Posted by: davidsandusky | March 30, 2009

How to Gain Experience

Many people are venturing into the unknown as you read this.  New careers for people with little business experience to people with many years of the wrong experience as they kick down new doors of new industries. 

We hear daily from college students as they enter the “real world” with no experience that having no experience is challenging the ability to get past Human Resources.   We hear from experienced professionals that they struggle getting seen at all because the resume does not have the “right” experience for the job opportunity.

You know you can do the job.  You are smart and eager to learn.  If just given a chance!  Who out there will give you a chance???

I will tell you.  The people who will give you a chance hire potential. They hire people they like and trust.  In order for people to like and trust your potential they have to know who you are and what you stand for.  Your resume in the hands of the Human Resources department will not cut it unless you are in fact seeking a career in Human Resources. 

Find the people you will impact.  Find the people who can see themselves solving problems shoulder to shoulder with you.  If you don’t know who they are, learn.  Gain experience understanding the businesses you are targeting. Learn how to do research about companies and people. 


  • Industry trends
  • Products and services
  • Titles held in the company
  • The title and name of the would be boss
  • Where are these people online and where to they play and volunteer offline – find them

These research skills are required for your success regardless of your discipline.  Besides, knowing more is an easy way to stand out and don’t you want to be prepared?  Taking the time to learn about a business when your competition is finished applying for new jobs they found online by 8:00a.m. is a difference maker.  Your investment and curious mind is ongoing which helps you minimize your time investment during scary times like a job search, leaving you dedicated to gaining experience.

How to gain experience:   

  • Volunteer using skills you would like to market.  In marketing? Show your creativity helping a non-profit get noticed. Finance? Get on a finance committee where you care about the mission.  These groups always need help and there is a place for eager minds. 
  • Find associations in your area of interest.  Do a Google search and find the associations in your area.  This is easy.  Contact them and go to a few meetings asking for time from leadership on the membership committee.  Get involved.  Don’t just join like most people. Make a difference. Get on a committee and make a difference.  New graduates don’t get involved because they think they don’t have experience.  You can add value and learn from professionals also making a difference while networking.  Suddenly, you are gaining experience worthy of putting on your resume. 

Get started now.  It takes time.  Get involved with a number of associations and non-profit groups, dedicate your time to a few and make a big impact.  Don’t stop when you land your paying gig.  Always find opportunities to expand your experience outside of work. 

Careers and skills change all the time.  Be the person ahead of the game. Don’t be the person playing catch-up with no or the wrong experience. 


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