In today’s job market, gaining practical experience is equally as important as having a university degree. In fact, many employers actually require work experience. So how can you, as a straight-out-of-school graduate, get the required experience when you have probably never worked before? As the end of the year approaches and school leavers need to start preparing for their first months in the “real” world, Affirmative Portfolios has narrowed down five ways to get your foot in the door of your future profession.
An internship is an opportunity for you to gain work experience and define or refine your career path. Part or full-time, paid or unpaid, internships are an effective way to explore a field and learn about the work. They allow you to network with industry experts, and may lead to permanent employment and greater opportunities like shadowing the CEO. A similar way to gain work experience: shadowing, apprenticeships and mentorships. For those looking at a specific trade, this offers one-on-one work with an expert.
2. Temp Work
Temp work can be a blessing for students needing to earn an income and graduates wanting to gain work experience. Temp work can be done while job-hunting or it may lead to something more permanent within the company. It allows you to explore a range of companies in different industries, and even to work several jobs. If you are not sure what you want to study or do for your future career, it can help you narrow it down, and you can make some useful contacts who might think of you when permanent job opportunities arise.
Through volunteer work you can learn valuable professional skills while helping others. Sometimes, volunteering puts you in preference when those organisations are recruiting for paid positions. Where possible, choose voluntary work along a certain career path: if you are looking to get into finance, you could volunteer in the accounts department at your favourite non-profit. If you’re hoping to expand your reputation as a social media manager, consider reaching out to a local charity that doesn’t yet have a social presence. Volunteering shows employers that you are hard-working.
Networking is a way for you to make professional connections that could lead to a first job. By joining student or professional organisations based on your career objectives, you will meet many opportunities at sponsored events. This can also be achieved by joining a club or participating in field and research studies. You can also follow industry leaders on social media platforms; employers appreciate candidates who read information and follow trends in their field.
5. Start Something
If the opportunity to gain work experience is beyond your reach or does not interest you, then you should consider creating your own work experience. This can be in the form of starting your own business or freelancing on the side. Either of these ventures allows you to develop your skills, from customer service to accounting to social media management. You can obtain diverse and relevant skills for the job you wish to eventually land.
Students that have taken the initiative to gain skills through work experience stand out to employers. These candidates generally land their dream job, and we at Affirmative Portfolios can assist you throughout your career journey. You can send us your CV to be added to our database of candidates for both temp and permanent positions. Should you be on the recruiting side of the business, you can contact us to help fill that position.