Getting experience when you have none

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It can be very frustrating looking for a job when you have no experience. One of the first question employers will have is:  “What experience do you have?”. Also, if you are new in Ireland, employers will give preference to those who have worked for companies based in Ireland.

How to get experience

One of the best ways to get experience is by doing volunteer work. You can offer your time to charities, businesses and startups. You should never be working more than part-time. Also, make sure it is clear to the potential employer what experience you expect to get. You also need to agree and end date that is fair for both parties. If the employer is going to invest time in training you, you also need to make it worth their while. Finally, you will need to be willing to do some task which offer little experience in order to get the experience you want.

Just be careful when you are offering your time for no payment. There are stories of employers offering “internships” to offer candidates practical experience. But these roles turned out to be cleaning or stacking shelves. Make sure the person offering you the experience is very clear in what you will be doing.

Where to search

Charities do offer administration work also if you’re looking for experience working in an office environment. Dublin has a very strong startup community. There are a number of hubs which house startups such as the NDRC and the Guinness Enterprise Centre. Also, there are a lot of regular events on meetup.com as well message forums on boards.ie (Entrepreneurial) and groups on facebook.

Linkedin is widely used in Ireland. It is a great way to network as you are free to connect with and contact second degree connections. If you are attending events make sure you connect with as many people as you can. Even if they can’t offer you an opportunity one of their connections might be able to help.

Non native English speakers

Non native English speakers, in some cases, have a the added disadvantage that potential employers will be concerned about your level of English. This is particularly true for entry level positions. Being able to add work experience in Ireland to your CV gives you a major advantage over those who only have experience in their native country. It will also help reduce any concerns future employers will have over your level of English.

Useful Links

https://benefacts.ie – List of non profits in Ireland
www.boards.ie – Entrepreneurial Forum
www.gec.ie – Guiness Enterprise Centre
www.ndrc.ie – Startup hub
Dublin Startups – Facebook Group