When first starting out in a career, it can be a challenge to get relevant work experience. The right work experience in the beginning, can jumpstart a career. Sometimes, the jump can put you further along than entry-level.
Read: How Long Does it Take to Find a New Job?
Top 10 Ways to Get Work Experience
Internships are great, some are even paid! An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door to get some Work Experience. Remember, just because you landed the internship, doesn’t mean you will be handed everything. The key is now to be the YES-MAN(or YES-WOMAN). Take on new projects, get involved, and absolutely get to know everyone you can. Who knows, maybe you will even secure your first job through an internship.
Apprenticeships are usually associated with jobs outside of IT. You start out working with an expert and get to know your selected trade. Even though unpaid or low paid, very rewarding opportunities.
- Seasonal Employment
Maybe you saw an AD for tech support help over the holiday. Apply for it! Any experience is good experience. Make sure to document what you did to include in your resume.
- Contract Work
Contract work is great work experience for any industry, and it is paid. Even though low paid, you are new in your career and not above anything at this point. With experience, the long game will pay even bigger, and with experience – you will get there faster.
Learn a skill in school that you could use to help a non-profit out with a project? Web development, mobile app development, etc… Volunteering opens you up to unlimited networking opportunities as sponsors of non-profits are often big companies looking to be active in their local communities. Get to know as many people as you can.
- Personal Projects
Do you like to write mad code in your spare time? Build anything cool lately? Put it on your resume!
- Open Source Projects
Development skills strong enough to contribute to open-source projects? Check out sourceforge.com, dig around and get involved.
- Networking with People
With any opportunity, school, work, get to know everyone you can. You might be connected to someone through one of your connections. Endless possibilities.
- Join Clubs
User groups, clubs associated with IT – get in there. Opportunities to network and learn about technology.
- School or Government Sponsored Work Experience Programs
Generally internships, but with more stringent guidelines as these programs usually offer more than pay and experience, get college credit.
Aside from my top ten list, the key is putting yourself out there. If you see something, say something. Opportunities come in all shapes. As you gain experience, be sure to update your resume.
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This article is full of great advice! Many people don’t realize just how beneficial apprenticeships and internships can be. The experience is invaluable. As a Recruiter, I also tell entry-level candidates and recent graduates (or anyone switching career paths, for that matter) that personal projects and class projects DO count as experience, too. It is experience and it should be portrayed on your resume. Volunteer experience can be listed chronologically under “professional work experience,” and doesn’t have to be just a footnote at the bottom of a resume. All excellent ways to gain experience.
Eric Putkonen @ MinnesotaTechJobs.com says
Volunteering is a good way to get experience. Check around at your local non-profits, but you could also check out CatchaFire.org — they always have new projects nationally for nonprofits.