Dear Faith, I want to find my first job this summer.

Dear Faith,

I want to find my first job this summer. But all the ads I see are asking for experience. How am I supposed to get experience without experience?


Wanna Paycheck

Most of us know a student who wants a summer job this year. After all, summer jobs are a great way to break into the working world! This is a typical message sent to Faith, our career and education advice columnist.  Here’s her answer:

Dear Wanna,

You’ve run into a classic dilemma: many jobs require experience. But how can you get experience without a job?

As you probably are aware, volunteering looks great on a resume – that’s a foolproof way to get some raw material for the “experience” section of your resume.

Maybe you’re on top of the volunteer work, but the thought of making a resume freaks you out a bit. Wondering what to put on it? If you don’t have a lot of work experience, consider a functional resume. Functional resumes focus on skills and knowledge, not your work history. And remember: It’s OK to include things like extracurricular activities and awards you’ve won at school. You want to highlight your strengths.

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of pounding the pavement, newly minted resume in your hand? Seeking out help is a good idea. Networking is a proven way to make good connections. That’s when you ask people you already know if they have any good job leads for you. A lot of jobs aren’t advertised, so this can be good way to learn about openings.

Ready to get started? Students can find lots of info, tips and tools in the Get a Job section of our career planning sites (under the Career Planning tab).



Counselor Tip:  Ask Faith questions and answers are updated regularly in the Voices section in Career Planning.  Print them out and post them on your school’s bulletin board for students to read.


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