Career and Work Study Abroad and Exchange

Getting experience to get experience?

Image of Frodo with caption, You're telling me I have to get experience to get experience?

Entry level Job Post: Looking for a graduate between the ages of 20 – 25 with thirty years of work experience, super powers and 5 million dollars (because this is an unpaid position).

The job market is tough – and not just tough, but it is extremely competitive.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently divulged research which indicates that it takes an average period of around 5 years for students to go from finishing full-time study to landing a full-time job. But why is it so hard?

A significant factor is the internship craze. More and more organizations are offering young professionals and graduates un-paid internships under the banner of ‘gaining real-life experience’ and then using them to complete tasks no one else at the office wants to do. I should know – I have done five of them.

Due to our desperation to get experience post-graduation, we are running and leaping at internship opportunities and fighting with our peers for the chance to work full-time and without pay for weeks or months on end. The paradox is that in the current global climate, graduates need to get experience, in order to get experience.

Volunteer positions need a few years’ experience, entry-level jobs for graduates now require a number of years of experience and the average age of applicants applying for positions in graduate programs is between 24-27. The people now applying for what should be graduate jobs are actually young professionals or even professionals advanced in their career. So where does this leave us graduates?

A research survey in 2013 found that a significant amount of young Australians are now forking out thousands of dollars to do overseas internship programs through companies that find and place you in a guaranteed internship position with an organization. This highlights the desperate situation most graduates find themselves in, which is finished university with a degree and nowhere to work. And for those us who can’t afford to pay for internships to get some ‘experience’ on our CV, the struggle is even more of an uphill battle.

Where do we go from here? Unfortunately, it is a reality that we must all accept and deal with. Even doing internships will be no guarantee of securing a graduate or entry level position, or even a volunteer job for that matter. We must try to take every opportunity we can get and equip ourselves with as many experiences and skills as we can to become more valuable and stand-out job applicants amongst a pool of many, many fish.

Despite the seeming hopelessness of our job prospects (or maybe not if you’ve been a lucky one), there are many places young Australians can look to find opportunities, and you just have to put yourself out there and go for it!

A number of fantastic organizations and websites offer advice, resources and opportunities for students to take advantage of and I highly recommend that you check some or all of them out! Two great ones are Young Opportunities and Hey Success.

Now go forth and get experience to get experience!

If you have any tips on job searching or internships don’t forget to comment down below or send us a blog to share on Explore.


P.S. Griffith Students can get help and advice from the Careers and Employment Service too!

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  • Habagusenga Wellars
    December 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    as me every day I like to do. so job or internship is great important to increase experience.