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What do you do when all positions require work experience?

Tired of being out of the question for your dream jobs because you don’t have enough work experience? Here are some tips for alternative approaches to gaining the crucial experience.

When applying for a job as a graduate, it can be frustrating to see so many job advertisements calling for candidates with years of work experience. But you have to have a job to get experience, right? Well, not necessarily. Because even if you don’t fill all the criteria in a job ad, you can still be relevant for the job. You can read more about this here.

While applying for jobs, you can still use the waiting time to gain relevant experience from places other than an ordinary job. It will also look good on your cv that you have spent this time on something sensible. Here are some alternative approaches to gaining relevant experience.


Professional work experience does not necessarily have to come from income-generating work. Volunteering is often associated with altruism, i.e. one wants to help others without their own gain. But there’s no reason why the effort shouldn’t benefit you and your career as well.

“It will always be positive to gain experience through volunteer work. If it is also relevant and competence-building, considering the tasks you are going to solve in a job, it is of course very good to be able to show case,” – Jon Paulsen.

There are many organizations around the world who are constantly looking for volunteers who want to contribute their expertise. This is a great opportunity to build networks in the industry, develop your skills and gain practical experience to show for, while contributing something positive to others.

Search internships

Internship is a popular arrangement in very many companies. In the past, it has mostly been the big companies that could offer internships, but over the last few years several small and medium-sized companies have also started using this to recruit talented students. That is, there are internships in most industries, so just find those that might be most relevant in terms of your career plans.

Through an internship, you have the opportunity to take part in the company’s daily work, thereby gaining experience with relevant tasks. And not least, it is a great opportunity to get a good reference from a relevant employer. Internships usually last from one to six months, and often during the summer months.

The most common is to conduct internships during the study period, but many companies also offer internships to graduates. Internships and internships often are low-paid, or not paid at all. In other words, this should be seen as an extension of education.

Here you will find interviews with interns and interns who share their experiences with internships and internships in a variety of businesses.

Apply for internship through “Work Training”

Graduates who have little or lack of work experience can apply for benefits from NAV while participating in so-called “work training”. This is a scheme that corresponds to having an internship or an internship, where you are trained to perform regular tasks for a time-limited period.

The work training takes place in an ordinary workplace, but the tasks are adapted to your needs, and you get follow-up from NAV along the way. The goal is to try out your opportunities in the labour market, as well as gain experience and obtain references that you can use when applying for a job later.

During the period you are in work training, you may be entitled to action money from NAV. If you are over the age of 19, this support amounts to NOK 398 per working day, and this is tax-free. In a month with 21 working days, it amounts to about NOK 8,358, so this is not something to get rich from. Therefore, it is important to see this as an extension of your education, rather than an ordinary job. You can receive additional benefits for coverage of documented additional expenses you have in connection with the measure.

If you want to try your hand at work training, you must start by contacting the NAV office where you live. There you and your supervisor will jointly assess whether work training is for you. If that is the case, you can even start looking for a place of action. That is, you reach out to employers who can offer the experience you need. For example, if you are a trained real estate agent, it is appropriate to turn to a real estate company with the desire to work as an assistant to one of the brokers.

Apply for a trainee position

Trainee programs are a scheme that has become more and more common in the world over the past decade, and most prestigious companies now offer trainee programs. They are very attractive among graduates, as they provide a softer transition to working life. The competition for the positions is often great, so the needle eye can be tight. But the advantage here is that work experience is not emphasized in the same way as ordinary positions.

The aim of the trainee programmes, both for trainee and company, is permanent employment in the company after the trainee period. Trainee programs can last from one to three years, but the most common is two-year contracts. Trainees should initially be paid on an equal basis with a newly employed company.

As a trainee, you get guidance from a mentor in the business. You also often work in different departments to get to know several parts of the company, and therefore gain broad work experience.

Being a trainee is a great way to learn the industry you dream of working in.

In the Trainee Guide you will find a number of useful articles about being a trainee, interviews with trainees and trainee recruiters, as well as an overview of all trainee programs in the world.

Best of Luck…….

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