Why You Need Experience to Get Experience

Christopher Rossmann

Imagine for a moment, that you are a young person, with little experience in the working world. You have plenty of energy and motivation, and you just need a place of employment. You go out, fill out applications and hope for some call backs. Things are looking good and everyone you talk to seems to be encouraging.

Unfortunately though, your resume still has baby-sitting jobs for your mother’s friends and that summer you spent mowing lawns. As the weeks roll by, you never end up hearing much, maybe the occasional call back but nothing substantial. Even minimum wage jobs at McDonald’s and Burger King pass you by for people who seem to be on par with you as candidates. When will it ever be your turn for a shot at a job?

In today’s job market, to get a job over other similar candidates, you need to prove you have the additional experience to make you the best candidate for the job. But to get that experience, you need to have already had a job.

That makes enough sense on the surface; people with more experience can come in and start without extensive training. For low-level, unskilled, minimum wage positions though, how in the world does that make any sense? How can young people be expected to break into a job market set up like that?

Some argue that a college education, or some form of technical training is all a person needs to find a job. High school students should just focus on making it into college and stop worrying about their resumes. GPAs have to come first, right?

A 2001 study conducted by Diane Whitmore, Jonathan Orszag and Peter Orszag of Sebago Associates, found that there were no negative effects on students’ enrollment rates or GPAs produced working part time on campus, however. The study found that employment on campus can actually have a positive effect by sparking interests in new fields and helping to build the resumes of the students. Building those resumes then helped lead students into career paths they hadn’t considered and helped launch their careers after graduation.

While universities try their hardest to offer employment opportunities to as many students as possible, many students still run into the same problem. Without prior experience, they are unable to land the jobs that will give them experience.

This has become a huge societal problem. By crippling the youth of our nation in the job market, we cripple the future of our country. Until we as a society find a different way to evaluate potential employees, the youth of our nation will always struggle to get started on their own in this world.