Guest post by Graduate Rescue – DIY experience: Need experience but no one will give you a break?

How many times have you been told that you don’t have enough experience for the position? How many times have you pulled your hair out in frustration at the same old cycle; no one will give you a job without experience but to get experience you need a job?! Our guess is a lot. But is having a job really the only way you can gain experience? Well, there are other ways…

Provable examples of your skills

A huge reason employers are so keen on experience is because it provides them with provable examples of what you can do and the skills you can bring to the company. Remember – they’re considering making a big investment in hiring you and they don’t have much to go on.

Employers are looking for examples of skills such as:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Commercial awareness
  • Organisation and planning

Having a job is not the only way to prove to an employer that you possess these skills. So how can you add provable examples of these skills to your CV? Here are a few ideas to point you in the right direction:


Starting a blog related to your chosen industry is a great way to stand out from the crowd. You’ll gain proven communication skills and commercial awareness as well as demonstrating commitment and enthusiasm for your chosen field. You can also use it to show off your IT abilities.

Make the most out of volunteering

Use volunteering roles to bump up your transferable skills. When volunteering keep one eye on your CV, think about application form and interview questions and how the work you’re doing would help you demonstrate that you’re the right candidate. Ask your supervisor/manager if you can get involved with things that will give you provable examples of the skills employers are looking for.

Set up a part-time business

This doesn’t have to be ground breaking to provide you with essential skills. For instance selling wholesale items on ebay will provide you with proven sales experience, communication skills gained from contact with wholesalers and customers and organisation and planning skills from managing orders. It also shows you possess both initiative and self-reliance.

Start a community  project

Starting your own project within a community is a great way to do some good and set yourself apart from other candidates. The skills you gain such as organisation, communication, leadership and teamwork will be a valuable asset to any position. If the idea of starting your own project seems a little daunting, why not investigate local projects already set up and see if you can get involved.

These are just a couple of examples of what you can do to gain relevant experience outside of employment. There are plenty of other avenues to explore as well, engage your excellent problem solving and analytical skills to find something that’s right for you!

And finally a shameless plug…

I work for Graduate Rescue, a social enterprise for students and graduates, we’ve got a whole section on improving your skills, with loads of information on all the ideas discussed above and plenty more. Come check us out.

Graduate Rescue is an employability resource for students and graduates. It costs just £9.99 for a full year’s membership and provides services such as online interview coaching, professional career advice software, practice psychometric assessments, as well as a whole host of advice and guidance for increasing your employability. Finally, as a well earned reward for reaching the end of this blog post, have a 10% discount off the cost of membership, simply use the coupon code: DIY-Experience


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