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Is it hard to land a job in the business world after graduation?


Latoiya Holloman Aurora, IL

I have a masters in Business and every job I apply for says I don't qualify because lack of experience. How can I get experience if everybody is looking for people with experience?

17 October 2018 14 replies Mentoring



Emanuel Carpenter Alpharetta, GA

Latoiya - Congratulations on getting your Masters. That is a great accomplishment. So now it's all about letting that degree and your military experience work for you. Here's my advice:

1. Look for jobs that depend on what you did in the military AND your degree. Tailor your resume to meet the most common job descriptions you believe are a fit and use your military experiences as your qualifications OR

2. Consider entry-level positions that only rely on your degree. For example, you could probably easily get an entry-level sales job. It can prepare you for starting your own business too. OR

3. Consider the COMPANY you want to work for first. Find out if they believe in promoting from within. If they do, find ANY job at that company that pays enough to live on. Meanwhile, introduce yourself to the managers of the departments where you really want to work. Be on the lookout for open positions. It might take a year but the wait will be worth it. My buddy worked in the mail room at a large bank for a year. He then worked his way up to higher-paying jobs at this bank as he obtained more education.

4. Let your family, friends, and ex-colleagues be your recruiters. If they work at a company you would like to work for, send them your resume. Tell them finding a job is crucial. Their personal referral will be more valuable than you just going to job boards and completing applications.

5. Consider volunteering to get the experience you need. An internship could be helpful as well.

6. If using job boards, try the ones that focus on helping veterans find jobs like HirePurpose or

The rest really depends on what type of position you're looking for. I hope this is helpful.

10 November 2018 Helpful answer


Carl Legge West Chester, PA

I don't have all the answers, but I have noticed that when experience is a factor, it is most likely because the hiring manager is looking for a unique or non-transferable skill that may be required to do the job on day one. These aren't normally entry level positions. If you are new to the industry, consider if you are applying to the right level of position. You may have to choose a lower level to get into the industry, but with your education and character, you will quickly get into the level you desire. For example, consider "associate" versus "manager or director" and consider titles without "Senior" attached to them. Once you get the position, you can negotiate the pay--and your Masters degree and experience in the military will most certainly help that along.


Wesley Eddins Virginia Beach, VA

Ms Hollman
To answer your question honestly depends on how much research you do on the organization, or firm you are seeking employment. Planning how you approach your career search is as important as the career you choose.
. First update your resumes and tailor them for the specific organization you are seeking employment.
. Highlight your current and/ related skills and experience for the position you are seeking.
. Make sure that the application is legible and accurate if online/ written.
. Avoid using acronyms describe skills and abilities.
. Call the organization or visit and establish a POC that you can reference later.
. Submit your applications and Resumes. . Wait 10-14 working days and follow up on the status of your apllication.
.Prepare for your interviews, prepare questions relevent to the positions to ask the interviewer.
. Provide professional referrences/ only when asked.
Do these things and your journey should be smooth and less stressful. Stay vigilent.."Success is Possible".


Dean Bottomley


Happy New Year, you have some great accomplishments at the mid level of your career, and you are marketable. I have 2 pieces of advice.

Look into the non traditional areas, USA Jobs, CIA, DEA, CBP, with your current skill set these groups are hungry to get their hands on you, it will lead to other things as well as round you up for a different career should you choose.

Finally, as you went into your field, reflect back on where you wanted to go, what your drivers where to gain your degree and list what you want to get out of it.

When I originally retired I went into teaching as an Adjunct Professor and as an Instructor in Military Programs, doing the same jobs I had done prior but with greater flexibility, then I launched out on my own with my experience.

The skills you have are your best alignment for what you decide to do next. The local Small Business Association will be glad to help and even provides mentors, bounce your idea's off of them.

Best of Luck and have a great new year!



Jerome Wong Scarsdale, NY

Hi Latoiya,

Thank you for your service. Everyone starts their first job with zero experience, by definition - so on the face of it you should not be concerned with the response you are receiving about a lack of experience. Either you are applying for positions which require experience or it is not a good fit and they are making excuses so it is important for you to figure out which situation you are in so you can start to make some progress. If it's the latter, the questions raised by the other advisors is a good place to start.




George Hernandez La Porte, TX

As a retiree and senior recruiter with 20+ years in HR and recruiting, you are experiencing what many people experience in trying to land an opportunity. Many great perspectives given you on the responses received.

You'll have to use the shotgun approach, continue to do all the things you're doing, but add networking to your list to focus on.
There is less than 1% of job offers given through online applications, so you want to leverage your time.
Give your online efforts some attention, but don't invest most of your time there with little return.

As an HR consultant, I always recommend to my clients to especially make sure you have a killer resume with "quantifiable bullets," fill out online applications, network like crazy with friends, family, church, community centers, non-profit groups, including VSO (Veteran service organizations) job/career fairs, university alumni groups, junior colleges, state employment services, executive recruiters, staffing companies that specialize in direct hires (they have connections with the hiring managers that are existing clients.)

As you are networking your way through, make sure you leverage your connections by asking if they know anyone or an organization that they can refer you to. is one of my favorite resources to find executive recruiters, also known as headhunters.

As a recruiter, they don't have to live in your city to help, since their clients are scattered throughout many states, or countries, you just have to do a little investigating.
My last recruiting gig, I was working with a $9 billion dollar corporation, and I was recruiting their people throughout the country of Mexico.
I never made one trip to Mexico, and we were successful.
All we need as recruiters is a requisition to fill, a phone and laptop,

Recruiting slows down between Oct - Dec, and ramps up between Jan - Mar.

If you need to reach out, call George 832-339-1893
I don't charge veterans to help get them going in the right direction for a successful career in a wonderful country of great opportunities.

Best wishes to you in your career search for 2019.


Jo Prabhu San Rafael, CA

Its sad that after spending all this time and money you can't land even an entry level job! My own grandaughter majored from a Top 10 University and has taken up an entirely different career after 5 years of waitressing 2 jobs to pay off her student loans! FYI, many larger corporations set aside a % of their workforce for internships, apprenticeships and externships and I have made it a regular practice to forward any college students with a letter of referral to my clients. 95% of them get hired, stay with company for an average 2-3 years and after learning the ropes get enough experience to venture out. The city of Long Beach, CA has set aside 4000 such jobs with the city and It is beyond me why larger Universities don't offer 2nd or 3rd year students the same. Maybe as Recruiters, we need to do more! I know I will.


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Latoiya, lack of experience sounds like an excuse you are hearing for we don't feel you fit in our company. I am shooting from the hip when I say your interviewing skills may be at fault. I have a "Killer Interviewing" program that I teach people. This program has worked for people trying to get accepted into grad schools or when applying for a job. If interested send me an email to and I will share the process with you.



Perhaps I am reading something into your statement that is not there. Stop complaining about the market - there are many jobs out there.

What jobs are you applying for? Where?; in which industry sector?

A Master's degree while a note-worthy achievement - will not automatically guarantee you a job. Perhaps you were mislead on that point.

Apply for a job in a corporation as a Junior Buyer in Purchasing. You are over-qualified for that type position but start there. Demonstrate your abilities; get experience and then "move up" the organization.


Ken Vennera Norristown, PA

Latoiya: I have to agree with Emmanuel above. Those are the points I'd recommend and I think he said it best and very succinctly. It depends on your existing resources. If you can stick it out for a long search you can come up with something. If not, you might have to compromise slightly. Unfortunately, even when moving laterally, the opportunities may not be truly "lateral" and you have to step down slightly to step in before you step up. Wish you the best.


Nora Anna Norwalk, CT

Volunteer in the Non Profit Sector. Every non-profit is desperate for Board Members who are business literate. You can volunteer - part-time - as a Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, General Board Member who helps the Board move forward in all projects. Sooner than you think you will be putting a great deal of experience on your resume that will make getting the job you want easier. Good Luck! and blessings to you and your family.


Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

Focus on your TALENTS. A quality employer will look past your lack of experience to the talents a candidate brings to the table. Something about not being able to, "Teach Pigs to Sing."

Point being, Just what are the TALENTS that you possess that an employer would find attractive - given the position(s) you seek?

Don't know what your talents are? Here is a FREE website that will help point you in the correct direction. If you need help interpreting same, I will be happy to provide FREE counsel - for a fellow vet.


Deborah Carter Owens Cross Roads, AL

Hi Latoiya,

You have experience, you just need to consider the work that you did in the Army and translate those activities and accomplishments into the language used in the job requisition. Almost everything in just about any role involves a process, the potential for improvements, cost, schedule, and change and people management. I know it’s a lot of work to think it through, but ACP can help you with a mentoring relationship and potentially a mentor can help you with that translation.

Good luck!


ACP AdvisorNet Staff New York, NY

Hi Latoiya,

Thank you for your service and for utilizing ACP AdvisorNet!

I took a look through past questions on the site and found one with a lot of valuable advice, which you can view here:

One of the pieces of advice is to tell your story through a cover letter. In a cover letter, you can explain how your life experiences and education have prepared and trained you to take on the specific role. Below are a few resources that can help with writing a cover letter:

The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received from Harvard Business Review -

How to Write a Cover Letter: 31 Tips from The Muse -

Please reach out if you have any other questions!


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