10 Practical Ways To Gain Hands-On Experience That'll Advance Your Career Before It Even Gets Started
You know about internships, but did you know all the other practical ways to get your first job out of college?
If you're reading this, you probably feel like you're in the hot seat right about now.
Your resume is daunting.
You're feeling the pressure that every soon-to-be college graduate feels.
Don't get me wrong, post-college life is thrilling, but it's also incredibly terrifying if you don't have a job lined up and your resume is minimal at best.
But you're also not alone. Everyone around you is in the same boat or has at least been there before.
And while all your college professors tell you about the importance of internships, not everyone tells you these 10 practical ways to gain experience.
1. Volunteer Your Time
Hardly anyone will turn down free help. Find a place to volunteer your time even if it's not even close to your field. You'd be surprised how much you learn and how many people you meet.
2. Start freelancing.Giphy
You'd be surprised how many people hire freelancers for their projects. Starting on Upwork or other bidding sites might be too difficult at first, but this is where you have to be a little bolder. Do your research, find developing businesses, and offer your services
3. Join a club on campus.Giphy
So this tip is mainly for those still in college. Being on the leadership for a club on campus gives you certain responsibilities that develop your skills. If you're not involved and you still have time, get involved.
4. Shadow someone in your field.Giphy
Chances are you know someone in your field and if you don't, you know someone who does. Your professors have connections and there are ways. Ask for an hour or two of their time to interview them and then ask to shadow them or if they know someone willing. Again, a little boldness required.
5. Temp everywhere!Giphy
Contrary to most college students' beliefs, you're not going to get your dream career on your first try. Send your resume to temp agencies and figure out what the best fit for you through there. It gets you a lot of experience and taste of a little bit of everything.
6. Start your own business.Giphy
So many people talk about one day opening up their own business when they have the resources, but time is a resource and this is a season in your life that you'll find a lot of it. Do your research, figure out how much it takes to start, and do it! Yes, sounds a lot easier than it is but you'll learn what you can and your portfolio will grow.
7. Accept the jobs you think are beneath you.Giphy
If you think that flipping burgers and taking orders are beneath you, you just said goodbye to valid customer service experience...just saying.
8. Learn to take a break.Giphy
If this isn't obvious for you yet, then it's time to take a break from the application process.
9. Steward your resources.Giphy
Yes, this doesn't sound like hands-on experience but if you don't learn how to balance out your life now, throwing in a career isn't going to help you.
10. Network, Network, NetworkGiphy
No matter where you are, network. This helps you practice effective communication and it'll also help you get a job even if it takes a while at first.
Finding a job can be a disheartening process. But it's important to remember that it is, in fact, a process. It'll take time, but don't give up. You'll be surprised what you can do in the process that'll get you to where you want to be.