How did you get around the no-experience barrier?

Some jobs require experience but you can't get experience without a job. Have you overcome this and how?

It's a dilemma as old as life itself--how do you get work experience when every available job requires the candidate to already have experience? This is a particularly aggravating situation for new college grads who have a diploma but no practical, hands-on experience.

I've discussed this before in this blog. I've suggested doing volunteer work for a non-profit as a way to gain experience. Last week, much to the chagrin of the members reading the blog, I had an HR expert say that there's really no way around starting from the ground floor.

I'd like to hear from those of you out there as to how you overcame this can't-get-experience-without-having-experience issue.