This is kind of a chicken and egg thing, but a new survey from Accountemps says that over 90 percent of employers are claiming that prior work experience in a related field is either very important or somewhat important when considering which candidate to hire. This survey is geared toward getting the attention of college students, many of whom are, um, about to look for their first job.
The lesson that college (and, for that matter, high school) students are to take from this is that somehow they're supposed to get some work experience in their chosen field before they actually apply for a job in their chosen field. I know how crazy that sounds to many people, but the trick is to get creative. And that's where the grown-ups can help. If you know of a student with a hankering to get into your profession, lend a hand. Summer work and formal internships are great, but there's only so much of that work available. Think of special projects you can dole out to students. Bring in a panel of college students and get their input on a number of issues. Even giving students a chance to shadow you or someone at your workplace can provide resume fodder.