difference to us as we look at you holistically as a candidate. Whether you are the best fit and show us you are the person we need.

You have done some good work caring for a relative who wasn't well, that shows significant character to me, having dropped out of university the first time round to do the same.

Your degree will open doors to you buddy, it's then up to you to sell your strengths and get yourself through that door. If you never apply, you'll never get in.

I joined the CS as an Apprentice and have gone up the ladder a fair bit now no degree, something I'm now doing part time. Others come in with a degree and then gain the working experience on the job. We are all different and I think you need to stop putting yourself down over the work experience issue. I'd be looking at Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer level roles on CS Jobs and/or grad schemes and if you fancy it the FS.
Last edited by Grim_Squeaker; 1 month ago
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SonyToprano
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(Original post by BenRyan99)
I agree with the above poster. Having work experience/internships is not a prerequisite to join the the civil service whether it be the fast stream or the main stream. The only advantage work experience gets you is that when asked competency questions e.g. "talk us through a time where you had to produce under pressure etc" having work experience makes it slightly easier to think of examples on the spot.

It's worth noting that the civil service blocks out a lot of things like which uni you went to and all your personal details when you're applying to make it fair and to remove bias. It only really comes down to how you perform in the numerical and verbal reasoning tests, then stuff like the FSAC and potentially a further assessment centre like the EAC if you're an economist etc.

I've gained entry to the civil service as an economist and am meant to be starting in September 2021 but will defer to do a master's so happy to answer any questions as I've been through all these stages before and lots of people don't have any work experience.
Thank you very much, I appreciate your response. I am going to directly apply to some positions currently advertised on the CS site, and am looking more into FS. I will definitely ask you if I have any questions during the process
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SonyToprano
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(Original post by Grim_Squeaker)
Most of the Grads who come through my dept have no meaningful work experience to speak of, though some have worked through university. Makes little difference to us as we look at you holistically as a candidate. Whether you are the best fit and show us you are the person we need.

You have done some good work caring for a relative who wasn't well, that shows significant character to me, having dropped out of university the first time round to do the same.

Your degree will open doors to you buddy, it's then up to you to sell your strengths and get yourself through that door. If you never apply, you'll never get in.

I joined the CS as an Apprentice and have gone up the ladder a fair bit now no degree, something I'm now doing part time. Others come in with a degree and then gain the working experience on the job. We are all different and I think you need to stop putting yourself down over the work experience issue. I'd be looking at Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer level roles on CS Jobs and/or grad schemes and if you fancy it the FS.
Thanks for the reply! I guess its better to give it a go and start applying as yours and everyone's responses have been very helpful in giving me more confidence (I have a bad habit of doubting things). I appreciate the advice.
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marple
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(Original post by SonyToprano)
Hi all,

Basically, I'm 21 and recently graduated with a First from a RG university. My current problem is that I have no work experience. This is because of personal reasons (I was helping care for a terminally ill family member who is now no longer with us).

Currently, I am quite discouraged from applying for graduate schemes, or even direct entry to the Civil Service (I always considered joining the CS whether via FS or direct entry) as a I know my lack of work experience puts me at a disadvantage, regardless of my degree. Even getting a part time job is hard.

The only work experience I have is a full 5-day voluntary work experience at a secondary school which I did last year to get experience for a PGCE (which I have deferred entry for 2021)

Therefore, my question is does anybody have any advice on how to get a job in my current situation? Should I do volunteering first, and if so, how long is enough? Also, how hard is it to directly apply to the Civil Service at the lower grades with lack of work experience?

I would appreciate any advice,

Thanks everyone.
Threeportdrift is bang on the mark here. Please do not minimise the importance of the care role - take a step back and try to evaluate what you did. Caring is physically and mentally hard, it requires excellent time management to study successfully alongside such a role and has given you real life experience, maturity and adaptability that are very valuable in the workplace.
Very best of luck
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Grim_Squeaker
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(Original post by marple)
Threeportdrift is bang on the mark here. Please do not minimise the importance of the care role - take a step back and try to evaluate what you did. Caring is physically and mentally hard, it requires excellent time management to study successfully alongside such a role and has given you real life experience, maturity and adaptability that are very valuable in the workplace.
Very best of luck
This is excellent advice.
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route255
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Im in similar postion too, just graduated without experience. Tried last year to do work experience, got a few interviews but nothing came of it. Just got to keep plugging away. I emailed a cover letter and CV last week to a firm asking to do work experience , they said they arent doing it at the monent , onto the next firm.

I have been put off applying jobs that have essential requirement for experience.
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BenRyan99
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(Original post by route255)
Im in similar postion too, just graduated without experience. Tried last year to do work experience, got a few interviews but nothing came of it. Just got to keep plugging away. I emailed a cover letter and CV last week to a firm asking to do work experience , they said they arent doing it at the monent , onto the next firm.

I have been put off applying jobs that have essential requirement for experience.
I've always wondered why people don't try to get internships or placements while at uni, they really set your career up. I guess it's more understandable if you're in an academic only subject like history/classics but with anything slightly vocational, people should try to get experience as early as possible.
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route255
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(Original post by BenRyan99)
I've always wondered why people don't try to get internships or placements while at uni, they really set your career up. I guess it's more understandable if you're in an academic only subject like history/classics but with anything slightly vocational, people should try to get experience as early as possible.
Yes, i studied a vocational subject in the construction field! Least i made the effort, the people in the class who got something, are very lucky right now.

After my grad scheme was cancelled its like back to square one.
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AcseI
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(Original post by BenRyan99)
I've always wondered why people don't try to get internships or placements while at uni
Reasons I've heard include:
  • They do try, but are unsuccessful
  • They look but can't find any (sometimes this is a matter of looking harder, other times it's a matter of low availability)
  • They don't want to extend their degree by an extra year, heard this one a lot with Integrated Masters students that don't want to do a 5 year degree
  • Personal circumstances get in the way, for example inability to travel
Probably more reasons besides these.
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route255
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(Original post by AcseI)
Reasons I've heard include:
  • They do try, but are unsuccessful
  • They look but can't find any (sometimes this is a matter of looking harder, other times it's a matter of low availability)
  • They don't want to extend their degree by an extra year, heard this one a lot with Integrated Masters students that don't want to do a 5 year degree
  • Personal circumstances get in the way, for example inability to travel
Probably more reasons besides these.
In my degree, we were encouraged to get a part time role in the industry in third year. There was a placement module for second year students but as i came from college i went into 3rd year. In 4th year , i had to focus on dissteratation in second half.

Some firms got back saying they already have a student on placement, some didnt respond and few i got interviews but nothing came of it.
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AcseI
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(Original post by route255)
In my degree, we were encouraged to get a part time role in the industry in third year. There was a placement module for second year students but as i came from college i went into 3rd year. In 4th year , i had to focus on dissteratation in second half.

Some firms got back saying they already have a student on placement, some didnt respond and few i got interviews but nothing came of it.
Taking the extra year and doing a placement was strongly encouraged at my uni as well. Every week we had talks from the placement team. My course also had a 12 week placement during second year, as part of an assessed module, although that was only available to a maximum of 8 students out of around 30. Even then, all 8 places were not filled.

What you describe does seem to be the norm though, lots of non-responses and no follow up after interview. It's all well and good for people to say "get a placement" but in reality it's often not that simple. I think 4 students (including myself) out of my 30 student class actually ended up going on placement, and as a result final year was made up of mostly strangers. I must admit, part of my wishes I'd just gone into final year and graduated with the rest of my class.
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