Terrific Ways to Gain Job/Career Experience if You are Starting from Scratch
We've heard a classic complaint from JobNext
Career participants that it is tough to break into a career field if you lack
experience. But how are you going to get experience if no one will hire you?
Actually, many colleges today are solving this
problem for students by offering programs in conjunction with their studies that
are called internships or cooperative education programs. This means taking some
time out during your college study to work in the field you are considering
after graduation. Many times employers are so impressed with the quality of the
interns or coop students that they offer job opportunities upon graduation. A
similar situation could also be established by signing on with a temp agency
that hires you out on assignment. Many professional or technical assignments are
showing up today.
If you have not had the benefit of a coop,
internship or temp assignment yourself, here are ten other ideas you can
- Contact the school you graduated from and
see if they would work with you and the local employers to create a post
graduation internship. Start with the department you majored in and/or the
career planning office on campus.
- Find a business on your own and offer to
volunteer your services for a period of time (3 to six months) in turn for a
letter of recommendation upon the successful completion of this project.
- (Re)Write your resume in a functional
format, using college course content, demonstrating your knowledge of the
field. For ideas about how to do this, visit Yana Parker's Web site that
compliments her Damn Good Resume books,
- Write a proposal for a project that will
meet an unmet need of businesses in the field you are pursuing and start
heavily networking in the industry until you find someone who will take you up
on your project. (You may need to do a bit of research to pull this off
- Look for a job in an emerging industry such
as new media where the criteria for credentials are less stringent than that
in older, more established fields.
- Network heavily with alumni from your
college. Obtain their names from the alumni office at your school. People who
have a graduated from your alma mater will have more of a vested interest in
your career success and may be more inclined to take a chance on you,
especially with the confidence of knowing the kind of education you have had.
- Get yourself some publicity or get yourself
published. If you write an article or book or get recognition for some sort of
contribution in your community, you will have a feather in your cap and
employers will see you as having something worthwhile to offer them.
- Volunteer for work in a third world country
or in Russia or one of the former Soviet Union block countries. These
countries are desperate for competent business help and after you've worked
under constraints you would face in these situations, who could dispute that
you have credible experience?
- Join a job search club or start a success
team. Others may have some ideas and insights for you that you can't see for
yourself. Others will inspire you success and you will increase your
networking community. There are affiliates in many churches around the country
or there is an organization called the 5 O'clock Club
http://www.fiveoclockclub.com that has branches primarily on the
East Coast. You can read about success teams by scouting out a book now out of
print called Teamworks! By Barbara Sher and Annie Gottlieb.
- Hire yourself a career coach. Visit the
International Coach Federation and investigate the numerous coaches listed
through their referral service. Look particularly for those who specialize in
career and job search matters. You can find these connections at
http://www.coachfederation.org. Many coaches
offer free sample sessions.