Ever tried looking through the classifieds or checking online job boards to see what’s available, with the hope that you will find a position you are qualified for, apply and possibly meet your perspective employer?
We have all been there at some point in our lives. You discover a position that you are appropriately certified for; you have acquired the skills that are necessary to effectively perform job duties throughout your years of study, then it hits you; you also need a minimum of 2 or 3 years’ experience in that area.
If you are a recent graduate, currently in your final semester/term or merely redirecting your career path, I’m sure you have encountered this predicament. The next question follows, how is an individual to garner some amount of work experience if no one will hire him/her?
Here a few tips to help you gain some work experience:
1) If you are still in high school and close to 16 years old, now is a good time to start thinking about work experience. Think about the subjects you enjoy most in school, what you would like to do and begin networking. Speak with your teachers, career counselors, family members, friends of family and individuals at your church; tell them what area you are interested in and find out whether or not they know a contact person.
Act on that information, create a resume and get in touch with the contact via phone or email, explain your objective (to gain work experience) and be prepared to work summers, weekends and possibly holidays.
2) Volunteer: this is an easy way to gain experience for college students and recent grads. A number of organizations such as; The Red Cross, Humanitarian Association, Humane Society are always seeking volunteers. There are even programs where you can volunteer abroad.
Find what interests you, that is in alignment with your area of study and go or it. Visit your local schools, community centers or hospitals and find out if there are any vacancies. With volunteering, you do not have to work every day, a few hours per day, 2 or 3 days per week adds up over a period of time.
3) Being an Intern is another great way to gain experience that is related to your career path. For graduates and those in the midst of changing careers; do some research, locate a business/organization that has a position or one close enough to what you are pursuing (vacant or occupied) and contact the human resource department or hiring manager.
Offer yourself as an intern, explain how you could be an asset to the business/organization, explain that you are willing to accept a stipend in order to learn and gain the experience, and state that you would love to work for them.
Whether it is working through the summer, volunteering or participating in an internship program, those hours, days, weeks and summers accumulated will become equivalent to some amount of relevant work experience. No one ever really starts out at the top, you have to be willing to work your way from the bottom up to get to where you envisioned yourself. Follow those simple tips to gain work experience; you might not accumulate 3 years however, 1 ½ years with the other required qualifications are a recipe to getting your resume a second look and your foot in the door.