Epic Quest is a weekly feature about four young progeeks and their journeys to launch their dream careers. To read from the beginning, start here.
In Phase Two, the four progeeks each answer our question of the week.
This week’s question: How do you handle the “you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job” loop?
DoctorWhom: I deal with the experience loop through volunteer work. Volunteers generally aren’t expected to have experience, but it’s a great way to get that experience and make contacts, or at least people. Plus it’s rewarding, having a lot of volunteer work on your resume speaks well for your character, and with the right choices it’s a lot of fun.
Tau’riJedi: Honestly, I don’t know. I’m still trying to handle that one. Sometimes I get ballsy and point that out in my cover letter. Out of about 20 that I’ve put that on, I’ve been contacted by 5, so it’s had about a 25% return rate. Otherwise, I just try my best to sell on the experience that I have. I do a lot of free freelance work, so I try to include as many of the projects as are relatable on the cover letter. Otherwise, I still have no idea how to handle it. I’d say about 95% of the responses that I get from applications are all to inform me that they want someone with more experience. If I fire back a gutsy email about how I need the work to get the experience, it’s always ignored. So really… I don’t know.
Day-Dreamer: With most jobs we apply for, we apply because we think we can do them. The only thing left to do is explain why we can; depicting what experiences you’ve had that prepare you for this one, even if they are not identical to the position you seek. This argument, when done correctly, has always worked for me. It’s all about brainstorming the specific the values of our abilities, and conveying them persuasively.
GodzillaStar: Not well, apparently. I just refocus my goals and do as much as I can without relying on anyone else to give me the green light. It’s not the most effective, but I haven’t found a better way yet.