If you are a student, then you are well aware that you likely have less experience than many of the other applicants for your target job. However, you shouldn’t be too quick to give up hope. Some employers are specifically looking for students or recent graduates to fill their open positions. As a student, you have assets that may be even more valuable to a potential employer than work experience:
Enthusiasm. Since students are new to the profession, they are usually eager to get to work. Employers love enthusiastic employees because they are productive and easy to work with, and they positively contribute to the atmosphere in the workplace. Make sure that you communicate your passion for the job in your cover letter and at your interview.
Fresh Eyes. New graduates have a completely different perspective than seasoned employees. Their unique viewpoint allows them to spot problems and see possibilities that nobody else has even considered. Smart employers often look to students to try to identify blind spots or missed opportunities.
Current Knowledge. Since it is difficult for even the most dedicated professional to stay on top of recent trends and research, many employers use students to fill that gap. Students are up to date on current industry knowledge and if given the opportunity, they will use it to the benefit of the company. Make an effort to stay on top of industry trends by reading relevant publications. Whenever applicable, mention these trends in your interview to demonstrate that your knowledge is current.
Flexibility. After working for a while, many employees begin to take their job for granted and are less willing to make personal sacrifices to meet the employer’s needs. While this is understandable, it is not ideal from the employer’s perspective. On the other hand, many employers perceive that students and recent graduates are willing to do anything and everything to make the employer happy. For example, the employer may find that students are more willing to work an overnight shift than other employees. Make this stereotype work to your advantage by letting the employer know that you are flexible and that you’re willing to go beyond the call of duty to get the job done.
In a tight labour market, it seems like someone without experience wouldn’t even have a chance at getting a job. However, that is not the case. Many employers actively recruit students for their open positions. While students do lack experience, employers have found that they have other attributes that make them excellent employees.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)