It's the young job-seeker's vicious circle: No one will hire you because you don't have experience, but you can't get experience because no one will hire you. While it's not easy to get jobs with no experience, it's not impossible. Think about the things you have done, particularly leadership positions you've held at school or volunteer work in your community. The odds are good that some of the skills you learned in those situations are applicable to the job market. Focus on these things when preparing your resume and be creative in your job search to increase the chances you'll find a job to start building that all-important experience.
Create a resume that highlights your transferable skills. These are things you've learned that can be applied in more than one situation or career field. Maybe you were the one in your dorm everyone turned to when their computer crashed, because they knew you could figure out what happened. Those skills might make you marketable for a job in the computer industry. Maybe you were in charge of managing your school store during high school. That might help you get a job in a retail or food service store.
Take an entry-level job at a mall store or fast food restaurant, for example, to begin building some experience. If you have the chance to do multiple tasks within these jobs, volunteer to do them -- you'll learn additional marketable skills that can make you more attractive to future employers, in addition to demonstrating initiative and a willingness to learn. Sure, these jobs don't pay much and are hardly glamorous, but you're getting experience, earning a little money and possibly positioning yourself for higher level jobs within these industries.
Find a company you want to work for and propose to the hiring manager that you are willing to work as an unpaid intern. They'll be impressed with your initiative and seriousness about learning their business, and probably be more likely to consider you for a future paid opening, giving you a leg up on the competition.
Volunteer in your community. The more work-related experience you can gain, the more likely you'll be to convince a future employer you have what it takes to fill a paid position in his company. Many communities have volunteer positions in libraries, hospitals, schools and nursing homes. Youth sports and recreation facilities also offer volunteer opportunities that may eventually evolve into a paid position.
Do your own version of networking. Talk to your parents and their friends, asking them to keep you in mind for appropriate openings at their companies. Ask them to spread the word among their networks as well. Respond to advertisements on local job boards for entry-level positions in your area. Ask your principal, coach or pastor to serve as a reference for you: Recommendations from such people often can shift the balance in your favor when you're competing for a job, particularly when you don't have a lot of other things on your resume.
As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.