It’s the ultimate paradox of job searching: an entry-level position that requires at least 1–2 years experience. What gives? It may seem impossible to get around, but in reality, it’s not as much of a trap as it seems.

In fact, once you know how to get around the ‘experience trap’ you'll have a better chance of landing a job regardless of your experience level.

Here's how to do it:

Reflect.

Think back to every opportunity you've had; bake sales, community events, sports teams, volunteer work, family responsibilities or travelling. All of these situations have given you experience and new skills that are applicable to work life. Make a list and prioritise them from most to least important.

Compare.

Next, you need to go through your list and compare it to the job description of the role. Next to each required skill, write down an example of when you've used that skill in the past.

Explain.

Quickly describe what the experience was, what skills you gained from it and then how you could apply those skills in the future (in particular for this new role).

Be honest.

Let employers know why you're interested in the role and how you can bring value to the role. Avoid highlighting your lack of experience and instead focus on the fact that you’re willing to learn and look forward to the challenge.

What to do next

  • Search for your next job.
  • Make your experiences list.
  • Read the job description for the roles you're interested in (on JBA you'll find it in the job listing).
  • Use the reflect, compare, explain method to add relevant experience to your application.