4 Steps To Beat The Experience Gap

Picture this: You’re fresh out of University and guess what, you have a degree! A certificate that can open up doors for you and even get you a job. You go through jobs vacancies and get ready to apply but they need young people who have at least four years experience. Welp!

You shut your laptop, open it and google, “how to change your career.

In Nigeria, this is one of the ways the degree is useless. And it’s one of the reasons I hate it. But if you must, I have a cheat for you. Did your ears perk up when you read “cheat.”

Don’t worry, we’re not committing any sins. It isn’t even much of a cheat since it takes years to work but it is a cheat nonetheless. Read on especially if you’re still in the university or not yet in and you want to get a job in your field of study. Or even anywhere.

The only way to cheat the experience gap is to get the experience.

I sound like I’m mad, right? But before you click out, hear me out.

Let’s say you’re in your first year of University studying Business Administration.

You have access to professionals (your professors) and you’re actually learning from them. If you’re not, don’t worry, there’s Google. But the point is: you are learning.

And as you learn, you are asking questions. You are formulating your own ideas and theories. Why don’t you ask those ideas online? And post those ideas and theories too.

What’s on the internet is there forever. When you employers search you out, they see your ideas, and thoughts instead of those embarrassing selfies.

And then you look up the trends in your industry. Follow the experts. Listen to them, learn from them. Read their blogs. Ask them questions.

The key here is to establish yourself as a thought leader, that’s code for, “I know what I’m talking about.

You learn and then you do.

So you know a little bit of Business Administration but that’s it. All you have is knowledge. What they teach you in school + more.

But now you need to go out and use that knowledge. I’m not even asking you to get a job (that’ll come later). Start with the little businesses around you. Give them tips for free. Help them out with their business administration and whatever it is business administrators do. You don’t have to go big, just the small businesses around. Test your knowledge on them.

You can also do so online. Like I said, thought leadership. Your future employers are watching.

Freelance.

Then one day, you’re running late for a class and a text comes into your phone. It’s from Cynthia.

Cynthia, Cynthia, who the heck is that? And you read through her message and you realise. She’s the girl who knows how to bake. She’s the girl who recently started a bake shop. She’s the girl who you gave some advice. And she’s texting to tell you that the advice worked and made her money.

Drop your phone and celebrate like you were the one who made that money. Because you did. And you will. Because it’s time to sell your service.

Again, go to small businesses and tell them what you can help them with. You have Cynthia’s testimonial and all others from the people you’ve helped. Charge them a fee. It might not be much at first, but hey, it’s something.

Meet and talk with people.

Also known as networking but that word freaks me out. I know for a fact that conferences and seminars are organized by school faculties and departments. I know for fact that most people do not attend. But please, when you hear of such opportunity, clean yourself up and go, go, go! You’ll meet experts in your industry and you’ll also meet people like you, people who want to carve a name for themselves in that industry. Attend those events.
Like I said, networking freaks me out.

Don’t try to be fancy or promote yourself. Just be you and talk.

Talk about why you do what you do. Tell a story. And listen to them tell theirs.

A lot may not come out from it but hey, you met someone new. Your makeup and high heels wasn’t all for nothing.

And finally, do something creative

Start a campaign. Collaborate with friends. Look for a creative way to help someone.

You and your fellow business administration friends could probably start a campaign to help undergraduates in the school solve their business problems. You could host a thirty day challenge to help give businesses a facelift. Get it on social media. You can even get other well known brands to join in on the fun. Just look for how to help someone using your skills and turn it into something creative.

The world always seems brighter when you’ve made something that wasn’t there before.

If you’re dedicated to this, you may not even need to look for a job afterwards, but in the case that you do, you have at least four years (depends on when you start) worth of experience in the industry when you finally graduate. Which is more than most of your peers. You’re just fresh out of the university but you’re worth your salt.

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