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?
Ways to Gain Job/Career Experience if You are Starting from
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
- 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
- (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 successfully)
- 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
- 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.