Should I apply for a job without the needed experience?

Friday August 14 2020

Dear Moses,
I graduated from the university in 2018, in the meantime, I’ve been doing many things not related to what I studied. I’ve been applying for jobs but the biggest problem is most of the vacancies advertised ask for a three years or more experience, do I stand a chance? Should I apply for jobs whose experience I don’t have? Thomas

Dear Thomas,
Organisations, when recruiting, most times have the objective of filling positions with people who are ready to hit the ground running, hence the requirement for experience of sometimes up to 5 years. They will be looking to hire a particular skill or leadership trait that is lacking to drive the organisation to a desired level. This may be to fight off competition, drive sales or reduce costly inefficiencies and internal bottlenecks. These challenges require experienced and skilled talent to deliver the desired outcomes. Organisations faced with such challenges have no time to invest in on-the-job training and skilling before they begin to reap productivity from the new hires.
You have mentioned, however, that you have been “doing many things” not related to what you studied.

The question is what are those “things” that have been occupying your time? Can you describe some of them as hobbies? What skills have you acquired from doing those things and how have you deployed them? Most important, what are you passionate about and how deeply have you applied yourself to your passion?
My suggestion is that you start shopping for a mentor to guide you through the maze which career paths appear to beginners.

A mentor is a person you admire, who is experienced and possesses the skills and knowledge that can enhance your professional and personal growth.

If you identify a good mentor he/she will create for you a risk-free environment, where you feel safe and comfortable sharing your ideas, thoughts, dreams, weaknesses and challenges.

The mentor will encourage you to critically examine what you do, why and how you do it.
When shopping for a mentor, focus on the following traits:
1. Mentor as a Coach: He listens and asks questions that help you get to the bottom of your challenges.
2. Mentor as a Successful Star: Find a mentor who has succeeded in the career that you are pursuing.
3. Mentor as a Connector: He/she should be able to introduce or point you to the right people you will benefit from and then build up your own list of vital contacts.


Moses Ssesanga,
Head of Human Resource, NMG Uganda