I’ve recently seen a lot of activity in our Student Learning Community and on our Facebook page surrounding questions of how to get experience in your area of interest. Many of you have taken courses in your field of interest, read supplemental materials, and asked a lot of questions, but may be struggling to find work without any on-the-job experience. It’s the old Catch-22: can’t get a job without experience, and can’t get experience without a job.
Well luckily, a ‘job’ is a very loose term these days. Between volunteering, interning, being employed part-time or full-time, shadowing, apprenticeships and work experience, there are plenty of ways to gain the experience you may need to take the next step up in your career. If a formal job offer is eluding you, try work experience. Give it your all, ask a lot of questions, be innovative and enthusiastic, and you’ll likely impress your supervisors enough to at least remain in their top 10 candidates should a position become available.
If work experience isn’t right for you, how about volunteering? Offering your help for free, even part-time, is a great way to gain contacts, skills, confidence and a foot in the door. Not to mention your passion for the industry will be obvious – a characteristic any employer will be delighted to see. Loads of formal positions are filled by former volunteers. They already know the work, the team, the processes and procedures, which means the employer spends less time and money on training and waiting for the new guy/gal to get through the learning curve.