Degree but no work experience: ask the expert

I have done my Bachelors degree in IT (information Technology), but that was in 2002. It has been 8 years now , and I have NO work experience at all. How can I know what my degree is worth in today’s working field, and without experience who will employ me?

Though you haven’t yet used your degree vocationally, the fact you’ve got it proves you’ve a reasonable brain.  You’ve got something to build with.

What have you been doing since 2002?  Could any of these skills and experiences be used to help you get back to work?

What you learnt during your IT degree is out of date now, but maybe you’ve used your training to teach others how to use IT, set up websites for voluntary groups or learnt specialised up to date software just for interest?  More widely, perhaps you’ve helped other mums set up play groups or other activities for the kids or campaigned for a local cause?  One of your hobbies (eg swimming or music-making) might suggest a potential career path.  List anything and everything you’ve done, then try to identify jobs where your  skills, experiences and knowledge would give you a competitive advantage over other candidates.

Unless you’ve been very active doing “graduate level” voluntary work, you’re likely to have to work below your academic level for a short while at least.  Look for jobs which only need basic, easily learnt job knowledge but where your talents give you an edge.  If you’ve a meticulous approach to detail and strong problem-solving, interpersonal and self-organisation skills, for example, you could offer the all-round clerical support many small businesses, voluntary sector and public sector employers are crying out for.  There’ll be lots of competition for these jobs so you’ll have to job hunt very actively.

Use the basic level job as your stepping-stone to better jobs within or outside your employing organisation.

It can be worthwhile to take (usually free) training courses to update your employment skills and grow your confidence a bit.  It may be worthwhile talking to JobCentrePlus about the opportunities for such training available in your area.  There are (paid and unpaid) internships for new grads – maybe you could muscle in on one of these?  It’s always worth asking (and pushing a bit until you get the answer you want!).

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