How Do I Acquire Career Related Experience?
Maybe you have heard variations of the phrase, “You need to gain more experience. Please apply again when you have more to add to your resume.” With many entry-level positions, there may be the statement that you do not need any experience, therefore, you apply, thinking you may get an interview. What you may not know is that entry-level positions seek an individual with at least some experience. What?! I know, I know, that is really confusing, right? How are you supposed to acquire experience if an employer is not willing to hire you? Does this sound unfair? It is! So, what do you do to gain experience before you apply for a potential position? We will discuss several methods for you to acquire career experience in order to apply for a future job opportunity.
1. Summer or Part-Time Work
If you are new to the job-hunting realm, it may be in your best interest to acquire a part-time or summer job position. Positions such as sales associate at a retail chain or a waitressing position may be beneficial in adding to your experience. Typically, these positions are part-time and flexible with your schedule.
These positions require an interest in retail or hospitality, rather than former experience. A positive attitude and willingness to learn are usually all that you need to acquire a part-time or summer position. This is a fantastic avenue for you to look at when trying to gain job related experience. Part-time or summer positions are a great way to get your foot in the door, while showing your employer that you are responsible and willing to learn new aspects of a business. Do not discount part-time or summer positions!
2. Temporary Work
Temporary work, or also known as “temping”, is an additional avenue for you to explore in your experience search. Many temporary placement agencies are seeking individuals who do not have any experience, but are willing to learn. Temporary work is exactly what it states: temporary. It is a quick way to gain experience in a short amount of time. Furthermore, temporary placement agencies may be looking for an individual to fill a long-term or contract position. Keep in mind that many temporary placement agencies may seek to hire you as a permanent employee as well. “Temping” is a wonderful way to gain experience and it could lead to a more fulfilling, permanent position.
Maybe you did not think about this area of interest right away! Do not discount volunteering within a field of interest. Even if the area of volunteering does not match to your interests, it will show an employer that you are willing to step outside of the box and try new experiences. Volunteering can connect you with other individuals while gaining network connections.
4. Internships or Apprenticeships
If you are enrolled in a university or college setting, an internship or apprenticeship is a wonderful avenue to explore for experience. If you are not enrolled in a college or university, do not fret! Many internships or apprenticeships do not require you to be enrolled in school. Explore the various requirements of the apprenticeship or internship world to see what works best for you. Apprenticeships and internships allow you to obtain valuable experience and possible network connections within your field of interest.
Are you involved in a project within a classroom or non-classroom setting? Be sure to add valuable or memorable projects to your resume. Projects within an academic setting, community setting, or for a local business, are fantastic ways to gain experience.