Are you looking to switch careers or get a new job? If you are just graduating from college and are trying to get a job in this economy it may be pretty difficult. There is a lot of competition out there and even if you had a job in college, odds are that there is someone with longer work experience. The truth is that it’s difficult to stand out with out a lot of relevant work experience. So, how do you get a job without enough experience?

Does this mean you need to resort to flipping burgers or serving cappuccinos at your local Starbucks? While some may be forced to do this because they are tied to their location, it isn’t a requirement. In fact, if you are creative and patient, you can find a good job. It may not be your dream job, but at least it will be in your field and helping you achieve your career goals, rather than just paying the bills.

Build Up That Resume:

One of the  first things that you can do to help get a relevant job is to build up your resume now. You may think you have plenty of training or expertise, but I can assure you that there are at least 10 (if not hundreds of) other people that are more qualified than you. Even if you cannot find a relevant part-time job, try your best to volunteer for an organization in the same field. The few hours a week that you spend volunteering will not only give you relevant experience, but add an additional item on your resume. When you are trying to stand out from your various competitors, ever little bit helps.

Take a Smaller Starting Salary:

Many people may disagree with me on this aspect, but a great way to get your foot in the door is to accept the position at a smaller starting salary. If you are confident in your work ethic and can be honest with yourself that you need the experience, it will be worth it in the long run to get a low-paying job that is in your field rather than making money as a pizza delivery person. While not a bad profession if that is what you want to do, if your goal is to work as a manager in the non-profit realm, it won’t help you achieve your long-term goals. Being willing to take a pay cut may help you stand out. It is important to clarify in subtle ways that you are worth more than this and this is only short term.

My wife accepted a job in her relevant field about a year and a half ago as part of the government’s Americorps program. If you know anything about this program, you know that you are basically a volunteer. You are compensated with a living stipend (and that’s it) that comes out to less than minimum wage for a year-long stint. While this put a strain on our family’s budget for a year, it set her up for a huge promotion just over 6 months ago at the end of her year term. Sometimes it pays to sacrifice for the short term in order to establish yourself within your field.

What other tips have you employed to get a job in your field?