“Sorry, You Lack the Experience to Obtain The Experience”

Few situations are more frustrating than applying for jobs and never hearing word back. Not too long ago, we posted a video about this problem. One of the reasons that this occurs, however, is because the applicant lacks the proper experience that the job requires.

Most of us have encountered this problem: the only way to get the job is experience, but the only way to get experience is to get the job. If you are applying for positions such as “Sales Manager”, “Senior Merchandiser”, or “Marketing Director” without the proper qualifications you will likely never hear back after submitting your resume.

So what do you do about it? You could just throw your hands up in the air and take the next available job that comes your way. OR, you could create a plan and take the first steps toward your ideal career.

One important thing to realize is that building a successful career takes time. There are very good reasons that companies don’t hire recent graduates for mid-level or upper-level positions. Don’t be discouraged by this, just roll up your sleeves and get to work! Here are five actions to take when you find yourself needing to build your qualifications for your perfect position.


1. Identify the path to your ideal position. Just because you may not be ready for that ideal job TODAY, does not mean that you can’t set yourself up for being the #1 candidate in a few short years.. Clarify the exact career path to that position. Take a look at the qualifications on the job posting. What are they wanting the ideal candidate to have done leading up to that position? This will give you clues on where to start. Then you can develop a “trajectory” for getting exactly what you want out of your career.

*We at AgGrad are considering a page on this site that gives you various career pathways to get to certain higher-level positions. Please leave us a comment on this blog to let us know if that’s something you think would be beneficial.

2. Find a way in the door. If you’ve done the effort to determine exactly what you want, and you don’t have the experience to get the job offer right away, what you need is a way “in the door”. Identify your ideal company and position. Then find out what position(s) within that company for which you are qualified. You can do this by calling the HR department, connecting with people who work for that company on Linkedin and asking them, or by interacting with the company online or at a career fair or trade show.

3. Be willing to pay your dues. We “Millennials” are used to having everything at our fingertips. In the age of same-day shipping, Uber, Snapchat, etc. we are accustomed to immediacy. However, great careers are not instant. They are developed over time by proving yourself, doing what you say you’re going to do, acting with integrity and treating others with respect. I know this is by no means a “life hack”, but it’s the truth: great careers are built on years of hard work, consistency, and relationships built on trust over time.

4. Network within your industry. This goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. Paying your dues is essential, but in order to get to the next level, you have to have a reputation. Sure, it’s possible to get a reputation without networking, but it will take much longer. And don’t think you can just network yourself to the top, you must form solid relationships based on trust, which means you not only need to meet people, but show them you have “paid your dues” through action. If you’re looking for help in this category, Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” is a great resource on networking.

5. Stick with it. Even if you find a job or field that you absolutely love, work is not always fun. There will be good days and tough ones. A lot of the difference between those that ultimately get what they want out of their careers and those that don’t make it is how soon they give up. Stick with it! You may, at times, feel that you’re not making progress, but if you have a plan and you follow all five of these tips, I am confident that you will eventually land in your ideal position. With the current demand for talent in the agriculture industry, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens even quicker than you expect!

Some of you, especially new graduates, might be saying “that seems like a long time!” Very true, but you will soon find it goes quicker than you think. Also, what will differentiate you from your peers is your ability to “play the long game”, which means taking a strategic approach to building a meaningful career. This may mean not taking the flashiest job with the best location right away, and instead taking the job that best sets you up for the next level.

But what if you don’t know what that ideal career choice is for you, and you’re just applying for positions that seem interesting? That is one of the main reasons we created AgGrad. Currently, when most people want to learn more about careers in agriculture they simply apply for jobs and wait to hear back.

Please use AgGrad’s resources to the fullest by submitting your resume to Resume@AgGrad.com which will gain you access to our Secret Facebook Group, Webinars, Job postings, Contact With a Recruiter, and more.

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.