When it comes to getting a job, pretty much every employer is looking for someone with experience. But that’s the problem: if you haven’t had a job yet, you don’t have any experience. This is a classic catch-22 and sometimes it can feel like you’ll never be able to find a job.

But before you give up and wallow in self-pity or start screaming into the void about being unemployed forever, read the advice below. Because there are plenty of things you can do to bulk up your resume without actual work experience. Whether you’re looking for a trade, a graduate position in an office or your first job stacking shelves at the local supermarket, there are plenty of options.

1. Do an internship

An internship is basically an unpaid stint of work that you do in exchange for experience. It might last for a week or a few months. Sometimes, you’ll get your transport/lunch costs covered or you’ll get a small salary, but it’s more about gaining real world work experience so don’t expect to get any compensation out of it. The idea is that you learn a bunch of skills on the job and see how it all works. Afterwards, you might be offered a job at the company or you might get more qualified to get a job somewhere else. Either way, it’s a great start and it looks good on your resume.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering is similar to an internship except it’s not necessarily about getting work experience. You might volunteer as a wildlife carer, a conversational English teacher for refugees or serving food to the homeless. Essentially, volunteering is about offering your time towards causes that you really care about. Additionally, it shows an employer that you’re responsible and compassionate, so it looks great on a resume.

3. Mention your hobbies/sports/social media skills

Employers want to find people who get along well with other people. If you can communicate your social skills by mentioning a sport you play, a hobby you have or a social page you manage, you’re already ahead of the game.

In this booming age of social media, companies are realising just how important it is for them to get online and get their name and work out there into cyberspace. So, it plays in our favour that a lot of company and business owners are just a little bit lacking when it comes to their social media skills. If you have a blog, run a Youtube channel or have an online portfolio, make sure you chuck it in there and bulk up your resume.

4. Do it yourself 

If you’re keen on becoming a writer one day, why not start a blog? This will give you a heap of writing experience, plus a little bit of an audience, and maybe even some connections in the industry. Want to get into graphic design? Create an online portfolio or website showing off your designs and building a little bit of a following – you could even try selling merchandise printed with your designs. Start a Facebook page, a Youtube channel, an Instagram account. Whatever you want to do, start doing it, then present it on your resume as one of your skills.

 5. Get references

Whether it’s a family friend, a sporting coach, one of your teachers or your best friend’s dad, get someone to write you a reference. All they need to do is make a few notes about your character and vouch that you’ll show up on time and be ready to work, easy peasy.