Landing your dream job is not by chance! It is through deliberate steps that position you as among the most qualified and experienced among your peers. You’ll need to convince your prospective employer that besides the job-related skills, you have soft skills and also relevant experience that will help you deliver the desired outcome.
But how can you build work-related experience while you’ve been in school for the better part of your life? And does it matter if you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Below we will consider the importance of having experience and practical and easy steps to improve your resume by maximizing opportunities to gain experience.
Importance of Having Work-related Experience
1. Helps you Build Networks You Wouldn’t through Education
College education doesn’t give you everything you need in life to succeed. If it were the case, we wouldn’t hear of successful college dropouts or non-graduates. While you expose yourself to the real-world environment, you’ll learn skills you couldn’t get in class. You also learn to relate and network with people.
You’ll learn soft skills like proper communication, listening skills, and even negotiating with colleagues, and even persevering. Being able to build human relationships that add value is one of the significant assets you’ll have.
You’ll also develop problem-solving skills and learn how to solve conflicts that may arise. And even if you want to venture into business, these skills will help you in your interactions.
2. Employers want Experienced Employees.
The truth, the employment opportunities are highly competitive, and one of the things employees use to eliminate is relevant work experience. If you don’t want the pain of being rejected before you can prove yourself, get a great work experience.
With a well-crafted resume and work experience, you’ll mostly go past the screening stage and be accorded an opportunity for an interview. If you have what it takes, there are higher chances you’ll get the job.
3. Skills Application to Prove Competence
Head knowledge and being able to apply what you’ve learned are two different things. You may feel you have mastered the concepts, and you got all the skills you need to work. But that’s just hypothetical.
Work-related experience allows you to apply the skills you’ve learned and see where you’ve knowledge gaps and how you can improve.
4. Opportunity for Personal Development
Beyond the other benefits, it’s a great learning opportunity for self-development. It allows the growth of personal skills and self-awareness. You’ll know where your strengths and weaknesses are and also opportunities that can make you better.
As you build your experience, you get to know your potential and your passions better. It’s possible you thought a particular specialty is what you love, but as you gain experience, you may be persuaded differently.
This allows you to define your career better and avoid demotivation when you’ve landed your dream job.
Practical Ways of Getting Work Experience
From year 10, you should utilize any growth opportunity to develop your skills. Such opportunities include:
An internship opportunity will span from several weeks to one year. The contract terms may allow you to receive a stipend or not, but most times, you’ll get a wage. The best time to apply for internship programs is during the gap year or summer holidays.
This learning experience is highly competitive, and it helps to make an early application. And many sectors offer internships such as marketing, banking, business, engineering, health, hospitality, and law.
2. Foundation Degrees
These are work-related or vocational degrees. They are geared towards combining workplace productivity and performance with academic knowledge and skills. What you learn in class, you’ll practice in your workplace. Foundation degrees are designed in collaboration with employers and concentrate on one profession or particular job role.
3. Sandwich Degrees
These are usually 4-year degrees with one year of working with an employer within your industry of expertise.
4. Speculative Enquiry
At the college level, you may have a clear idea of what you want, the networks you want to build, and your potential. You should also have a list of companies you would love to work with. Then research on how to get a placement within the organization. Write a personal statement that communicates your commitment to learning new things and being an asset.
You can also go to companies directly or make applications through the company’s website. While there, learn as much as you can and be the best employee you can.
5. School Placements/Attachment
During an industrial attachment between your studies, you can see it as a learning opportunity to grow your skills. It is compulsory in most institutions, and some will take it as a duty and do the bare minimum. That won’t have long term positive implications.
Making the Best Out of Experience-Building Opportunities
· Be Proactive and Ready to Learn
When you look for an opportunity to grow, be proactive, and ruthless with yourself. Keep learning and asking questions.
Be responsible, respectful, and a problem solver. When given a task, give it your all and be excellent. Don’t hesitate to ask questions when stuck and take criticism and corrections positively.
After the placement and during a job interview, you may be required to get a recommendation letter. And how you conducted yourself may determine whether you will be employed or not.
· Build Relationships
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a compulsory placement and you don’t want to pursue that career path, or you sought it yourself, networking is critical. Interact professionally with your peers and seniors, and engage in company activities.
If there are team-building opportunities, don’t hesitate to take that up. Should you become an entrepreneur, you may find such relationships helpful for growth and business opportunities.
· Set Goals
Have goals that you want to achieve. With the goals in mind, you’ll keep the focus and avoid possible distractions. Goals are excellent sources of motivation. When you feel you don’t have the energy to persevere, what you want to achieve will push you to give your all.
Build Your Experience!
It takes dedication, perseverance, and willingness to keep learning and growing. The struggle is worth it. It will pay off someday.
No matter where you are, you can maximize your potential. Even if you are a fresh graduate, you can get internship opportunities. Let them be growth platforms.