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How to gain work experience when nobody will hire you

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  • How to gain work experience when nobody will hire you

    This is a topic that has come up from time to time and I just had it again with a patient. She graduated nursing school in June and passed her boards to get her RN. She's now looking for work and finding that nobody is willing to hire a new nurse. They all want someone with at least one year of experience. It's a catch-22. Nobody will hire you without experience but how do you get experience if nobody will hire you. This is not unique to the nursing field. That's just the latest example I've heard.

    I'm curious if any of you have faced this in your line of work and, if so, how you overcame it. It isn't something I dealt with as a physician. It is quite easy to get a job when you finish residency. Everybody understands that there is no possible way that a doctor could have experience beyond residency.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

  • #2
    When I finished my degree I took a job at a local internet service provider..doing phone support. It sucked, the pay wasnt great but to me it was experience.

    When I moved to a larger city I went through a temp agency to find work. I was hired at Sprint as a temp...couple months later Sprint brought me on full time. After I left there, which was 3 years...it was really easy to find a job.

    My advice for anyone having trouble...check out a temp agency if they have them in your area. They pay may not be great but its "experience."

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    • #3
      Internships? Depending on the field, maybe volunteer work? Maybe they could volunteer at a free clinic or something?

      I have not run into this personally. There are a lot of places out there that want you to have 1-3 years of experience, but there are more than enough who will hire you right out of school. It probably helps that almost anywhere you interview will also do a practical interview, which means they have the opportunity to gauge the quality of your work before they hire you. Come to think of it, even when I had a PT job at Subway, they did this. They had you work an hour on the line for no pay before they would officially put you on the schedule.

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      • #4
        Can your patient work in a doctor's office or medical facility doing non-nurse work? At least getting a foot in the door will sometimes enable someone to gain rapport with co-workers and supervisors, who can then vouch and sometimes open doors.

        I did something similar by being an intern (college summer work) at a major employer, and being able to leverage that to gain full-time employment there after college. That internship was my first real exposure to full-time work aside from my part-time retail grunt work, and even though the intern work was not in my field, I always put in 100% because I knew a lot depended upon my performance.

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        • #5
          The first time I lost my job. I went and volunteered a at computer repair store to get the hands on experience that people keep telling me I needed on my interview. I also volunteer with the state to see if I could gain more experience in another area of IT that would help me land a job. The way I see it the money will follow the experience.

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          • #6
            This obviously won't help in the nursing industry (or several others), but I got my foot in the door in web development by building websites as a hobby. This gave me demonstrable evidence to employers that I could in fact do what my resume claims. I still do some hobby stuff to this day to keep my skills sharp.

            In a nutshell: you can get an edge if you can actually show that you're capable of doing your desired profession.

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            • #7
              I would encourage looking at small towns. The pay will probably be low and will require relocation but my observation has been that the opportunities for quality professionals can be pretty good.
              "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

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              • #8
                A close friend of mine experienced a similar issue to this. (These suggestions assume you finish some sort of degree but have yet to land a job).

                There are few companies that are known for programs targeting New Grads -- it's best to really look into those companies and/or development programs. The earlier the better. Some may require you to be less than X years out of college in order to even quality.

                Additionally, smaller businesses may be more open to hiring new grads as well, as they may not be able to always afford seasoned professionals which tend to be more expensive. This may provide a good learning opportunity.

                As someone else has mentioned, internships are really important. Especially in a field like the engineering industry, it is expected you have some sort of internship completed. Unfortunately, by the time you get an undergraduate degree, you are no longer qualify for many internships, which may only accept people who are currently enrolled in school.

                When searching job postings, look for terms like "entry-level" "0" (as in 0 years experience required) to help find postings where education matters.

                Consider working for a job that is relevant but you are overqualified for. Unfortunately, in a competitive job market, many people tend to apply for jobs that they are overqualified for. People with 1-2 years experience will be applying for entry-level positions, with the hope of quickly moving up in the company. A new graduate with a fresh B.S. in Biology should consider looking into a Lab Assistant position that only requires a High School diploma.

                It's tough out there -- I was lucky enough to have a good network and internship experience to land me a job after college. I'm a little surprised about the nursing situation -- didn't she have clinicals which gave her some experience and establish a working relationship with a hospital? Here in Southern California, nurses are in high demand and VERY well paid -- I have a whole family full of RN's. That particular person should consider relocating if there's nothing out where she lives.

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                • #9
                  New grads often have to relocate to get their 1st job. In our area there is high demand for teachers, nurses lots of specific skill sets...in small towns. Pay is ok, works is hard, parents/patients are demanding but new graduates gain experience coping effectively with difficult people plus their area of competencies. On top of giving up their personal support network and the area you know and love, small town living requires new residents to be participative. They gain respect and acceptance if they join in and contribute time and effort to community activities. It's a huge commitment.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                    She's now looking for work and finding that nobody is willing to hire a new nurse. They all want someone with at least one year of experience.
                    Well, the REAL reason for this is the economy. Employers know how tough it is out there, so they don't NEED to hire entry level employees. The key then is to be willing to fill a position that others aren't willing to take.

                    Has she considered the "traveling" nurses? My cousin recently graduated and became a nurse on contract and made A LOT of money by traveling around to hospitals for 6 - 9 months at a time. After 3 years she had enough experience to settle down and take a permanent job at a hospital in her hometown.

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                    • #11
                      These days it really seems volunteering and unpaid internships are the main method of getting the foot in the door. It is really tough on the ones who NEED to earn a paycheck and can't afford to work 30 to 40 hours a week for free. It's kind of the modern version of indentured servitude if you ask me.

                      When my oldest was a Senior in College we pretty much took on supporting him again so he could do the unpaid internships thing. Thankfully, it did work out into a post-Graduation job.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by humandraydel View Post
                        Well, the REAL reason for this is the economy. Employers know how tough it is out there, so they don't NEED to hire entry level employees. The key then is to be willing to fill a position that others aren't willing to take.

                        Has she considered the "traveling" nurses? My cousin recently graduated and became a nurse on contract and made A LOT of money by traveling around to hospitals for 6 - 9 months at a time. After 3 years she had enough experience to settle down and take a permanent job at a hospital in her hometown.
                        I don't know about the traveling job but she was applying to work for a home care company. I'm not sure if that work is going to count toward the experience other places are looking for though since it is lower level work.
                        Steve

                        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Maybe have her look into Americorps. I bet she could find a placement that needs someone with medical skills - the pay would not be good at all, but she'd get an education grant to help with any student loans at the end of a year of service, and she'd have the experience she needs to get a better paying job.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                            This is a topic that has come up from time to time and I just had it again with a patient. She graduated nursing school in June and passed her boards to get her RN. She's now looking for work and finding that nobody is willing to hire a new nurse. They all want someone with at least one year of experience. It's a catch-22. Nobody will hire you without experience but how do you get experience if nobody will hire you. This is not unique to the nursing field. That's just the latest example I've heard.

                            I'm curious if any of you have faced this in your line of work and, if so, how you overcame it. It isn't something I dealt with as a physician. It is quite easy to get a job when you finish residency. Everybody understands that there is no possible way that a doctor could have experience beyond residency.
                            As you know by my user name I am a temp but I am a temp in my field which is scientific. I do scientific temp jobs and have built up quite a bit of varied experience. There wasn't enough funding to give everyone a lab job on campus so I did a part time job where I was paid to clean the glassware in a lab and ended up gaining all sorts of other experience and leveraged that into a temp job, which I gained more experience on, then leveraged that experience into a better job and so on and so forth. Now I am essentially a consultant for the company I work for and I'm hoping to keep doing that.

                            I'm pretty sure there is a such thing as temp nursing she could try to find a job that way to get experience. I'm not sure if volunteering/approaching a women's center or something like that might help as a start?
                            Last edited by Permanent Temp; 10-26-2013, 06:15 PM. Reason: not enough info

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                            • #15
                              The field of nursing has changed due to the economy, when I graduated 22 years ago, I sent in a job application a month before I graduated and when I called the recruiter the week after graduation, she said she had been frantically trying to get in touch with me. Back then, we had a months long graduate nurse residency and they flew me to Austin to take my boards. That's over forever I think.

                              Today's new nursing grads need to think out of the box;most of them will not even consider relocating to areas of high need to get that first year of experience but they should. They should also consider getting a job in less desirable areas for RNs like long-term care. The best way to do that is work somewhere that is part of a large hospital system and then after a year of experience, do an inter-system transfer to acute care to get the experience there. After that, the field is wide-open to them. Home health for a new grad is wrong because they need to work independently and have robust assessment skills.

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