The standard recommendation: volunteer or do an internship. But that's risky: Too often, such positions contain more scutwork than resume-building work. Antidote: Upfront, negotiate a worthwhile assignment and quality supervision.
Too infrequently do employers hire interns/volunteers as regular employees. Antidote: No surprise, work harder and smarter than the other interns, and kiss the right asses.
Other routes to getting a job without prior relevant experience:
- Ask relatives, friends, parents of friends, etc. Usually only people who love you who will--especially in this job market--give you a good job without prior experience. Be sure to tout your transferable skills--for example, the leadership and organizational skills you acquired as your fraternity's activities chair.
- Send a portfolio of your work samples to target employers. Want to be a teacher? Videorecord a lesson you teach in his friend's classroom. Want a career in advertising? Design an ad for your favorite products. Are you an aspiring fundraiser? Develop a marketing plan for a nonprofit. Send your portfolio in response to advertised jobs and to target employers that aren't advertising an appropriate position.